This past month, a group of volunteers from PLNU joined with the Tijuana Estuary at Border Field State Park, along with a number of students from UCSD and WILDCOAST, “an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife,” to help restore much of the environment that was either damaged or destroyed during the building of the US-Mexico border wall. This is a part of a series of many more trips PLNU will take in the future.
The idea to volunteer help for the Tijuana Estuary came from SEA (Students for Environmental Awareness) club president Daniel Virden, who is double majoring in both political science and environmental science. Since then, a coalition has been formed on campus for volunteers for this specific purpose. The groups apart of the coalition include SEA, Sustain PLNU, Great Escapes, Mexico Programs, and Center for Justice and Reconciliation. They will help to restore native, as well as sensitive plants and animals that have been affected by the building of the border wall and that cannot survive elsewhere. They will also be doing beach and trash cleanups, and creating the garden at Border Field State Park.
Melissa Tucker, associate director of International Ministries and head of PLNU’s Mexico Programs, commented on what they plan on doing in the near future. “We will be partnering with Creation Care Week again in the fall and continuing to advocate volunteer opportunities. It’s work that needs a lot of hands, that anybody can do, is educational and fun!”
Senior Marisa Hirtzel commented on her experience as a part of the restoration project. “We did a lot of work within the two or three hours that we were there and it was cool that we had undone some of the harm that had happened. Gardening is also a cool way to feel like you’re helping to solve a problem, like many social justice issues, because you’re getting your hands in the dirt. You can see the impact you’ve made from that dirt, even if it’s something that small.”
The environmental damage that has occurred at Border Field State Park will be the center of discussion at PLNU’s Brewed Awakening on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Information will soon be available on the Border Field State Park restoration projects at http://www.pointloma.edu/mexicoprograms. There, you can also find information on PLNU’s Border Tour, which deals heavily with the same issues.