DHI QAR PROVINCE, Iraq - Coalition leaders from the 287th Sustainment Brigade celebrated Earth Day by teaching the necessity and wonder of plant life to students at Al Moamen School here April 22.

Lt. Col. Anthony Randall, 287th Special Troops Battalion executive officer, along with the brigades command staff and Civil Military Operations team, spent a day giving lessons on biology, and trees; how they help make the clean air, food and shelter for humans and animals.

"What's the most familiar tree in Kansas'" one student asked. "Oak trees," Randall responded and explained oak trees are deciduous. "Unlike palm trees, oak trees lose their leaves in the autumn and are bare in the winter," Randall said.

One student asked what type of soil he needed to plant a garden in his backyard. "I'd have to think about that one," Randall said with a chuckle. "I can't seem to get a garden going in my own backyard."
Randall's civilian job made him the perfect candidate for this visit, as he serves as the Kansas State environmental officer for the Kansas Army National Guard; his job is ensuring the Guard conserves and protects the state's natural resources when conducting missions.

"The kids were very knowledgeable and inquisitive. It made it fun to be out here on Earth Day," said Randall.

Later, the students eagerly lined up to plant their own flowers after they were each given a cup with soil and seeds. Randall demonstrated how to make a hole for the seeds and then cover it with soil. He said to water it and explained why the soil must be kept moist, "but not too wet," he said, and placed in the sun for a little while every day for the plant to grow.

After the planting lesson, Col. Robert Schmitt, 287th Sust. Bde., commander, Command Sgt. Major Timothy Newton and Shaykh Tayseer of the Al Ghizi tribe planted a palm tree. Newton, a principal for the Lansing, Kan. School district was happy to participate.

"Back at my school, they're celebrating Earth Day too," said Newton. "It's a great thing to send back pictures and show that even though I'm a few miles away from Kansas, I participated in Earth Day too."

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