USAG Ansbach hosts Earth Day for American, German students
April 26, 2013
ANSBACH, Germany (April 26, 2013) -- The planet Earth has 510,072,000 square kilometers of surface area. It weighs 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms. From a human scale, this is extremely large. From a cosmic scale, however, this is incredibly small. Earth's mass comprises roughly three millionths of the mass of the solar system. The solar system is one of hundreds of millions in this galaxy, which is one of an estimated half trillion galaxies in the known universe. And though our scope of the universe is constantly changing -- and new extrasolar planets constantly being discovered -- there is only one planet known for certain to be capable of sustaining life, and that is this planet, Earth.
To celebrate Earth Day and raise awareness of school children to several environmental issues, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach hosted Earth Day April 23 at Franken Kaserne. Fifth-grade students from all USAG Ansbach elementary schools, as well as students from Volksschule Burgbernheim, which serves the communities of Burgbernheim, Gallmersgarten, Illesheim and Marktbergel, attended the event.
"There are a lot of environmental problems we are facing: climate change, water scarcity, energy problems," said Jasmina Wirsich, a contractor working with USAG Ansbach Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Management Division. "This is the younger generation, and they have to deal with those issues more than we do probably, and that's why we want to raise their consciousness on those issues and why the soil is important and why we depend on the water."
Several stations were set up in a small area, allowing students a chance to learn about forestry, recycling, soil strata, water quality, nutrition, beekeeping, fire safety, alternative energy and more.
"Every station had its own twist," said Trinidad Rodriguez, a father and chaperone at the event. "[It was] very informative."
"My favorite was the bee station because we just talked about bees and pollination," said Roger Saunders, who teaches the fourth and fifth grade multi-age class at Ansbach Elementary School. "Their favorite was tasting the food."
The city of Ansbach was on hand to help out during the event. Representatives from the water department from the city demonstrated the importance of water purity out.
"Water is a precious thing we have to clean," said Christina Korschinek, a biological engineer with Wasserwirtschaftsamt Ansbach. "We need water for life and for living."
"They're having fun and learning a lot at the same time," said Saunders of his class. "These kids are going to grow up and be adults, so we want to teach them about recycling, teach them about alternative energy resources, so that we can use the environment and use our resources in an effective and productive way."
The USAG Ansbach command team also attended the event and appraised the value of teaching the children about taking care of the environment.
"The students are our future, and we want them to be good stewards of the environment, preserving what is going to be left for them," said Command Sgt. Maj. Leeford C. Cain, USAG Ansbach command sergeant major. "The reason to do Earth Day is to continue to educate our youngsters on the importance of making sure the environment is good for future generations."
"We're constrained in resources -- not only fiscal but our environmental resources -- and our children being our future, the more that they understand that nothing is unlimited in supply, the better," said Col. Kelly J. Lawler, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach. "With both our German partners and our American students, we think this is a great event to ensure everyone understands that."