JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, involved roughly 20 million Americans and is widely credited with starting the modern environmental movement. Twenty years later, 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day, bringing environmental issues to light on a global scale.
In observance of Earth Day, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, hosted its annual Earth Week with various activities to promote environmental stewardship and preserve natural areas of the installation.
Fort Eustis’ activities included a cleanup of the Warwick Pier picnic area, shoreline plantings, wildlife boat tours and a box-turtle survey.
“The installation has set-up events geared toward something people can accomplish while here every day,” said Donald Johnson, 733rd Civil Engineer Division Activity Environmental Management Program manager. “We want to bring awareness to the natural habitat and resources, and explain their importance. Earth Day affords all who work and play on Ft. Eustis the opportunity to assist our efforts in sustainability.”
The Warwick Pier picnic area cleanup involved preserving one of Ft. Eustis’ Civil War earthworks, the Magruder Defense Line. The line was a fighting position used by Confederate Soldiers to prevent Fort Monroe’s Union Soldiers from crossing the Warwick River. Over time, the earthwork has eroded. To preserve the shoreline, volunteers placed sandbags, topsoil, mulch and grass seed around the area.
Monica Barnes, James River Reserve Fleet Maritime Administration program support assistant, helped with raking and seeding at Magruder Defense Line. Barnes has volunteered for Ft. Eustis’ Earth Week for 10 years and her entire office takes turns volunteering throughout the week.
“It’s a great opportunity to care for our environment,” said Barnes. “It’s important to take steps to preserve it now, because doing nothing won’t help us in the future.”
Earth Week events on Langley Air Force Base included a rain-barrel workshop, tree planting, nature trail maintenance, and invasive species and debris removal.
“Since the first earth week in 1970, the quality of both air and water in our nation has improved dramatically,” said Ronald Best, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron pollution prevention manager. “By celebrating earth week each year, we recommit ourselves to protecting the resources of our nation for future generations. These activities empower both the military and civilian community to take achievable steps to protect the natural resources we all depend on.
For more information on these and other environmental practices, contact the Environmental Management Office on Ft. Eustis at 878-7380, and on Langley AFB at 764-3906.