AUSTIN -- A University of Texas graduate student is working tirelessly on a plan to replant the pine forest in Bastrop County following the devastating wildfires nearly one year ago.
Vlad Codrea studies molecular biology, not botany, but he is working on a project to grow tens of thousands of pine seedlings replace what the fire burned.
Codrea won a grant last spring and worked with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to build a shade house to grow pine seedlings. He oversees student volunteers who are cultivating 70,000 seedlings.
"The most exciting part is knowing these trees are going to go out and be planted and form a forest decades from now," said Codrea.
It will take about a year for the pine seedlings to grow strong enough to be planted. Codrea is working with the Texas Forest Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife, two entities that will help plant the trees.
Still, it will take 20 to 30 years for the pine trees to reach maturity.
Last week, several state agencies and the Arbor Day Foundation launched the Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign. The goal is to raise $4 million dollars to plant millions of trees on public and private land.
"We're excited about the future, the forest will return," said Greg Creacy with Texas Parks and Wildlife. "It will take a lot of work to get there, but it's still a wonderful place to be and our forest will return. "