Thanking the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act
November 22, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
The commissioning of Camp Blaz in northwest Guam sparked some interest, with it being the first new Marine Corps facility since 1952. Though the base became active in 2020, it officially opened January 25, 2023. The base is named after Guam local, Brigadier General Vicente T. “Ben” Blaz. This recognizes Blaz’s historic mark as the first person of an ethnic minority to reach general rank in the USMC.
With the establishment of Camp Blaz came the responsibility of the surrounding native environment. On site, the critically endangered tree species Serainthes Nelsonii is being looked after by a qualified team of environmental specialists. The last surviving mature S. nelsonii tree on the island is located on base, and the Typhoon Mawar that touched down on May 24 unfortunately left the tree with broken boughs—a branchless and leafless wood pillar. With recovery uncertain, natural resource specialists were quick to acknowledge the bright side of the situation, and act accordingly.
“The reason why trees provide seeds each year is to protect itself—its genetics, after events like typhoons,” said Lauren Gutierrez, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas supervisory conservation specialist supporting MCB Camp Blaz.
“What’s important now is the natural succession of the seedlings and that we take care of the next generation.”
Camp Blaz currently has more than 3,000 S. nelsonii seeds in storage. Additionally, it has a history of growing healthy saplings in on-site nurseries. In cooperation with the Micronesia Conservation Coalition (MCC), MCB Camp Blaz has assisted in propagating 100 seedlings from the mature S. nelsonii. In addition to the S. nelsonii tree species, MCB Camp Blaz has also been recognized for several other conservation measures.
These include the transplantation of over 5,000 individuals of Tuberolabium Guamense orchids, the out planting of more than 900 threatened Tabernaemontana Rotensis trees, installing 11.2 miles of fencing for protected habitats, and the removal of more than 800 invasive deer and 140 feral pigs from the area.
As MCB Camp Blaz grows, it remains committed to its mission statement. It will preserve the natural and cultural resources within the base’s cognizance by maintaining transparent conservational goals and efforts.