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NEWS | May 20, 2024

America's Army Reserve celebrates Earth Day across the nation

By Ashley Bradford Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (OCAR) and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) G-3/5/7 Engineers celebrated Earth Day with events at Fort Belvoir, VA and Fort Liberty, NC, respectively. The two events rolled up into a larger campaign of activities that celebrated the observance across the nation. Earth Day, held annually on 22 April, provides an opportunity for the Army Reserve to highlight the protection of training lands through environmental programs and promotes environmental stewardship to Soldiers, Civilian employees, and their Families.

“For more than 50 years, the Army has celebrated Earth Day,” explained Kelly Dreyer, who serves as the Army Reserve Environmental Quality Program Team Lead. “Our  environmental compliance and stewardship are critical to mission readiness, the protection of our training lands, the preservation of our natural resources, and recreational areas for our Soldiers and their Families. We love the opportunity to connect with those in our communities about why protecting the environment matters, and how they can help do their part.”

At OCAR, personnel gathered on 10 April to prepare the building's pollinator gardens for the summer. On 22 April, an educational table provided learning materials and great discussion on simple ways Soldiers and Civilian employees could do their part to be good stewards of training lands, conserve resources, and ultimately, protect the planet. Also on 10 April, the USARC G-3/5/7 Engineers Directorate hosted tables at Marshall Hall. Guest participants included the Fayetteville Public Works Commission and Sustainable Sandhills, a non-profit that creates resilient environmental, economic, and social resources for current and future generations in the Sandhills of North Carolina.

Additional educational events were held across the nation. The 99th RD celebrated Earth Day during Bring Your Child to Work Day 2024 at division headquarters on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. Activities included planting pollinator gardens, learning about energy and the environment, and viewing static aircraft displays. Recently designated as a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Foundation, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico sponsored numerous Earth Day activities. Festivities included an educational campaign with materials and tables throughout the Army Reserve-funded installation, an expo at Las Casas Lake, and a reforestation event. In Honolulu, HI, the 9th Mission Support Command continued the tradition of volunteering at the Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup. Their efforts provided support to the local community by picking up debris and trash along the bike path. At the 88th RD in Minnesota, personnel took a sweet approach to drawing in table visitors with custom Earth Day cupcakes donated by staff. In Grand Prairie, TX, the 63rd RD hosted a booth in the KIDZONE during Main Street Fest. The booth empowered kids with hands-on Earth Day activities.

“The Army Reserve prioritizes climate and sustainability when it comes to installation management,” added Dreyer. “But these can be initiatives in our personal lives and at home, too. From conserving energy and water, composting and recycling, protecting natural habitats and pollinators, and more. The connections and conversations at these events truly help drive culture change and ultimately behaviors that can make a real difference.”