A half dozen organizations gathered in the lobby of the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Community Center April 25 for the observance of Earth Day. The event, organized by the JBM-HH Directorate of Environmental Management, included tables set up by DEM, the Virginia Cooperative Extension master gardeners program, the JBM-HH Directorate of Public Works entomology and energy branches, as well as the Arlington Tree Stewards.

The event attracted Soldiers and Marines who sauntered by after eating at the nearby dining facility and by various honor guard personnel who visit the community center between details in Arlington National Cemetery.

Bill Lucas, DPW's energy manager, showcased alternative energy sources at his table and touted environmentally-friendly policies the base is pursuing.

Senior Airman Andrew Bary, a member of the Air Force Honor Guard, was intrigued by information at Lucas's table describing how planting certain vegetation can help purify the air. He explained that his child has allergies and that selective planting could help alleviate her condition.

Master Sgt. Laura Lineberger, who works in the U.S. Army Band music library, picked up several freebies at the event -- some pencils from the DEM table and seed packets from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Lineberger said she was at the VCE table looking at various landscaping plans, information she hopes to put to use to beautify the grounds of a Germantown church she's active at.

Handing out seed packets, VCE's Kristen Conrad Buhls educated community members about the proclivities of vegetable, herb or flowering bush packets they chose, letting budding gardeners know if something needed extra water or preferred a shady growing spot. VCE is a state educational cooperative that helped JBM-HH choose native, low-maintenance plants when it developed a sustainable park on base. It also assisted the installation with a tree survey last year.

"It was a nice collective gathering of organizations dedicated to improving the environment, said Wanda Gooden, stormwater program manager for DEM, describing the event.