PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- The Presidio capped off "Earth Month" with an information fair April 30.

Some 600 community members stopped by to expand their knowledge on conservation and protection of natural resources from about 30 participating agencies during the event.

According to event coordinator Tania Leisten, Presidio of Monterey Directorate of Public Works, the event just keeps getting better every year.

In addition to the 11 garrison and tenant representatives, there were about 19 outside agencies participating to provide a wide range of educational information opportunities and demonstrations, as well as the traditional tree-planting event, Leisten said.

The Presidio of Monterey is one of approximately 200 installations, major commands and organizations in the United States and around the world that celebrate Army Earth Day.

The Army's 2015 Earth Day theme is "Sustain the Mission. Secure the Future."

The goal reflects the dedication to protecting the environment and the lands in the Army's care so that training that enables Soldier readiness and mission success can be conducted now and into the future. The Army takes great pride in its commitment to the environment, "Acknowledging the Past" by restoring Army lands and preserving cultural and historical resources; "Engaging the Present" by meeting today's environmental standards while enabling Army operations and protecting Soldiers, families and civilians, and "Charting the Future" by using best practices and new technologies to ensure future environmental resiliency.

Army Earth Day 2015 is an opportunity to renew a commitment to sound environmental stewardship of the lands entrusted to the Army; the lands where Soldiers, families and civilians train, live and work.

According to a tri-signed Army Earth Day 2015 letter, the Army continues to lead the federal government through its sustainability initiatives. "We reduce, repurpose, recycle at our military installations and maintain our valued partnerships with conservation organizations. We enhance resiliency of our installations through energy efficiency and renewable energy. We are addressing climate change by supporting adaptation efforts to identify and assess the risks of climate change to national security, and we are seeking technological innovations and energy solutions to mitigate climate change by reducing green-house gas emissions."

In addition to being vigilant in protecting over 200 endangered or threatened species that make their homes on military installations worldwide, the Army is also focusing on managing America's natural resources with a goal of Net Zero installations.

The Army is creating a culture that recognizes the value of sustainability measured not just in terms of financial benefits, but benefits to maintaining mission capability, quality of life, relationships with local communities, and the preservation of options for the Army's future.

Events vary from Earth Day fairs with educational exhibits, to tree plantings, to other initiatives that actually sustain installation operations.


EARTH DAY HISTORY

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970.

The campaign for Earth Day began as a grassroots effort to teach about environmental stewardship, create an awareness of the environment's fragility, and ultimately, to thrust that awareness into the mainstream of American society. The campaign caught on quickly and evolved into what people now celebrate as Earth Day each April 22.

Army leaders understand the interdependence of military mission requirements, the natural environment and community well-being.

From this strategy, environmental stewardship becomes a mission enhancer. It leads to better training lands, improved recreational opportunities, healthier communities, and new partnerships.

Also, environmental sustainability is now part of every installation's and unit's operations, from munitions production to live-fire training, from housing areas to forward operating bases.

The Army's observance of Earth Day provides an opportunity to emphasize the interdependence of the military's mission with the natural environment and the well-being of communities.

On Earth Day, people should recognize that environmental sustainability is everyone's responsibility.

Consider the boot print you make, the impact you have on resources, whether you are on an installation, deployed or in your home. The military's goal is to conserve and preserve while we serve.

(Additional information provided by Army Environmental Command; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; and U.S. Army.)