One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, at least that’s the old adage. That’s certainly true for a South Texas man who’s found ways to beautify one town’s go-to place for bird watching.
Andres Flores re-purposes ladders used by immigrants to jump the border fence.
“This, what we have here is a feeder that was done with wood from the ladder,” explained Flores, the Old Hidalgo Pump House & World Birding Center director, as he pointed to a wooden bird feeder.
Ever since Flores took the job two years ago, he had a vision.
“I call it a hidden treasure,” he said.
Flores wanted to grow and beautify the 30-acre nature park on the heels of the border levee fence by using 16-foot wooden ladders.
The ladders are typically found stacked up next to the border fence. They are discarded by immigrants and their smugglers who cross from Mexico and use them to jump over before they are seized by Border Patrol.
“It’s good wood, so I said, ‘you know what, I’m going to see if I can use it for a good purpose,’” Flores recalled.
Instead of having them go to waste, Flores picked up some of the ladders and transformed them into four bird feeders and a bench. He says that they helps attract birds, bird watchers, and photographers.
The bench sits on the edge of the property facing the visibly-imposing border fence. Flores wants to cover that background by growing trees and plants as the fence usually carries a negative connotation.
“I guess it’s part of life and especially here along the border,” he said. “My purpose was to help nature. That’s the reason why I did it.”
Flores also said that he plans to continue re-purposing the immigrant ladders as long as he keeps finding them and no one tells him to stop.