Fort DeRussy, Hawaii (April 28, 2018) - - Armed with hand-held trash pickers and garbage bags, more than 40 volunteers combed areas of Fort DeRussy in Waikiki April 28, gathering trash, bottles and other debris as part of Earth Day 2018.
Honolulu District Commander Lt. Col. James D. Hoyman volunteered alongside 43 Punahou School Junior ROTC students, District employees and their friends and families to clean up the beach and berm area behind the Corps' Pacific Regional Visitor Center (RVC) at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, April 28, 2018.
"Every year nearly 1 billion people throughout 192 countries participate in Earth Day events like marching, signing petitions, meeting with their elected officials, planting trees, or cleaning up their towns and roads," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Park Ranger Stephen Lawlor, who along with Park Ranger Angela Jones led the annual event. Coordinating the volunteer Punahou JROTC cadets was Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert Takao, commander of the Punahou School Junior ROTC Program.
Having one of the largest federal environmental missions and being the Nation's environmental engineer, USACE is committed to taking care of the environment and creating a mutually supporting economic and environmentally sustainable solutions. An umbrella concept, sustainability includes energy, climate change, and the environment to ensure today's actions do not negatively impact tomorrow. Environmentally sustainable events held each year by Honolulu District aligns and supports the Corps commitment.
"The District hosts multiple events throughout the year," Lawlor said. "Earth Day and the National Public Lands Day in September support the Corps commitment to the environment."
Planning these events comes with challenges.
"The biggest challenge is bringing all the moving pieces together," Lawlor explained. "Coordinating with the necessary services, as well as ensuring we have enough volunteers."
A joint effort conquered the challenges.
"We overcame the obstacles with teamwork, communication and hard work between everyone," Lawlor said. "As a result, the Earth Day cleanup was a success and plenty of trash removed. Everyone did a great job," Lawlor concluded. "Not only did we have more people volunteer this year, but we also collected 45 pounds of trash."
The annual Earth Month and Earth Day event increases awareness and support for ongoing education and efforts to build partnerships and grassroots involvement to keep the 'aina clean year-round.
Earth Day was established March 21, 1970 as an annual event to deepen reverence and care for life on the planet.
The Corps' Pacific Regional Visitor Center first opened its doors at Battery Randolph in 1983. Its goal is to enhance the public's understanding of the multidimensional role of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Particular emphasis is on Civil Works and water resources development which affect the lives of all the residents of Hawaii and the people of the Pacific.
The Pacific Regional Visitor Center is located on the second floor of historic Battery Randolph at Fort DeRussy. Battery Randolph is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is one of 16 coastal fortifications built by the Corps between 1906 and 1917 for the protection of Honolulu and Pearl Harbors.