INDEPENDENCE — Manzanar National Historic Site is calling of volunteers to help clear the baseball field of tumbleweeds on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The historic baseball field is being restored, but first the massive tumbleweed overgrowth resulting from heavy rainfall has to be cleared.
“Of all the sports played in camp, baseball was the most popular one,” said cleanup organizer Dan Kwong. “Camps had dozens of baseball teams, with leagues and tournaments. Games would draw hundreds of spectators. Baseball had a powerful symbolic meaning, giving people a sense of ‘American normality’ under surreal and traumatic conditions.
“The restoration of the Manzanar baseball field honors one of the ways the JA community held on to its spirit, and its determination to live their lives as true Americans. I hope people will want to contribute to this project in some way. And stay tuned for news about the exciting inaugural games planned for the field’s completion!”
Reconstruction of the baseball field began in mid-April when National Park Service staff were joined by a crew from the California Conservation Corps, a state-supported agency led by director Bruce Saito.
CCC helps protect and enhance California’s natural resources and communities while developing young adults through conservation projects.
By late May, volunteers had joined the excavation efforts, looking for evidence of the baseball field backstop, artifacts, and other historical features.
Author and filmmaker Kerry Yo Nakagawa, who founded the Nisei Baseball Research Project, once observed, “The irony of baseball behind barbed wire was that Japanese Americans were …confined to camps during World War II. Donning a baseball uniform, however, gave them free passage to road trips.”
Manzanar will provide hand tools, drinking water, and porta-potties. Bring your own water bottle, lunch and snacks (there are no food concessions on site). Dress for dirty work. Work gloves and dust mask advised.
Temperatures range typically from the mid-50s to mid-60s. Check weather reports prior to arriving.
For more information and to sign up, contact Kwong at (310) 633-1926 or email@example.com. Indicate your desired/likely workshift and day, plus your contact info.