WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 22, 2010) -- Three Army National Guard installations will receive Secretary of the Army awards for their environmental and sustainability program achievements during fiscal year 2009, the Army announced Jan. 15.

Camp Guernsey, Wyo., Camp Withycombe, Ore. and the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan "stand out as examples of how environmental stewardship and sustainability play a crucial role in the Army's mission readiness," according to an Army press release.

"It is an honor to receive these prestigious awards," said Col. Michael Bennett, the chief of the Guard's Environmental Programs Division. "It is a testament to the outstanding efforts of our environmental programs to ensure our Soldiers have sufficient resources to support our missions at home and abroad."

Camp Guernsey was selected as the Cultural Resources Management, Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to promote the management of cultural resources, including the identification, protection and restoration of historical buildings and structures; archeological sites; native American tribes and native Hawaiian sacred objects and sites; and the promotion of cultural resources conservation ethics.

Over the past two years, a number of program milestones have been accomplished at Camp Guernsey, including the successful completion of a cultural site protection study; increased preservation of Oregon Trail historic sites; and implementation of a Native American ethnographic study and traditional cultural properties survey.

Camp Withycombe was selected as the Environmental Restoration, Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to protect human health and the environment by cleaning up identified sites in a timely, cost-efficient and responsive manner.

Camp Withycombe is the site of the Oregon Army National Guard's largest restoration project, involving the remediation of six former small-arms training ranges in preparation for a major Oregon Department of Transportation highway development project. The Oregon Guard implemented a cleanup strategy that used natural resources and energy efficiently, reduced negative impacts on the environment, minimized or eliminated pollution at its source and reduced waste to the greatest extent possible.

The Fort Custer Training Center was selected as the Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to promote the conservation of natural resources, including the identification, protection, and restoration of biological resources and habitat; the sound management and use of the land and its resources; and the promotion of conservation ethic.

The achievements at Fort Custer include grant-funded endangered species surveys and wetland restoration projects, an updated planning level survey for all resources on the installation demonstrating natural resource improvements, and expansion of prescribed fire usage and prairie restoration.

In addition to the three winners, both Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center in Pennsylvania and Volunteer Training Site Catoosa in Tennessee were recognized as runners up for awards.

The Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards represent the highest honor in the field of environmental science and sustainability conferred by the Army.

"The Army recognizes successes that demonstrate mission-driven solutions that protect the environment at installations here and overseas," said Tad Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health. "Whatever we do needs to revolve around supporting the mission, taking care of our Soldiers, civilians, and families."

"In simplistic terms the Army, our Army, your Army -- is building green, buying green and going green. These winning environmental programs make the Army sustainable thereby impacting generations to come," Davis said.

The winning installations will represent the Army in the FY09 Defense Environmental Awards competition later this year.

(Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke writes for Headquarters National Guard Bureau)

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