ALAMO – Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s Marcia Garza Elementary hosted a planting ceremony for their Monarch Nature Trail on Feb. 10. In partnership with the City of Alamo and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, students and parents were able to plant native nectar plants and trees in approximately 4.5 acres on the west side of the campus.

This planting is part of a district wide habitat enhancement project that is expanding park trails around PSJA ISD schools to bring a part of nature back to the Rio Grande Valley, as well as, provide hands-on learning platforms.

According to Principal Claudia Gonzalez, through this partnership and beautification, her students will be able to witness science concepts such as the migration of the monarch butterfly as they happen.

"I tell our students, we are going to be a mini-hotel for native butterflies and birds," Gonzalez said. "They will look down at our school and see the plants they can feed on or a tree they can nest on."

She hopes that this experience also helps students continue to expand the areas natural habitat by encouraging their parents to plant native trees at home.

At Garza Elementary, over 2,000 linear feet of trails will lead visitors through native trees and six butterfly gardens. A $15,000 grant from the US Fish & Wildlife was directed to this project for the purchase of the native trees and plants.