WIESBADEN, Germany - The U.S. Army works closely with public and private institutions in the United States and around the world to protect and clean the environment. This Earth Day, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Department of Public Works coordinated environmental sustainment activities with students from Wiesbaden Middle School in cooperation with Domäne Mechtildshausen, an organic farm, just outside the gates of the Clay Kaserne.
“The proximity to the domain Mechtildshausen is perfect for us,” explained Millicent Dixon, Teacher Wiesbaden Middle School. “We want to teach our students a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, which of course includes healthy food produced in harmony with nature.”
The U.S. Army is committed to saving energy, reducing solid waste, and generating funds through aggressive pollution prevention efforts, and the visit was intended to teach the students organic farming and food production in a sustainable way. At the Domäne, the kids were divided into two groups and personnel from the Domäne and the DPW-Environmental Division provided two guided tours through the Domäne where there was much to discover and learn.
“I didn't know that tomato plants needed to be tied up to grow," middle school student James said, and his classmate Leilany added. "I didn't know that so much of the lettuce leaves had to be cleaned out before the lettuce hearts went on sale.”
In line with the Army’s efforts to reduce waste and promote recycling, it was important for the students to realize how effective circular economy can be. This was demonstrated to the children using the example of grass and the silage produced from it, which in turn serves as feed for the cows, whose excrement can then be used in the fields as fertilizer for the newly growing grass.
The visit ended with a picnic of organic food and the realization that it is we humans who are responsible for protecting natural habitats, conserve water and promote biodiversity.
The visit to the Domäne was the final Earth Day activity of the year.
Throughout the past month, Dr. Mirco Grimm, environmental engineer at DPW of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden gave lessons on environmental sustainment at the Wiesbaden Middle School. These lessons were supplemented by lessons from Dixon on the topics of sustainability, waste avoidance or recycling. At these sessions, the students also seeded wildflowers in recycled cups and designed pencil holders that are made from firewood and wood waste.
On April 21, one day before the official Earth Day, DPW-Environmental Division and Middle School set-up an information desk and an Upcycled Fashion Show at the Hainerberg Commissary and PX to celebrate Global Earth Day. The final highlight of the program was the school trip of about 35 students to the Domaine.