Last winter, with most of the Army's European-based garrisons facing rising utility costs and possible fuel shortages, the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Energy Management Program team at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach was tasked with finding ways to reduce heating usage. After working with local utility providers and DPW's in-house heating technicians to identify possible solutions, the team found that more still needed to be done.
During the quarterly Environmental Quality Control Committee meeting, the Garrison Commander, Colonel Aaron Dixon, suggested the creation of posters for an energy conservation campaign, similar to the artwork produced during World War II (WWII) like the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" or the U.S. Navy's "Loose lips sink ships" campaign.
The DPW team was quick to jump into planning; however, a key ingredient was missing from this awareness campaign: artists. With the staff made up of mostly engineering types with proficiency in technical fields, the Energy Management team knew it would need help creating compelling artwork from outside the department that would lead to an effective campaign.
Now tasked with finding more creative minds, the team looked toward a place filled with budding artists: the Ansbach Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. Luckily, DPW already had a great supporter of the Energy Management Program at the Ansbach schools: Margaret Schuck, a teacher of the middle school's science and high school's engineering classes at the time.
During the 2022-2023 school year, the DPW team presented energy-related topics paralleling the classes' curriculum. They even assisted with preparing for the school's robotics team's annual competition. So when the DPW team was recruiting artists for the energy awareness campaign, three high school engineering students eagerly stepped up.
Armed with the Garrison Commander's vision, information on the energy conservation program concepts, and a few of the previously mentioned WWII-era posters as inspiration, students Tovi Flynn, Waverly Tanouye, and Zola Carbone got to work.
Inspired by the early 20th-century era of comic books, the students developed an original superhero to inform the community about the Energy Management Program and promote essential messages about energy conservation to community members of all ages. Since superheroes are usually popular with kids and nostalgic adults excited to see their favorite characters on the silver screen, the students thought this concept would appeal to the Ansbach community.
Not only did the students come up with a great concept, but the artwork produced was beautifully done. With the students' colorful and thoughtfully crafted graphics, the energy conservation ideas now leap off the page to motivate others to spring into (energy) action.
"We merged our three ideas into a design that is appealing yet clearly shows the energy concept," said Ansbach Middle High School senior Waverly Tanouye. "We designed our Energy Action Hero using red and blue to represent electrical wires, lightning bolts on her headband, and solar panels on her cape to represent clean energy."
Instead of just telling people to lower their radiators, we now see our hero taking action by triumphantly turning a valve, a la Superman, flying around the globe to reverse time. The students incorporated other energy action tips into their posters, including contacting Army Maintenance for malfunctioning appliances, posted throughout the garrison to encourage action by the community.
"I think it's cool something we worked hard on for a grade is out there around the base for the whole community to see," said Zola Carbone, a senior at Ansbach Middle High School. "Even if we're not here anymore [because of graduation], our art is still here and being integrated into the designs of the younger kids."
October is Energy Action Month, and once again, the DPW Energy Management team is looking to expand upon the "Be An Energy Action Hero" campaign by asking for the help of its creative community members.
"This project ties in well with our sixth-eighth grade classes which are focused on problem-based learning, which takes real-world problems and finds creative ways to solve them, and the collaboration with DPW is a perfect example of that," said David Popielski, Ansbach Middle High School Principal. "The students can use their voice and choose creative ways of addressing the problems, share them with the community, and get the younger kids involved as well."
If you are a USAG Ansbach student in kindergarten through eighth grade, then DPW is asking you to put your artistic talents to use and design a poster that will illustrate our hero performing an energy action. Prizes will be awarded to the best submissions, and entries will be accepted until Monday, November 13th.
For more information and official rules, please contact the DPW Energy Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The original Energy Action Hero artwork from last year and any new contest winners will be displayed throughout the garrison during Energy Action Month and the rest of the year.
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach military community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim. Today, Ansbach is home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the community's largest tenant unit, as well as the 7th Engineer Brigade, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The garrison takes pride in supporting more than 10,000 Soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees working and living in the Ansbach area.
For more news from U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, visit: https://www.army.mil/FranconianNews or https://www.facebook.com/usagansbachcommunity/