The Armed Services YMCA, Twentynine Palms partnered up with Active Duty and civilian volunteers from Twentynine Palms, the Mojave Desert Land Trust, and the Morongo Basin Transit Authority to celebrate Earth Day, with a clean up of a section of preserved land known as the Gateway Parcel, Section 33. Nearly 120 Active Duty Marines and Sailors, family members, and civilian community members attended the event on Saturday, April 19th, 2014. Volunteers at the event worked on the Gateway Parcel from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM removing trash and debris under the guidance of Mojave Desert Land Trust.
The partnership between the ASY and the Mojave Desert Land Trust on this Earth Day event is now in its second year. The event has grown enormously since last year to include a new partnership with the Morongo Basin Transit Authority. The MBTA graciously provided transportation for Active Duty volunteers from the Combat Center. The ASY hopes to continue expanding community outreach on this event for years to come.
The Gateway Parcel, which volunteers worked to clean this year, provides visitors to Joshua Tree National Park with iconic views of the Joshua Tree entry point. It was acquired by the MDLT in partnership with the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base in 2012 and now provides a haven for wildlife and native plants and preserves valuable air space for Marine Corps training operations. Given the ASY’s focus on social responsibility, the partnership with MDLT on this event was a natural one. Environmental responsibility and awareness is an important aspect of social responsibility, especially in our fragile desert ecosystem. The opportunity to raise awareness of the unique landscape we live in and how important it is to protect it was one the ASY could not pass up.