SAN ANTONIO, Texas - At a recent groundbreaking ceremony, two commanders came together at Fort Sam Houston to dedicate a tree to symbolize the movement of their commands from the east coast to Texas.

The commanding general of the Installation Management Command Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola hosted key members of the San Antonio community, including mayor pro temp and District 10 councilman Mr. John Clamp and president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Richard Perez, in commemorating IMCOM's groundbreaking at Fort Sam Houston.

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the future site of IMCOM headquarters as well as its subordinate commands, the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command and the U.S. Army Environmental Command. These respective moves from Virginia and Maryland to Fort Sam Houston are the result of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decisions.

Other guests at Monday's groundbreaking ceremony included distinguished visitors Mr. Louis Stumberg, civilian aide emeritus to the Secretary of the Army; Mr. and Mrs. Bill Shine, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army; Lt. Gen. and Mrs. Guy Swan, commanding general of U.S. Army North; Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Russell Czerw, commanding general of the Army Medical Department Center and School; and Col. Mary E. Garr, garrison commander of Fort Sam Houston.

In honor of Earth Day, Col. Maria R. Gervais, commander of USAEC, presented Lt. Gen. Lynch with a crepe myrtle tree to be planted on the grounds of IMCOM's new headquarters. The crepe myrtle grows in Virginia, the current location of IMCOM and the FMWRC; thrives in Maryland, USAEC's home for the past 38 years; flourishes in San Antonio and represents the installation management community's commitment to sinking its new roots at Fort Sam Houston.

More importantly the crepe myrtle represents the Army's commitment to environmental stewardship. The future home of IMCOM headquarters will incorporate current environmental practices and support the Army's strategy for the sustaining the environment.

All renovated historic buildings and new construction will be LEED silver certified, a national benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. All construction will meet a 30-percent reduction over American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning standards for green building design.

Microparks will be landscaped between the buildings with Texas vegetation local to the San Antonio river basin such as lantana, cactus, desert palms and native live oaks. Buildings in the center of the campus will include a rainwater capture system that will feed a 15,000-gallon underground cistern which, in turn, will feed a drip-irrigation system incorporated into the native Texas low-water landscaping.

A second water conservation effort includes the installation of waterless urinals. The buildings will save on electricity by capitalizing on the historic structures use of natural light.

Lynch emphasized the command's commitment to long term environmental sustainability when he said "IMCOM celebrates its commitment to environmental stewardship not only on Earth Day but every day. Along with USAEC, we will continue to enhance installation readiness through environmental sustainability for our Soldiers and their Families."

Earth Day began April 22, 1970, and the Army has joined the campaign every year since then. The idea was spearheaded by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin. The campaign for Earth Day began as a grassroots effort to teach environmental stewardship, create awareness of the environment's fragility and ultimately thrust that awareness into the mainstream of American society. The campaign caught on quickly and evolved into Earth Day, now celebrated each year on April 22.

The Army's Earth Day theme, "Transforming the Army...Sustaining the Environment," reflects its commitment to meet the current and future needs of Soldiers, their Families and the nation through the sound stewardship of environmental resources.

The U.S. Army celebrates Earth Day at numerous installations, major commands and organizations in the continental U.S. and around the world. Army events vary from Earth Day fairs with educational exhibits, to tree plantings, to other initiatives that help sustain installation operations."