FORT HOOD, Texas - Col. Chad R. Foster, commander of U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood, joined by a group of Girls Scouts from Heart of Central Texas Troop 6300 and 20301, signed a proclamation to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day here at the Fort Hood Pollinator Sanctuary, April 29.
“These proclamations are symbolic and are an expression of our commitment as an installation to these causes,” he said. “It’s about taking care of the environment on which we depend for our lives; and without a good, healthy environment, we can’t train and do what Fort Hood is supposed to do.”
During the ceremony, Foster recognized Tommy Reeder and Reid Lewis from Wild Birds Unlimited for their support of the Fort Hood Adaptive and Integrative Management Team, and presented them with Keep Texas Beautiful coins.
“These two individuals were instrumental in getting this two-acre footprint recognized as a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation,” Foster said. “This coin is a token of our appreciation and it’s on behalf of everybody you impact.”
There are several components to the process that AIM biologists worked through to receive this recognition. Each area submitted to NWF for consideration must provide food, water, cover and a place to raise young for wildlife.
Helping to make a difference for wildlife and educate youth, Foster and the Girl Scouts and their families spread antelope-horns milkweed seeds within the sanctuary’s footprint.
“It is one of the species of milkweeds that monarch caterpillars will consume as they are growing,” Chelsea Plimpton, pollinator biologist, AIM team, said. “We are going to spread the seeds in our grasslands. Hopefully, they will germinate and we will have some food for monarch caterpillars.”
With the help of Foster, six-year-old Girl Scout Rhea Turzai spread some seeds along the edges of the grasslands.
“We need to be respectful of the environment,” she said. “By helping the butterflies have nectar, we will help the babies grow so caterpillars and monarchs can get some yummy food.”
Angel Pavey, troop leader for Heart of Central Texas Troop 6300 and 20301, coordinated the Girl Scouts participation and emphasized the importance of taking part in events like the Arbor Day celebration.
“All of our girls really love participating in the community events,” she said.” As leaders, it helps keep them connected with their community and impresses upon them the importance of nature and keeping our Earth clean and ecosystems thriving.”
Foster thanked the Girl Scouts for helping to plant for a greener tomorrow.
“You are out here, learning how to be responsible and setting the example for a lot of people who are much older than you,” he said. “They need to follow your example about being responsible, not just with our environment, but with many areas as well. Thank you for what you do.”