By Pfc. Jacob MahaffeyApril 23, 2010
FORT DRUm, N.Y. - Fort Drum Soldiers, civilian employees and residents gathered April 13 on post to participate in the 2010 Earth Day Clean Up Your World event.
The event was designed to clean up Fort Drum with volunteers tackling different sections on post.
Groups went out and picked up as much litter as possible. At the end of the event, the groups weighed what they had collected, and they were awarded points based on the total weight of litter. Recyclables were worth double points. The group with the most points in each category received a trophy made of recycled materials and a tree will be planted in their honor.
Winners of the Soldier category and the overall leader in trash collected were members of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, with 2,911 pounds.
Staff Sgt. Dante S. Defoor, noncommissioned officer in charge of network support for HHT, 6-6 Cavalry, accepted the award on behalf of the unit.
"My first sergeant wanted me to get a team together for the event - we didn't know it was going to be a competition," Defoor said. "We went to the zone, beat through the brush and collected big items with a six-man team. One of our guys had a winch on his truck, and that helped us collect the big stuff.
"I'm glad I could help the Fort Drum community," he added.
The Kubasiak Family was named winner in the Individual / Family category.
The winner in the civilian group was the Inspector General's Office.
The total weight of trash removed from Fort Drum was 10,789.5 pounds.
Groups signed up at the Visitors Information Park to compete in the event. There were more than a dozen areas for groups to clean up. Everything was coordinated by the Natural Resources Branch of the Public Works.
"This year we wanted to try something different," said Jason Wagner, Natural Resources Branch chief. "We've done the Environment Fair for the last five years.
"We usually target Family Members for the fair; this year, we (were) going after Soldier and civilian groups," he added.
"This is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day," said Heather Wagner of Colorado State University's Center for Ecological Management of Military Lands. "Earth Day was founded to get people involved.
"The nice thing about this event is we're looking at a higher Soldier participation rate than at the fair," she said.
One participating group was from Child, Youth and School Services. The group consisted of school-age children and a chaperone. All of the children were doing their part to support Earth Day.
"My favorite part (of the event) is that making the earth clean makes it beautiful and fun to play in," said Weston Bernat, one of the group's members.
"Miss Sonia (Parker) said every day should be Earth Day," said Elizabeth Hanson, one of the children in the program.
Along with the Earth Day cleanup, the Natural Resources Branch staff held a tree-planting event.
"The 10300 area, just two years ago, was forestland. Now it's barracks, motor pools and headquarters," Jason Wagner said. "We've lost a lot of trees to new construction. So we're putting trees out there so the Soldiers have a nice place to live."