Earth Day brings Va. Guard volunteers out to clean up, protect Camp Pendleton environment

More than 30 members of the Virginia National Guard community clean up trash during Earth Day activities April 23, 2013 at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The volunteers filled 75 trash bags with materials collected from the east bank of the southernmost finger of Lake Christine on the Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex side of the fence. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

More than 30 members of the Virginia National Guard community clean up trash during Earth Day activities April 23, 2013 at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The volunteers filled 75 trash bags with materials collected from the east bank of the southernmost finger of Lake Christine on the Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex side of the fence. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — More than 30 members of the Virginia National Guard community gathered for Earth Day activities April 23, 2013, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The two teams of volunteers from the Virginia Guard Environmental Office, Community Based Warrior Transition Unit, Virginia Guard Commonwealth ChalleNGe, Virginia Tech Conservation Management Institute, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and Camp Pendleton headquarters filled 75 bags of trash and installed more than 700 linear feet of fence to protect the sand dunes in one day.

Members of the Virginia Guard community install a sand fence April 23, 2013 on the beach at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. More than 30 Soldiers, Airmen, civilians and community members participated in the first Earth Day event at Camp Pendleton. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Members of the Virginia Guard community install a sand fence April 23, 2013 on the beach at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. More than 30 Soldiers, Airmen, civilians and community members participated in the first Earth Day event at Camp Pendleton. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“This was the inaugural Earth Day event at Camp Pendleton,” said Maj. Jaycee Shaver, an environmental officer with the Virginia Army National Guard. “It was a great success and next year we hope to expand and get more neighboring groups involved. We had a very productive day with no reported incidents or injuries.”

The volunteers filled the 75 trash bags with materials collected from the east bank of the southernmost finger of Lake Christine on the Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex side of the fence, according to Shaver.

“To my knowledge, this was the first time in a long time that a clean up had been performed in there,” Shaver said. “That trash washes up during storm events and then settles in the woods.”

The groups also installed the sand fence at the dunes near the beach.

“This was a critical conservation project to restrict access to the dunes and prevent damage to vegetation which in turn results in excessive sand migration,” Shaver explained.

Shaver pointed out that the event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the City of Virginia Beach, which provided trash bags and bag collection; Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex, which allowed access to their property; and EEE Consulting, Inc., which assisted with the purchase of fencing materials.

“The accomplishments of the Camp Pendleton community on Earth Day demonstrated our shared commitment to Camp Pendleton’s natural resources,” said Lt. Col. Elena M. Scarbrough, the Camp Pendleton commander. “We sincerely appreciate the conservation and clean-up contributions made by all the volunteers who participated. Maj. Shaver and his team were instrumental in mobilizing resources for this event and we look forward to a larger event next year with even more community partners.”

Earth Day is an international event promoting environmental protection which was first held on April 22, 1970. The campaign for Earth Day began as a grassroots effort to teach about environmental stewardship, create an awareness of the environment’s fragility, and ultimately, develop awareness into American society. Annual celebrations since then have rallied more than 20 million Americans, including members of the National Guard, to become involved in environmental awareness activities. This year’s Army National Guard Earth Day recognition featured conservation, energy awareness, community involvement, and “green” technology. This year, the Guard’s event theme was “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet.”

Photos: Va. Guard volunteers clean up, protect Camp Pendleton during Earth Day event
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