Darmstadt Celebrates Earth Day
April 24, 2008
DARMSTADT, Germany - Even though the Army installation here nears a closure brought about by transformation, the Darmstadt Community paused together April 22 to leave something new and lasting.
In a ceremony held on Lincoln Village, Lt. Col. David Astin, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt, and Command Sergeant Harold Littlejohn joined principal Joe Malloy and the Darmstadt School student body in placing a rhododendron in honor of Earth Day.
The flowering plant was provided by Darmstadt's Parent Teacher Organization.
The students, who will be transitioning to new schools next year, left a personal touch by writing and reading their own environmental pledges, ranging from a song dedicated by kindergarteners to their "beautiful Earth" to far-reaching plans by the older children when it comes to recycling and saving energy.
Malloy tied the Earth's well being to the health of humans, asking his students, "If we don't take care of the planet, where will we live'"
He added that everyone has a responsibility in caring for the globe because, "believe it or not, the planet takes very good care of us."
Malloy described the rhododendron, which blooms annually, as a small token of the school's appreciation for Earth, because "every little tiny plant makes its contribution" to improving the environment.
Astin thanked the children for their heartfelt promises, reminding attendees that Earth Day is about "sustaining the environment for a secure future" - especially for Darmstadt's youth, who, as Astin described, are "our most precious resource."
He also reminded students that even though the installation is closing, the rhododendron will live on and bloom long after the people have left, remaining a symbol of the community's commitment in protecting the planet.
After formal remarks, students reached for hand tools to help plant the shrubbery near the school's main entrance, along with placing flowers to accompany the rhododendron. Afterwards, they grabbed environmentally friendly commissary bags and other Earth Day items to help fulfill their pledges.
For Larry Steinman, Darmstadt's environmental division chief and
the driving force behind the event, the celebration was particularly poignant, as this will be the last Earth Day for the community.
He said the children's inclusion emphasized that, "developing an Earth-conscious attitude early in life is the best way (for such practices). I felt the kids were actually excited by the program and activities ... that was especially gratifying."