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Pfc. Richard Mora Fernandez, student, Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, helps restore the Gateway Parcel during the Mojave Desert Land Trust Earth Day Restoration in Joshua Tree, Calif., April 23, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Dave Flores/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Dave Flores

Restoring for the future, Marines help Mojave Desert Land Trust

4 May 2016 | Lance Cpl. Dave Flores Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Congressman Paul Cook, California’s 8th District, visited Joshua Tree, Calif., April 23, 2016 to show his appreciation to the more than 40 Combat Center Marines who pitched in to help restore Mojave Desert Land Trust’s newest project area landscape, Section 33, also known as the Gateway Parcel as part the MDLT Earth Day Restoration.

“I’m glad the Marine Corps has kept and maintained their environmental awareness,” Cook said. “Being the largest Marine Corps base, in terms of land area, we’ve got to make sure that we are conscious of the surrounding communities and environments.”

Cook was also there to award Keandre Jackson, son of Sgt. Dana Jackson, landing support specialist, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, two awards for being respectful and for making a positive impact in the classroom.

Since MDLT acquired the Gateway Parcel in 2013, more than 60 tons of garbage have been cleared from the 623-acre site. According to MDLT, the preservation of that land is vital because it is a channel of movement for indigenous species such as the desert tortoise, bobcat, American badger and prairie falcon.

“We’re making sure the wildlife habitat here is secure by ensuring there is no trash the wildlife might eat,” said Frazier Haney, conservation director, MDLT. “Preserving the section protects both wildlife corridors between Joshua Tree National Park and Twentynine Palms.”

The Combat Center strives to maintain close ties to the local community to strengthen relationships and participate in outreach programs to help the environment.

“It’s rewarding to work with the community to keep the wildlife safe,” said Lance Cpl. Haley Hennies, warehouse clerk, Consolidated Material Support Center. “Protecting the environment through these restorations can affect the animals that live here in a positive way.”

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