Environmental exhibit highlights German-American stewardship of the Grafenwoehr Training Area
June 2, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany " A U.S. Army exhibit focusing on the environmental history of the Grafenwoehr Training Area is on display beginning in June at the city of Grafenwöhr’s Historical and Cultural Museum.
Nature’s Defense: German-American Environmental Stewardship of the Grafenwoehr Training Area, uses historical maps, aerial imagery and photos to trace the evolution of land management within the borders of Grafenwoehr from 1910 to the present.
“It provides an excellent outlet for the U.S. Army in Europe to explain to the community " both German and American " the value we place on environmental compliance and stewardship,” said Jeff Andrews, U.S. Army in Europe ITAM Operations Officer.
The exhibit was produced by the U.S. Army in Europe’s Integrated Training Area Management (ITAM) program to highlight the partnership between the U.S. Army and the German local and federal governments in preserving Grafenwoehr’s lands for both military training and the natural environment.
The exhibit also highlights the unique plant and animal species that thrive in the training area, many of which are endangered or have gone extinct in other parts of Germany.
Rather than destroy wildlife habitat, the military training on Grafenwoehr has actually led to unique environmental conditions that create opportunities for those species to survive, said Andrews.
“Disturbance to ecosystems " such as forest fires " is natural and has always existed,” said Andrews. “On Grafenwoehr Training Area, that disturbance is caused by live-fire training and maneuver land management, resulting in a wide variety of ecosystems and high biodiversity.”
All the historical maps and aerial imagery used in the display came from the archives of ITAM’s Geospatial Information System (GIS) office in Grafenwoehr’s, which maintains topographical imagery for all U.S. Army in Europe training areas and ranges.
“One of the tenants of the ITAM program is ‘information excellence.’ Our GIS program ensures that we have the most accurate and up-to-date topographical information available to support land management decisions,” said Andrews.
The environmental stewardship exhibit coincides with the city of Grafenwöhr’s 650th anniversary this summer, and should remain on display at the museum through the end of the year.