Chris Dobony
Fort Drum, N.Y., wildlife biologist Chris Dobony inspects a bat captured during a mist net survey of the bat house in the LeRay Mansion Historic District on post. The Fish and Wildlife Program at Fort Drum are integral partners in ongoing research on... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 9, 2011) -- Five installations, one organization, two teams, and one individual have been named recipients of the Secretary of the Army Environmental awards for their achievements in 2010.

Winning accomplishments include the implementation of innovative research and development, environmental cost avoidance, habitat restoration, endangered species protection, identification and management of significant cultural resources, waste diversion and green procurement.

"We need to focus on managing the resources we have at our disposal," said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army, Installations, Energy and Environment. "These winning nominations translate into Army best practices. We are managing cultural and natural resources appropriately; reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling; and doing what it takes to make our Army sustainable."


At Fort Drum, N.Y, 16 biologists, botanists and foresters helped the installation win the natural resources conservation award for a large Installation.

"I'm very proud of what our team has accomplished," said Jim Miller, chief of Fort Drum Public Works' environmental division, which oversees the natural resources branch. "I'm especially honored to be selected for such a prestigious award that is more often than not won by installations with much larger staffs and budgets."

One program at Fort Drum that contributed to the installation's win is the forest management program, which handles everything related to trees.

The forestry team there is responsible for more than 70,000 acres of forestland on Fort Drum. They thin forests for mission requests, plant hundreds of trees elsewhere, harvest up to 2,000 acres of maple, cherry and pine every year through a commercial venture based on bidding and hold the distinction as the only established maple-syrup processor in the Department of Defense.

The Fish and Wildlife Program also contributed to the win at Fort Drum. They examine all living species on post and work alongside forestry and wetlands experts to create habitats for various fish and wildlife. Their most focused work right now is on the endangered Indiana bat.

Jason E. Wagner, Fort Drum Natural Resources Branch chief, said a popular hybernaculum, or bat cave, is located on the Black River just outside of Watertown, N.Y. In mid-April, after wintering in the cave, the bats disperse into forests throughout Jefferson County.

Because a maternity colony for the Indiana bat exists in a set of trees on North Post, Wagner said unless health and human safety are at risk, no tree has been cut down on Fort Drum between April 15 and Oct. 1, in several years.

"The bat's claim to fame is they eat a lot of insects," Wagner said. "They're not like the cute and cuddly (endangered) panda bears."


At Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa., environmental workers there helped the installation win the environmental quality award for an industrial installation.

"We have a dedicated group of people who do a great job of insuring compliance and assisting in the mission areas," said Russel Dunkelberger, chief, environmental management division. "We also work closely with the personnel in the Public Works Directorate to accomplish our goals."

The depot boasts 11 environmental professionals and five supporting staff members who work to improve program management, including recycling; energy conservation, efficiency and recovery; sustainable building design and Lean manufacturing processes.

Tobyhanna's initiatives include recycling about 5.7 million pounds of non-construction debris annually, resulting in an average annual sales of $1.3 million. Depot and tenant organizations participate in the recycling program.

The depot also uses green roof projects and other initiatives to improve quality of life and working environment issues.

In addition, a new energy recovery effort there will use new technology to reduce natural gas consumption. Equipment being used on a new conveyor painting operation will capture the heat energy of exhausted air and use it to preheat the incoming raw outdoor air, according to Dunkelberger.


Down in Texas, Chantal McKenzie won the individual cultural resources award for the Texas Army National Guard. She said she was excited about the win.

Over the past year, Chantal oversaw several major projects critical to the Texas National Guard training mission; among other efforts, she has obtained clearances for a number of large-scale construction projects, supervised rehabilitations on three historic buildings, and initiated efforts to combine historic building preservation with sustainable, LEED-certified renovation.


On the other side of the nation, Joint Base-Lewis McChord, Wash., was winner of the sustainability award for a non-industrial installation. Six teams there claim responsibility for the installation's win. Paul Steucke, chief of the environmental division at JBLM, said he expects the efforts at McChord to continue.

"The goals already achieved and the goals yet to be reached promise a more sustainable, livable, and mission capable installation in the coming years," said Steucke. "Because of the strength of leaders, the dedication of the Installation Sustainability Program Teams, and the support of our neighbors and community members, we anticipate continued innovation and progress in the sustainable development of Joint Base Lewis-McChord."

The awards represent the highest honor in the field of environmental science and sustainability conferred by the Army. Award winners will go on to compete for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards later this year. The FY 2010 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards winners include:

- Fort Drum, N.Y. - Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation

- Fort Bliss, Texas - Cultural Resources Management, Installation

- Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa. - Environmental Quality, Industrial Installation

- U.S. Army Garrison - Grafenwoehr, Germany - Environmental Quality, Overseas Installation

- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - Sustainability, Non-industrial Installation

- Manning Point (Jago River) FUDS Team, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District - Environmental Restoration, Installation

- Chantal McKenzie, Texas Army National Guard - Cultural Resources Management, Individual

- Army Air Force Exchange System Sustainability Team, Dallas, Texas - Sustainability, Team

- Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Environmental Excellence in Weapon Acquisition, Small Program

"I challenge all those not recognized in this year's environmental awards program to learn from what's highlighted in these nominations, to put these best practices into use in their own activities, and to share these stories and their own success stories with others," said Hammack. "Together we can have a significant impact on sustaining Army lands and supporting training and testing capabilities responsibly now and in the future."

Related Links: Environment News

STAND-TO!: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment