CAMP ZAMA, Japan (May 2, 2019) -- U.S. Army Garrison Japan officials hosted a recent Earth Day event in Zama City, bringing a group of volunteers to the nearby Sagami River to clean a local park.

James Brown, chief of the Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division, said the event showcased respect and dedication to protecting the environment while celebrating the partnership with Camp Zama's Japanese hosts and neighbors.

"Events such as the river cleanup effort help us build a strong relationship with our Japanese neighbors and demonstrate our commitment to the protection of the environment." Brown said. "Although we are from different parts of the world, we all share a common goal and that is to do our part in keeping the world clean and safe from the harmful effects of pollution."

Zama City officials brought a garbage truck decorated with Zamarin, the city's mascot, and a group of students from the Hiratsuka Agricultural High School joined the Camp Zama volunteers.

After a quick safety brief, volunteers were provided gloves, garbage bags and were put to work. By the time they were done, they had collected about 100 pounds of garbage.

Isana Kobayashi, a 17-year-old student from the agricultural school, said he enjoyed the event and hopes to participate again in the future.

"All of the American volunteers were very friendly and it was easy to talk to them," Kobayashi said.

Brooke Boswell, a Camp Zama volunteer, said she was proud to get to join the event.

"I am more than happy to represent and to spread good fellowship among our community," she said. "I'm very honored to be here today and to be a representative from Camp Zama."

Brown said he hopes even more people will join future events.

"The main purpose of Earth Day is to unite people of many different cultures for a single purpose to care for the earth," he said. "We thank the city officials for allowing us to host this and helping us out, and the volunteers for dedicating their time."