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Pfc. Johnathon Selby, a Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School student, picks up trash at the 49 Palms Oasis the morning of April 10. ::r::::n:: ::r::::n::

Photo by Pfc. Michael T. Gams

MCCES helps clean up 49 Palms Oasis

10 Apr 2009 | Pfc. Michael T. Gams

Nearly twenty Marines from the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School aboard the Combat Center spent April 10 morning taking care of the 49 Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park.

The students volunteered their free time to help preserve the natural landscape for future generations.

“Locals come here to party after hours,” said Jana Mills, the Joshua Tree National Park volunteer program facilitator. “They leave all sorts of trash and debris behind.”

The trash is invasive to the natural environment and harms the wildlife of the park, she added.

The student’s volunteered at the perfect time, said Staff Sgt. Joseph Hutchison, an instructor for MCCES.

There was an Easter sunrise church service scheduled for Sunday at the oasis and they helped get the park looking good for it.

The students first picked up trash around the parking lot then made the 1 1/2 mile hike to the oasis to remove any debris they could find there and where they discovered a more beautiful part of the desert than they knew existed.

“I didn’t know the desert could be this cool until I got out here,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Stets, a MCCES student. “I’m glad I got to see what else the desert has to offer besides just sand.”

There is a totally different kind of desert in the park than there is on base, said Mills. “There’s actually vegetation.”

The students picked up as much trash as they could find at the oasis and then spent the rest of the time they had exploring the area.

“It’s really cool back here,” Stets said. “Other Marines need to come and see what the park has to offer.”

The students finished their day with the hike back to the parking lot where they loaded up into their vehicles and headed back to the Combat Center.

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