Marines, Sailors Plant New Beginning For National Park
(April 14, 2010)
Sgt. Alberto Garcia (left), an infantryman with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Pvt. Nicholas Pezzuto, also with 3rd LAR, from Lakewood, Calif., finish watering a newly-planted Joshua tree at Joshua Tree National Park during a restoration effort April 7,
2010. Volunteers and park staff dug holes for 120 plants from the Joshua Tree
National Park's nursery.
||JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (MCN - 4/9/2010) — Five Marines and sailors with 3rd Light
Armored Reconnaissance Battalion assisted Joshua Tree National Park Resources'
staff with an environment restoration project along the Lost Horse Mine Trail in
Joshua Tree National Park, April 6 and 7.
Volunteers planted new trees to help rejuvenate the environment after a fire
swept through the area and burned 450 acres last May.
Although Joshua Tree National Park firefighters were able to extinguish the
blaze in just two days, the scorched earth bared no resemblance to the untouched
areas around the rest of the park.
“If we were to let the environment run it's course, it would take 25 to 100
years to return to normal,” said Vicky Chang, the science coordinator at Joshua
Tree National Park.
“Restoring the vegetation quickly helps to restore the ecosystem and bring
animals back to the area,” added Katy Mathews, a biologist with Joshua Tree
National Park staff, and Rochester, N.Y. native.
Volunteers and park staff dug two-foot-by-one-foot holes for 120 plants from the
Joshua Tree National Park's Center for Arid Land Restoration Nursery, which
collected seeds from within a five-mile radius of the burn site and cultivated
the seedlings until they became resilient enough to live in the wild. This
process takes anywhere from six months to a year.
The plants and other supplies were then airlifted to four separate cites within
the burn area.
The various vegetation included Joshua trees, apricot mallow, cheesebush, black
bush, buck wheat and desert almond.|
Planting the native vegetation from the park's nursery helps to prevent further
degradation and will help visually blend the site with surrounding areas.
“We are planting perennials. That way they will be coming back year after year,”
Chang said. “These plants will, in turn, seed and be spread by wildlife,
offering a multiplying effect. We restore small areas and let nature take its
After planting, volunteers put up fencing to protect the plants from wildlife
consumption, to end a two-day restoration process which has left a mark on
Joshua Tree National Park.
“It was an amazing experience,” said volunteer Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert
Herrera, a 3rd LAR corpsman, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who volunteered for the
two-day project. “I'm glad I could help to repair the damage done by the fire so
others will have the chance to see what the real Joshua Tree looks like.”
Article and photo By USMC Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
Marine Corps News
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