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      Nature Report: Honoring James Matz

      Throughout Harlingen 72 trees are being planted to honor James Matz, founder of Valley Proud, who passed away last year.

      And his widow, Georgina Matz is helping to not only plant the trees, but she has also taken over as Chairman of Valley Proud.

      Georgina Matz, Chairman of Valley Proud, says, "I think that would be one of the proudest moments of his life knowing that Harlingen Proud planted 72 trees|one for each year of his life.

      When James Matz organized a group of concerned volunteers in 1990 to figure out how to motivate people in the Valley to recycle and conserve habitat, no one could have imagined how successful the fledgling organization would become.

      Valley Proud is the most successful regional non-profit of its kind in the United Sates and has won 11 major state and national awards.

      Laura Maxwell, Executive Director of Valley Proud, says, "He left such a mark on the region, not just here in Harlingen but throughout the whole four county region."

      In addition to the annual All Valley Trash Bash, Valley Arbor Month, Rio Reforestation and extensive educational outreach programs, perhaps Matz's greatest legacy are the millions of trees he has been responsible for planting throughout the region.

      Matz says, "We are going to have our anniversary in 2015, and by that time we want to be over the four million mark in trees in the Ro Grande Valley."

      Including those 72 trees being planted in the parks of his hometown.

      "Especially where all the kids are. Children were important to him and teaching them the values that he grew up with so they would continue the legacy," says Matz.