Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Holt County has received a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation to purchase more than two hundred trees that will be planted to benefit wildlife.

John Burke, district biologist for the NWTF, said they awarded $5,000 to the refuge to cover costs to purchase 250 root-production method trees that are between 3 to 4 feet tall.

The trees will be planted on the north end of the refuge near Teal Pool next month and refuge staff is welcoming volunteers to aid in the tree planting project.

Burke said the trees will come from Forrest Keeling Nursery in Elsberry, Missouri. The tree species are all native to the area including black walnut, shellbark hickory, bur oak and pin oak.

“Most of the trees are mast producing species that have acorns or hickory nuts,” Burke said. “It’s a high carbohydrate food that’s important to wildlife such as migrating waterfowl including the mallard and wood ducks. The food is also beneficial to deer and turkey.”

Burke said NWTF is able to offer the grant because of funds they receive from chapter banquets each year. There are around 100 chapters across the state that generate funds from local communities.

“The funds collected at the banquets go to conservation projects such as this one and they go to outreach for the state’s hunting heritage,” Burke said.

He said the grant served to remove invasive species and reintroduce native species on the refuge.

“About half of the grant was used for tree planting and the other half was used to help eliminate invasive species that would make it harder to establish those new trees,” Burke said. “If you don’t get rid of the invasive species, the native trees won’t be able to compete. This is a problem that needs to be addressed everywhere in the region.”

The Family Day tree planting project will began at the refuge parking lot at 9 a.m. on October 19. Volunteers can help in planting the trees and are asked to bring a shovel, if one is available.

For more information, contact Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge at 660-442-3187.

Margaret Slayton can be reached at margaret.slayton@newspressnow.com.