JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Directorate of Environmental Management was the recent recipient of a Governor's Environmental Excellence Award from Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality for its sustainability efforts.
JBM-HH DEM Director Richard LaFreniere and DEM Water Program Manager Wanda Gooden traveled to an awards presentation at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., April 10 to receive the bronze medal award.
"This recognition from Governor Bob McDonnell validates the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall commander's commitment to the environment and the effort and dedication by the staff of the Directorate of Environmental Management," said LaFreniere.
According to the DEQ website, "The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in two categories: sustainability and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations and government agencies."
DEQ awards are given out in the categories gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention, with multiple winners in each division. Nineteen organizations received awards this year out of approximately 31 submitted, said Sharon Baxter, manager of DEQ's office of pollution prevention.
To get an idea of the variety of organizations receiving recognition, some of the 2012 gold medal winners include: the Prince William County's Solid Waste Division for its sustainability program, cited for its strong management, citizen and employee support; the DuPont Spruance Plant in Richmond, for a sustainability program that produced significant improvements in water conservation, waste generation and energy savings; and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, for its efforts to improve resource use.
Baxter said the awards started out as a program to recognize manufacturers in the state, but has grown through the years. "It's a way to recognize and hold up by example those who have gone beyond compliance ... [providing] more than what's required in standards," she said.
LaFreniere, who didn't take the helm of DEM until after a nominating packet was submitted, credited Gooden with providing an effective write-up of the installation's sustainability accomplishments.
In the application, Gooden described JBM-HH as "a small, yet high-profile military installation located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed" that is "committed to supporting a strong national defense, securing the integrity of our natural and cultural heritage, and conserving our natural resources for tomorrow's generations.
"Sustainable JBM-HH was created to ensure that our soldiers today - and the soldiers of the future - have the land, water and air resources needed to train; a healthy environment in which to live; and the support of local communities and the American people," she wrote. "The program includes both the natural and human environment found on the installation. Its success is dependent on support from the individuals that both live and work on the installation - involving everyone from soldiers and civilians, to tenants, contractors and Army partners."
Gooden cited a number of base accomplishments in her nomination write-up, including: the base's establishment of a composting site that takes manure from horses at the caisson stables and turns it into fertilizer; base construction projects that incorporate Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards; native plant landscaping which makes green spaces more manageable; and a green procurement plan, among other efforts in a comprehensive 25-year sustainability plan.
"I think they thought it was a lot of cutting-edge stuff for a small installation," said LaFreniere of the materials JBM-HH submitted to the state.
"It's great to be recognized for what we try to do here. It's great just to be nominated," said Gooden, who said the installation has submitted for the award in previous years. She added that many of the sustainability policies pursued by the base are part of a continuum and "have always existed in some form."
For more information on the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards, visit the website at www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs /PollutionPrevention/GovernorsEnvironmentalExcellenceAwards.aspx.