Local businesses help Fort Bragg residents celebrate Earth Day
Giovanni Estrada, 6, paints a flower pot at Fort Bragg's celebration of Earth Day April 22 at Casablanca/Anzio Acres Neighborhood Center. The event, sponsored by Picerne Military Housing and Sandhills Utility Services, featured games, organic food and information distribution about ways to protect Earth.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Wayne Steele II chalked a picture of Earth onto the pavement outside of the Casablanca/Anzio Acres Neighborhood Center April 22. The picture was small in scale and featured a thermometer.

"I'm drawing Earth and I drew a little face because everybody is polluting the water," said the 10 year old. "The people who cut down the logs should stop doing that because they're not doing a good thing to the planet."

The thermometer, he said, means that Earth is getting sick.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. According to research, it was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin to raise appreciation for the Earth's environment.

Picerne Military Housing and Sandhills Utility Services joined forces to teach Families how to make Fort Bragg more sustainable to ensure future installation capabilities.

The Earth Day celebration showcased games, organic food, an appearance by SUS mascot Electropup and a display of hybrid vehicles by Lafayette Ford, among other attractions.

One agency that distributed information about recycling was the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Compliance Branch. Eric Torres who works in the office, said that the frisbees, balls and rulers he gave to Fort Bragg Families were all made from recycled products. Torres also gave housing residents a reusable grease can for collecting cooking oil, which, instead of dumping down drains, could be turned in at DPW or safely thrown away, he said.

Jason Townsend picked up some brochures as he and his two-year-old daughter, Vada, made their way to different stations, including the Brickman Group planting station.

Townsend said visiting the planting station made his daughter very happy.

As a Family attached to the 612th Quartermaster Battalion, Townsend said he received information about conserving energy by adjusting the thermostat.

This is precisely the sort of information that Paul Hora said he wanted to convey to Families. Hora, the energy awareness manager for Sandhills Utility Services, works with DPW and Fort Bragg to increase sustainability.

"The purpose of the Earth Day celebration on Fort Bragg is to highlight areas where people can be energy conscience," he said.

Families have to make small changes in their environment to support sustainability such as turning off unused lights and appliances and recycling, Hora said.

Fort Bragg has installed nearly 200,000 energy-efficient light bulbs in an effort to conserve energy, said Scarlett Tyner, Picerne communications specialist. The Army is promoting the resident utility responsibility program to encourage Families to conserve.

Families who conserve receive credits on their utility bills. Families who exceed the average monthly allowance for energy usage in the home may have to pay a supplement to the utility company, she said.

Earth Day provides an opportunity to teach children about being good stewards of the environment.

"It starts when they are young," Torres said. "You start them off early in good habits and they continue into the future."

Page last updated Fri April 30th, 2010 at 15:34