Carson acclaimed, commemorates Earth Day
April 30, 2009
- Fort Carson recognized for sustainability at Earth Day observance
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Tad Davis, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for environment, safety and occupational health awarded Fort Carson the Army Sustainability Team Award during an Earth Day event April 22, located on the grounds of Carson Middle School.
Davis presented the award to garrison commander Col. Eugene Smith, who accepted on behalf of the Fort Carson community.
Before an audience of middle school students, Davis spoke briefly about the history of Earth Day and the need to maintain the environment.
"It's important that each and every one of us do our part - within our Families, within our schools, within our community - to talk about these important issues so that we can, in fact, identify those things that we need to do to be better stewards of the environment," Davis said. "Not just for today or tomorrow, but a week or a year from now it'll really help out our environment, both here at Fort Carson and all over the country."
Davis told the group that, despite the relatively low-key Earth Day commemoration events, the Army considered the day as equivalent to the Super Bowl and the World Series combined in terms of its importance in the environmental arena. He added that the day was a very special day for Fort Carson, and a day to recognize the post community's efforts to improve environmental sustainability.
"The Army's big," Davis said, "We're in every state and 50 countries all over the world. Of all those hundreds of installations out there in the entire Army, I'm here today to be with you to present this award on behalf of (Secretary of the Army Pete Geren) to Fort Carson for the great work that they're doing."
One specific project Davis mentioned was Fort Carson's solar energy array. The array, he said, was the largest of its kind in the Army and one of the largest in the country. Since the array was constructed on a former land-fill site, it also demonstrated a positive utilization of land unfit for other uses while generating clean, renewable energy.
During the awards presentation, Andy Schlosberg, assistant district forester for the Woodland Park District of the Colorado state forest service, reminded the crowd that Arbor Day was only a couple of days later on April 24. Arbor Day, Schlosberg said, celebrated taking care of the environment much in the same way that Earth Day does.
"As part of Arbor Day," Schlosberg said, "the national Arbor Day Foundation likes to present awards to communities like Fort Carson that go to the effort to keep their communities green by planting trees and keeping their trees healthy."
Schlosberg then presented an award to Smith on behalf of the Fort Carson community for achieving the designation of Tree City USA for the 22nd consecutive year as well as achieving the Growth Award for the seventh year.
The Growth Award, explained Schlosberg, indicated that Fort Carson had gone above and beyond the requirements for the Tree City designation.
"It's taking care of the trees on post and developing land projects to include wetlands and other natural areas," Schlosberg said.
Tree City USA status, according to the Arbor Day Foundation's Website, is conferred upon communities that create and sustain forestry preservation and enhancement efforts. There are more than 3,300 communities across the nation that have achieved Tree City USA designation. Only 534 of those communities have been presented with the Growth Award.
Davis said that the Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration was a great opportunity for the Army to tell its story of environmental stewardship and the strides that have been made environmentally in recent years.
"Sustainability in the simplest terms is looking to the future - 25, 30 or 40 years down the road - to determine what we think the conditions are going to be like and then back-casting to where we are today so we can develop plans, programs and procedures to preserve these natural resources for the future," Davis said. "In many respects, from the Army's perspective, we're building green, buying green and we're going green. I think that's huge. We have a tremendous appreciation for the environment and for our natural resources. We've got tremendous leadership engagement in it. I think it only bodes well for the future of our Army."
Before he left the event, Davis pitched in to clean up litter from a wetlands area near Carson Middle School and helped to plant a tree.