FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- There's only one Earth, but there are many ways to help preserve it. Members of the Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem communities took steps to preserve the environment April 24 in an Earth Day celebration held at Jacobs Park on Fort McPherson.

During the celebration, a tree and several flowers were planted while community members brought in their old resources to be recycled.

Col. Deborah Grays, U.S. Army Garrison commander, Owen Nuttall, the chief of the Base Realignment and Closure Environmental Office, and several children enrolled in the Child Development Center's pre-k class planted the flowering cherry tree to kick off the event at 11 a.m.

Having the children participate, besides giving them something fun to do, was also chosen to help instill a love of the earth and nature, said Joan Hutton, an In-stallation Management Command-Southeast Environmental Branch environmental specialist.

"We want to instill a sense of values and show the joy nature can provide," she said. "We want them to experience physical sensations, touch the dirt and appreciate the simple joys of nature."

Protecting that nature for future generations to enjoy was a goal of the event and was accomplished via several recycling collections.

These collections were for items, such as hazardous household wastes like antifreeze, paints and solvents and electronic wastes, that are not normally collected at recycling centers.

"We need to recognize this is our home and we need to protect it," said Heather Hawkins, a BRAC Environmental Office environmental specialist. "It's important to take that extra step and not just dump (hazardous things)."

Such steps, when done by many individuals, makes a large difference, said Rudy Stine, chief of the IMCOM-SE Environment Branch. It is this sense of teamwork, working toward a common goal, that is the base of the Army environmental program, he said.

"A lot of people don't realize the Army has an environmental program," Stine said. "We do our part to protect the environment." He added that individual acts are just as important.

People can continue to do their part by taking part in recycling programs on post or in their community, Hawkins said. Although there are no new events planned by the environment offices staffs, ideas are always in the works, Hawkins added.

Information on such events will be made available once they are finalized, she said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16