Fort Rucker and surrounding communities join together April 22 to celebrate Earth Day, raising awareness for conservation and recycling.

Earth Day gives people who have not taken part in recycling and helping the environment the opportunity to make changes to their lives and their community, according to the U.S. Army Environmental Command.

"Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future; Net Zero 2011," is the Army's theme for Earth Day.

At Fort Rucker, two pieces of land have been preserved for the "Going Wild" program, which uphold the saying, "Make Every Day, Earth Day."

"The 'Going Wild' program, which allows land to revert back to its natural state, is the best thing to do for the parcels of land at Fort Rucker that play no major role in training," said Doug Watkins, Directorate of Public Works environmental and natural resources ergonomist. "This program has all the benefits and values needed to enhance natural resources, wildlife, save soil and make a better environment."

"Apple, pear and plum trees, blueberry bushes and wildflowers are planted throughout the plot," continued Watkins. "All of which are beneficial to the wildlife that grow and evolve. The land will eventually become a living food plot, nesting for turkeys and a nursery area for fawning."

Army Earth Day exemplifies a daily commitment to the stewardship of the public resources entrusted to military care and as a worldwide event. It represents the commitment of the U.S. and other countries to environmental security, according to the U.S. Army Environmental Command.

Active-duty military, civilian personnel, Families and local community members contribute significantly to the impact of the event.

The global campaign for Earth Day is "A Billion Acts of Green" the largest environmental service campaign in the world, according to the U.S. Earth Day Network.

"A Billion Acts of Green" inspires and rewards both individuals and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emission and supporting sustainability. It is steadily building commitments by individuals, organizations, corporations and governments in honor of Earth Day.

The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the global Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012.

Individuals can participate in local programs such as volunteering in an Earth Day walk, bike or run and donate the proceeds to a "green" charity, organize recycling bins, participate in a neighborhood clean-up or set up an Earth Day booth to distribute information.

One of the easiest ways to celebrate Earth Day year round is by recycling, said according to the U.S. Earth Day Network. Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at and learn the benefits of recycling and steps to recycling a product.

For more than 40 years, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate a commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.
The Earth Day year-round mission is to "broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide," according to the U.S. Earth Day Network.