GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria was presented the first-place award in the Environmental Quality, Overseas Installation category of the 2017 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards program in a ceremony Oct. 20, 2017 at the Ever Vigilant Café on Tower Barracks.To win the award, the USAG Bavaria Environmental Division ranked first among other overseas Army installations in the 2017 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards program.Once the Army award was secured, the division went on to compete against, and beat, the winners from its sister services.The Installation Management Command -- Europe Director, Michael D. Formica, presented the award to representatives from three on-post organizations that sync efforts and execute the environmental management program at USAG Bavaria -- the Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division, U.S Army Europe's Integrated Training Area Management, and the Logistic Readiness Center.In addition to the on-post partnerships, the environmental program works closely with Germany's Federal Forest Office and other host nation authorities.This close working relationship was highlighted by German forest officials during a recent visit, Formica said."The [forest meister] and his deputy educated me on the great teamwork that exists between our Environmental Division and [their office] and how that teamwork has enabled this training area to be referred to at the Serengeti of Europe. This area is better preserved than any other place in Central Europe."In the last few years, the garrison's training areas have seen the re-emergence of highly-threatened species that have been absent since the 19th century, said Manfred Rieck, chief, Environmental Division."The white-tailed eagle, European lynx, fish otter, wild cat and greater horseshoe bat are just a few of the species that are now thriving," said Rieck. "Currently, we are excited about European wolf sightings in the Grafenwoehr Training Area. It was first spotted in September 2016 by a wildlife camera and has been breaking news in German media."
The garrison's environmental program is multifaceted and oversees a range of environmental aspects such as managing hazardous substances, remediating contaminated sites, improving energy efficiency, recycling, conserving wildlife and habitats, monitoring water quality and protecting the area's cultural resources. Supporting the military readiness mission and its ever evolving needs is the environmental program's top priority, while environmental stewardship is its essence."I have always known we have the best environmental program in USAREUR," said Col. Lance Varney, garrison commander, USAG Bavaria. "This award was hard-won and is greatly deserved by the folks at the Environmental Division. I take tremendous pride in their efforts and sound environmental stewardship."