LMC clubs clean-up the nature preserve

Students and staff honor Earth Day.


Michael Benedian

Fernando Sandoval and Conor Bonal rake a large pile of leaves.

Michael Benedian, Staff Writer

Every April 22 is a cause for celebration and a reminder to protect the environment, restore damaged ecosystems and live a more sustainable life. To strive for those values, Los Medanos College celebrated Earth Day by cleaning up the nature preserve which has been neglected since the start of the pandemic. With the help of the Women in STEM club and other club groups, the nature preserve is getting back into shape.

Ricardo Black, a former instructional assistant aide for LMC, led the charge and gave the guidance to the volunteers. He provided insight on the plants here at the nature preserve and used his knowledge to educate the volunteers on what to do. At the beginning of the pandemic, Black left his position and took a position at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

“I got let go because of the pandemic, so for two years no one was working here,” Black said. “All the hard work that students made prior to that went to waste.”

Black came back to LMC on Monday, April 18 and began work on the nature preserve alone. He started with picking up trash that accumulated for the first four days and managed to fill up five trash bags. Earth Day marked the first volunteer event and Black is happy to see the turnout.

LMC students Anna Capperauld and Sadie Aceipuno are some of the volunteers who helped with the cleanup. They were in charge of pulling up the invasive plant species that were impeding the growth of other plants. Aceipuno is excited to see the garden become beautiful again.

It wasn’t just student volunteers who were part of the cleanup, but also Dean of Math and Sciences Ryan Pedersen and even Governing Board Vice President Fernando Sandoval. Sandoval enjoyed working the grounds with whom he calls “the future of LMC.” Sandoval said being able to work on the nature preserve meant a lot to him, as he calls it “sacred grounds.”

Before LMC was established, the land was home to a U.S. Army facility by the name of Camp Stoneman. It was a major troop staging area and was operated during World War II and the Korean War. It was developed in 1942, closed in 1954 and is now the home to LMC and the nature preserve.

“My dad came up from Fort Ord where he went through basic training,” Sandoval said. “My dad was a guitar player and would play with Mariachi bands to hear the music of their youth before being sent out to war. Many of his friends he spent time with would not make it back.”

The transformation from a place to prepare for war to a place where young people learn is a transformation Sandoval is happy to see.

“My dad would be proud to see so many working for their future. That’s what he fought for.”

If you wanted to help volunteer but are worried that you missed your one opportunity, you can still have your chance. Black wants to make every Friday a volunteer day where any club or any person can come by the nature preserve and help out within the hours 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The nature preserve is a great place to connect with nature and get some fresh air and if you ever want to give back to mother earth, you can always start there.