By Shannon Bishop
USAG Public Affairs
Fort Detrick celebrated Earth Day with food, fun, games and the planting of an American Chestnut tree at the Community Activities Center, April 5.
Earth Day began April 22, 1970, when former senator Gaylord Nelson of Wis. called for an environmental teach-in, and it is commonly known as the "modern environmental movement."
Colonel Allan J. Darden, Sr., U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick commander, thoroughly enjoyed riling up the children attending the event. Darden encouraged the boys and girls from Fort Detrick's Child, Youth and School Services to scream "Earth Day" as loud as they could, before explaining the importance of the day's events to them.
Prior to the planting of the Chestnut tree, the proclamation for Earth Day was read, and it stated that "Fort Detrick will continue to be a good steward by protecting and conserving our natural resources."
The American Chestnut Foundation has partnered with Fort Detrick in its efforts to bring back the American Chestnut Tree. The trees being planted are in the process of being tested for blight resistance. In an effort to clean up the environment, the Fort Detrick community has planted acres of young forestation in Area B.
Anyone who attended the Earth Day activities had the opportunity to participate in the planting of the trees. "[My team of environmentalists] are trying to help Fort Detrick and the community ensure that we have clean water, clean air and a clean ground," Darden said. "That's powerful."
Among the distinguished guests attending the event was Frederick mayor Randy McClement. "We live in the mindset of creating and keeping a healthy environment, not only for today's generations, but future generations," said McClement.
"We have one Earth, we need to keep it so we can live on it; we can't just live for today -- we need to think about our future generations."
In addition to the fun and games, Fort Detrick participated in the Community Shred and Recycling Drive as part of Earth Day. The Community Shred program provides an opportunity to clear out the clutter of old documents while protecting one's identity. It also helps the environment by recycling unneeded paper.
The community members were excited that the Home Electronics Recycling Drive was free this year. Items such as keyboards, speakers, cell phones, DVD players, monitors and printers were collected in order to dispose of these properly. The team from AdVentures with Raptors displayed one of the world's largest owls, the Eurasian Eagle Owl. Other vendors included e-end, Earth Share, and the Fort Detrick Recycling Center.