Earth Day Expo brings awareness to Fort Rucker
Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander, and his wife, Esther, take a ride in the all-electric Tesla at Fort Rucker's first Earth Day Expo at the Festival Fields, April 18, 2012.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 26, 2012) -- Mother Nature made an appearance with a cleansing rain during Fort Rucker's first Earth Day Expo at the Festival Fields April 18, but that didn't dampen the spirits of everyone involved as the expo went on to educate and bring awareness to people about sustainability.

The expo included exhibits from different agencies including URS, which had games set up to educate people about different environmental facts; Interstate Batteries, which helped educate people on the importance of recycling old batteries; and Discovery Recycling, which showed people what they can recycle and how recycling can help the environment..

"We have full-service recycling," said Kevin McManus, general manager for Discover Recycling. "We can recycle more than just paper. We recycle cardboard, Number 1 and Number 2 plastics, tin cans, computers and e-waste."

McManus was also able to educate people on what a lot of the materials that are recycled are turned back into.

"Cardboard will be turned back into cardboard and other papers will usually be turned into some type of tissue," he said. "Number 1 plastics, which are water bottles and things like that, can be turned into carpet, and Number 2 plastics, which is high-density polypropylene like milk jugs and bleach bottles, can be turned into plumbing pipes."

He also explained that most aluminum cans are turned right back into more aluminum cans, adding that aluminum takes a very long time to break down if sitting in a landfill.

Shantal Shelstad, Army spouse, visited the expo and browsed the various exhibits with her husband, CW2 Brandon Shellstad, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, and their daughter, Penny.

"I like knowing the different resources that are available," she said. "I didn't know about [Discovery Recycling] and what they offer. We recycle and everything, but I think a lot of people are wasteful and most of their waste is going into landfills, so it's nice to get that message out to get people to start thinking of different ways to do things."

TRANE was another company that had an exhibit at the expo and it is most commonly known for air conditioning units, but it was there to educate people on what it does as a company to make buildings more efficient for the environment, said Lant Dubose, solution sales executive for TRANE.

"Our equipment is low-pressure equipment," he said. "If a piece of our equipment sprung a leak, for example, the refrigerant that is housed inside the unit won't leak out -- it actually stays within the system. Our equipment is 15 to 20 percent more efficient than [most], but our specialty is reengineering buildings to make total building systems more efficient.
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"It's more than just the equipment that we have, it's the application itself," he explained.

TRANE has long supported the armed forces and is partnered with the federal government to help all branches of the armed forces meet their mission, said Dubose.

"It's more than just guys on the front fighting the enemy," he said. "It's all the support services that get them there and get them ready."

Although many exhibits at the expo helped educate people on sustainability efforts and what they can do to help, none seemed to grab more attention than the Tesla, which is car powered only by electricity.

"What we're showing is a mark and indicator for what is coming in the future," said Cedric Daniels, program manager for electric transportation for Alabama Power Company. "The Tesla is a totally electric sports car, which is incredible. It's the eye-candy, it's the fun car."

Daniels explained that the company that manufactures the Tesla wanted to show that an all-electric sports car could be created that performed just as well as gasoline-powered vehicles.

"It has performed excellently," he said. "It's fast, attractive and goes the range that was predicted."

Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Dwaine E. Walters, Fort Rucker garrison command sergeant major, both attended the expo to test drive the Tesla.

"The fact that you can use electricity to drive along the interstates and drive along your normal commutes is really a huge need for us," said Daniels. "It gives us a stronger case to be more independent of foreign oil imports and that is important for the mission as well."

Another car that was showcased was the Chevrolet Volt, which is a hybrid "electric range-extended vehicle," said the transportation program manager.

The reason for showing the all-electric car and the electric-hybrid car is to get people to realize that there are going to be different alternative fuels available in the future, whether they are electric alternatives or not, said Daniels, adding he wanted to show people that electricity, as an alternative fuel source for cars, is available to people now.

"I think our supplies and current fuel sources will run out soon -- maybe not in our lifetime, but maybe the generation after," said Greg Norman, who attended the expo, "and this expo can teach people how to be more environmentally friendly."

Page last updated Thu April 26th, 2012 at 00:00