MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Earth Day 2010
and the Combat Center’s
Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Division brought an added spark of green to the installation with a week of environmentally-savvy activities April 17 to 23.
Chris Ward, the Compre- hensive Environmental Training Education Program manager for the Combat Center’s NREA, said the Combat Center is already on its way to making every day “Earth Day,” but this year, his office focused heavily on awareness.
Combat Center personnel participated in and hosted a variety of events throughout the week to clean up the desert, raise awareness about environmental impact and educate the local community about what the Marine Corps does year-round to preserve the natural environment.
Earth Week began April 17 with a conservation fair in Yucca Valley, Calif., where emphasis was placed on the Combat Center’s stewardship to the environment.
Representatives from NREA shared with the community their wildlife management initiative and how the Combat Center is cutting down their light pollution by installing motion-censored solar-powered lights throughout the installation.
According to http: //www.earthday.org, nearly 50 percent of the energy America produces comes from coal. The Web site urges organizations to use clean, renewable energy and transition away from using coal and oil.
Also during Earth Week, Combat Center children learned about the need to recycle and do their part to keep the earth clean.
Marine Corps Com- munity Services hosted a poster contest at the Children’s Teen and Youth Center to help raise awareness throughout the younger generation.
“There’s a lot more emphasis now in protecting our planet and [to] pass that point on to our children,” said Ward, a Huntingdon, Penn., native. “Becoming greener is the ongoing theme.”
NREA also hosted an installation-wide beautification clean-up contest, during which tenant units competed to turn in the most recyclable material and industrial bulk to NREA’s Hazardous Waste Manage- ment Section.
The 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion received first place in the recyclable material category, and Mojave Viper Support Detachment received first place for turning in the most industrial bulk.
The week of green emphasis culminated April 22 with Earth Day. This was the busiest day for NREA, because they held multiple events throughout the Combat Center to raise awareness and provide the tools necessary to help people stay on track.
The day began early with a 5k Earth Day Challenge Run, and a 10k Mountain Bike Ride. Participants received a biodegradable water bottle and a T-shirt.
Chris Elliott, the water resources manager for NREA, who also participated in the bicycle race, said Earth Day is the perfect time to stop and recognize all the things people take for granted every day and recognize people for their efforts to keep the earth clean.
“Normally each Earth Day we’re just like, ‘Here is Earth Day, you guys should recycle,’ and we push that,” said Elliott, a Gainesville, Fla., native. “This time we’re pushing how it can be enjoyable. With running and cycling you stay fit, but it also gets people out of the norm – gets them out of their cars and into the environment to have some fun.”
One of the last events held by NREA for Earth Week was the Earth Day Fair at the West Gym and Fitness Center April 22, where NREA set up booths and handed out pamphlets to inform The Combat Center community of the importance of staying green.
“Awareness information was passed-out, and all activities present had many forms of literature available for dissemination,” Ward said. “Many free items were given out, to include free tote bags, biodegradable sports bottles, eco-green pencils and 10-step energy awareness magnets. Additionally, there were Kreamy Soap samples with natural ingredients, and Public Works Division gave out free compact fluorescent light bulbs, and energy efficient temperature magnets.”
For more information about Earth Day, or how to take action to preserve the earth, visit http://www.earth day.org.