Monterey Bay LGBTQ+ Network to Host Ice Plant Cleanup Volunteer Event – Monterey Herald

MARINA – The Monterey Bay LGBTQ+ Network, a community group of individuals aiming to come together to create a thriving queer community in the area, will host a volunteer environmental opportunity event this weekend at Fort Ord State Park Dunes.

Network Volunteer Day to help save the rare Monterey ceanothus from the invasive ice plant is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Fort Ord Dunes State Park. The group will meet in the main parking lot at Fort Ord Dunes State Park at the end of Eighth Street in Marina. Tools, training and gloves will be provided. Volunteers are requested to bring water, snacks, closed shoes and sun protection.

According to the California Native Plant Society, Monterey ceanothus is a rare native shrub that grows in northern, southern, and central California, primarily in the central coast and San Francisco Bay areas. It tends to grow in dry cones, slopes and ridges, at elevations ranging from sea level to 5,900 feet.

The invasive ice plant was imported from South Africa and introduced in the early 1900s to help stabilize the ground along railway tracks. The Ice Plant is doing extremely well in California as it has a similar climate to its original home. But the invasive plant damages the local ecosystem by working against the ability of native plants and animals to thrive.

Volunteer Day aims to help open up space so Monterey ceanothus can survive and thrive along the coast.

Monterey Bay LGBTQ+ network leader and Facebook page administrator Roger Gass said the event was a way to celebrate Pride Month in June. This event marks the group’s first partnership with California State Parks but it is not its first event bringing people together.

Gass said the group was created in 2016 to help raise awareness of events happening in the queer community and provide opportunities for the diverse community and their allies to come together to talk about topics of interest, such as available resources, health care and housing, among others.

The Monterey Bay LGBTQ+ Network aims to help amplify the voices of the queer community and nonprofits, including Salinas Valley Pride Celebrations and Monterey Peninsula Pride.

“We have over 800 members on our Facebook page,” Gass said. “It’s a private group, so people can feel safe to be part of it.”

The group meets weekly, meeting at a local location to give members the opportunity to visit each other, talk about issues, exchange views, and raise awareness of upcoming events. Meetups serve as a physical extension of the Facebook presence and provide members with a safe and welcoming space.

Gass is a 38-year-old transplant from Texas who, along with her husband, struggled to find a community where they felt comfortable, visible and able to socialize in the Monterey Bay Area when they moved here. in 2013.

A friend suggested they join the Facebook group which has grown in diversity and membership over the past eight years, tapping into and fostering a thriving LGBTQ+ community.

Gass said the term queer refers to that diverse community that spans more than lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

He said having the Facebook group has provided a platform to spread information and raise awareness of local nonprofits, as well as organize events that not only support the group personally, but the community. entire LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

This Saturday’s Volunteer Day demonstrates the value of the group coming together to support, love and give back to each other and the community, he said.

Also on Saturday, Monterey Bay FC will celebrate Pride Night at Cardinale Stadium beginning at 7:00 p.m. Players will wear Union Pride workout tops during warm-ups, which will be signed and auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting local LGBTQ+ organizations, including Salinas Valley Pride. Celebrations and pride of the Monterey Peninsula.

Joseph K. Bennett