SB, IPC Earth Day celebrates wonders of the planet

| April 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
Randy Liu, general manager of Performance Landscapes, which provides installation and maintenance of green spaces for IPC, helps children visiting his booth to plant edible greens using soil and seeds from a musclun mix at the Earth Day Festival, April 20. The children gathered soil into individual pots they could take home to water.

Randy Liu, general manager of Performance Landscapes, which provides installation and maintenance of green spaces for IPC, helps children visiting his booth to plant edible greens using soil and seeds from a musclun mix at the Earth Day Festival, April 20. The children gathered soil into individual pots they could take home to water.

Story and photos by
Christine Cabalo
Staff Writer
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Crowds discovered the beauty in nature during the 8th Annual Earth Day Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, here, April 20.

Several U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii directorates and affiliated community organizations were at the festival to celebrate taking care of the earth.

Each booth at the fair focused on a specific way to reduce waste or protect the environment. Children took on the Earth Day Passport Challenge to see all of the festival’s booths, earning prizes provided by Island Palm Communities.
“They can take home a shower timer, water bottle or no-battery hand crank flashlight,” said Jessica Wheaton, a development projects coordinator with IPC. “There are eight booths to visit.”

Wheaton handed out the prizes and helped children understand the importance of smart energy use at her demo booth. Offering a helping hand, she assisted children onto a bicycle generator requiring riders to pedal at a brisk pace to get an attached light bulb to glow.

Teaching tools
Attendees also learned about conservation through art.
Banners with SYNERGY mascots depicted how to use resources wisely at military communities. Winning student artists for the SYNERGY art calendar contest displayed their entries during the fair.

Visual displays helped educate and bring up discussions with officials who work with the environment.

Attendees took a close-up look at the exhibited invasive animals turned into or captured by the State of Hawaii’s Quarantine Branch. The agricultural inspectors talked about why specific foreign animals, like the gold dust gecko or the giant day gecko, were dangerous.

“The giant day gecko on display at the fair was illegally here as someone’s pet,” said Trenton Yasui, an agricultural inspector with the State of Hawaii. “Then the lizards were released.

160420-D-RT812-014These can grow as big as one foot long, and as reptiles they can carry salmonella and have teeth. They can bite someone’s fingers, severely injuring someone, especially a small child. They also compete with native birds for food.”

Yasui spoke to adults and children about the importance of knowing what animals are allowed into the state. Those species of lizards and snakes are not permitted.

He also encouraged those visiting his booth to  think about plants and the need to avoid transporting native Ohia plants from the Big Island due to an infection of the trees in the area.

He said attendees can help ensure the disease is contained in this way, since native Ohia make up 80 percent of native Hawaiian forests.

The festival featured how different government agencies, including several within U.S. Army Hawaii, assist in protecting Hawaii’s land and unique animals.

160420-D-RT812-040Army leadership
Attendees learned about an endangered bird, Oahu elepaio, at the booth run by the Oahu Army Natural Resource Program.

The bird species is found only on Oahu and in the mountains near Schofield Barracks. The OANRP staff talked about volunteer opportunities to go into the forest and ran a quiz where children became birdwatchers.

“After talking about the different ways to help take care of elepaio, children could add a leaf to our tree display pledging to do different things to protect the forest and birds,” said Kim 160420-D-RT812-028Welch, an environmental outreach specialist with OANRP.

Other free activities at the festival were offered by several sections of the Directorate of Public Works. The DPW Environmental Division helped sew reusable bags from T-shirts and offered other sustainable crafts. The DPW representatives brought a 3-D stormwater model and bottle toss game made from recyclables.

Children could also try out being an archaeologist who helps protect and study the land at the USAG-HI’s Cultural Resources Program booth. Students studied pictures of real life stone carvings from ancient Hawaiian settlements now under the Army’s protection.

160420-D-RT812-112“They can draw a petroglyph, which can be hard to see,” said Jaime Raduenzel, an outreach specialist with the program. “It can be hard to identify. As archaeologists, we document what we see. It’s a great activity for (children) to draw play archaeologists for the day.”

The program staffers showed adults and children to look for red and gold Seibert Stakes, warning stakes that mark off-limits areas. Raduenzel spoke about several ways the Army helps ensure Cultural Resources still exist for future generations.

“The Army (is a) responsible cultural steward,” she said. “They’re keeping these areas protected while still keeping up the mission.”

Loving the Earth
To learn more about Army programs for sustainability, visit www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sustainability/NaturalRe sources.aspx.

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Installation Management Command, Sustainability

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