VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Throughout September and October, members from across Vandenberg Air Force Base and the local community came together to participate in events in support of National Public Lands Day.
National Public Lands Day is the country’s largest volunteer event for public lands, celebrated on the fourth Saturday in September. This celebration brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country.
The events consisted of beach cleanups, invasive plant removal and cultural resource efforts, to include a trail clearing and a day of cleanup at the Boat House.
Across the six beach cleanups, 124 participants covered more than 5.8 miles of beach and were able to collect approximately 740 lbs. of trash.
“We had participants from the Girl Scouts, 576th Flight Test Squadron, 216th Space Control Squadron, 614th Air Operation Center, Delta 5, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, 30th Security Force Squadron and more,” said Tiffany Whitsitt, 30th CES wildlife biologist. “During the cleanups, volunteers were given presentations on plastics in the ocean.”
In addition to the beach cleanups, volunteers removed ice plant, which is an invasive species, from around native vegetation to help benefit the dune system, native plants and animals. Three volunteers representing the 18th Space Control Center, Air Force Space Command Detachment 2, and three personnel pulled up enough ice plant to generate 24 large piles, weighing approximately 1,500 lbs. As ice plant spreads, it can alter soil chemistry and crowd out threatened and endangered plant species.
“In part of the cultural resource efforts, volunteers cleared vegetation from the Honda Ridge Rock Art Site trail,” said Whitsitt. “The path is now clear of vegetation and is more inviting for visitors to enjoy. Cultural resource specialists gave a talk at the end of the event on the significance of this site and the volunteers had the opportunity to ask questions.”
At the Boat House, volunteers from the 532nd Training Squadron helped landscape, clean up trash, install new interpretive signs at the harbor area, clean and organize the house, preform maintenance on door knobs, replace light bulbs and other miscellaneous tasks.
“We are thankful for the much needed improvements made by a hard-working group of volunteers,” said Whitsitt.
While many National Public Lands Day events were effected by COVID-19, Vandenberg AFB still met their goal to restore and improve the public lands across the installation.
To help with future beach cleanups and volunteer opportunities, contact the 30th CES Environmental Conservation Office at 805-605-8684.