9th MSC, NFL team-up conservation efforts

| April 21, 2016 | 0 Comments
Soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command in Hawaii lend their hands and their shovels to plant trees at the National Football League Tree Planting Event (Photo courtesy of 9th MSC Directorate of Public Works)

Soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command in Hawaii lend their hands and their shovels to plant trees at the National Football League Tree Planting Event (Photo courtesy of 9th MSC Directorate of Public Works)

FORT SHAFTER FLATS — Hawaii, home to the U.S. Army Reserve’s 9th Mission Support Command, is also home to some of the world’s most critical and biologically diverse ecosystems.

However, these unique environments are also delicate, requiring protection to ensure their futures.

The 9th MSC is committed to resource stewardship on its islands, and it recently cultivated its efforts with some help from a rather unusual partner – the National Football League.

Soldiers and volunteers from the 9th MSC joined forces with students from Pu’ohala Elementary School and former NFL guard Jesse Sapolu to install trees and plants as part of the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl Tree Planting.

Joint effort
At the event, Soldiers and civilians planted 30 trees. Some were food trees, such as banana, coconut and ‘ulu, which is also known as breadfruit. Other trees were native Hawaiian trees, such as manele, hala and ‘ohai’a lehua.

Volunteers also assisted Pu’ohala Elementary School students with planting food plants and medicinal flowering plants in front of their classrooms. The students will be involved in the care and harvest of the plants, and they will use the flowers to create traditional Hawaiian lei.

(Left to Right) 9th Mission Support Command Environmental Protection Specialist Marybeth Racette, former National Football League Pro-Bowl star Jesse Sapolu, and 9th MSC Energy Coordinator Christina Vicari share a moment at the 9th MSC's NFL Tree Planting (Photo courtesy of 9th MSC Directorate of Public Works)

(Left to Right) 9th Mission Support Command Environmental Protection Specialist Marybeth Racette, former National Football League Pro-Bowl star Jesse Sapolu, and 9th MSC Energy Coordinator Christina Vicari share a moment at the 9th MSC’s NFL Tree Planting (Photo courtesy of 9th MSC Directorate of Public Works)

Marybeth Racette, an environmental protection specialist contractor with the 9th MSC’s Directorate of Public Works, said that they have participated in the NFL Pro Bowl Tree Planting for several years and that community interest has been consistently growing. Partnerships with community agencies, such as Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program and Friends of Hawaii’s Urban Forests, have also led to the success.

The participants were especially pleased to work with special guests, including 9th MSC Commander Brig. Gen. Stephen Curda and Theater Support Group-Pacific (TSG-P) Commander Col. Twanda Young and Sapolu.

The commanders’ participation was “a testament to the unwavering support for the environmental mission that we enjoy in Hawaii,” said Wayne Mitsko, TSG-P Environmental Division chief.

Sapolu, who spent much of his youth on the island of Oahu, was also a welcome contributor to the efforts. One of only six San Francisco football players to earn four Super Bowl rings, Sapolu played his entire career with the San Francisco 49ers from 1983 to 1997. He was selected for the prestigious Pro Bowl in 1993 and 1994.

Racette said that Sapolu engaged the “keiki” (Hawaiian for “children”) about “how we must learn to be good to Mother Earth because she provides us with everything we need to survive.”

“The event enlightened our Soldiers, as well as their families, on the importance of how planting trees and gardens can provide a sustainable environment,” Racette remarked. “And the interaction with the children gave the Soldiers a chance to show how the Army Reserve cares for the communities we live in.”

The NFL Pro Bowl Tree Planting is part of the league’s a broader initiative to reduce the climate impacts of the Pro Bowl, which was held this year in Honolulu.

The NFL Pro Bowl Tree Planting is just one of numerous events and initiatives developed each year by the NFL to leave a positive legacy.

More Online
Learn more about the Army Reserve’s sustainability and environmental quality programs. Like the Reserves on Facebook at www.facebook.com/US ARSustainability, follow on Twitter@USARGoGreen and visit usarsustainability.com and www.usar.army.mil

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Category: Community, Sustainability

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