USACE coordinates community clean-up on National Public Lands Day

| September 30, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Joseph Bonfiglio
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs 

Punahou High School JROTC students and friends clean the beach berm at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, during National Public Lands Day, Saturday. HONOLULU — More than 100 volunteers scoured Fort DeRussy and Kakaako Waterfront Parks, picking up trash for National Public Lands Day, Saturday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District coordinated the event, which was attended by Soldiers from the 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command; JROTC students from Punahou High School and other local schools; the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association-Hawaii Chapter; and Corps employees.

“I feel good about doing this,” said Lt. Col. Robert Takao, commander, Punahou High School JROTC. “Our program has been doing this for several years now. It’s a very worthwhile endeavor. This is about our future. It’s really our way of giving back to this great land and world that we live in.”

The morning started with about 20 students scrambling over rocks and climbing into crevices to clean up the beach berm.

“Our school is an environmentally-committed school, (so) this is a natural follow-up to make students aware of the practical applications,” Takao said.

To open the National Public Lands Day event, Lt. Col. Douglas Guttormsen, commander, USACE-HD, read a proclamation from President Barack Obama: 

“From majestic mountain ranges to beloved neighborhood parks, Americans enjoy the natural places our ancestors have celebrated and protected for centuries. Our public lands represent the American spirit and reflect our shared experience our history, our culture and our deep love for wild and beautiful places. 

“Every September, thousands of Americans volunteer their time and talents to protect our parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands. National Public Lands Day is an occasion to join together in honor of our nation’s unique natural treasures. 

“On this day of service and celebration, I encourage all Americans to give their time and energy to care for and to go out and enjoy our public lands. Together, we can build upon our history of stewardship, so our unique landscapes are preserved for countless generations to come.”

In 2009, approximately 150,000 volunteers nationwide pitched in to collect litter and debris, remove invasive plant species, plant trees and shrubs, build and improve trails, and participate in numerous other projects on public lands and waters. 

“It’s great to be part of a celebration of our public lands, particularly for (those of) us out here in Hawaii, who draw so much joy, entertainment and pleasure from all the great public lands we have here,” Guttormsen said. “It’s great for us to be able to give something back to (the lands). We’re very fortunate to have all the volunteers out here and to give something back.”

“We want to educate the public on the importance of preserving and improving our precious natural and cultural treasures,” said Angela Jones, park ranger, USACE Pacific Regional Visitor Center.

USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994, and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers nationwide, as it is the nation’s leading federal provider and manager of outdoor and water-based recreation.

Category: News, Sustainability

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