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NSWC Carderock celebrates Earth Day with base-wide events

By Katie Ellis-Warfield, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs | April 25, 2016

WEST BETHESDA, Md. —

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) celebrated Earth Day with various base-wide events focusing on protecting natural resources, April 19 in West Bethesda, Maryland.

 

Festivities kicked off with a 2.4 mile fun run around the base led by NSWCCD Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Blank and Environmental Engineer Mike Phillips.

 

“Every year it is a challenge to create events that will entice dedicated Carderock employees away from their daily work so we can educate them about conservation and carry out projects that benefit our environment,” Phillips said. “While we have some success doing that each year, including this year, I still hope to create future events that reach further toward those goals.”

 

Along the route were several points of interest including solar arrays installed on the roofs of various buildings around the base providing green energy, multiple wetland areas and a former tree-planting site past Building 18. Phillips said that the trees were planted for Earth Day roughly 15 years ago. “The project removed from maintenance an area between the road and the existing forest. They were only about 18 inches tall when they were planted, but now they are about 20 feet tall and nearly integrated with the adjacent forest.”

 

The afternoon included an environmental open house and food truck picnic. Carderock employees enjoyed various lunch options from six local food trucks. “Two years ago, Mike [Phillips] pioneered the idea of having food trucks on base for Earth Day, it was a big success and continues to be very popular with employees,” said NSWCCD Environmental Branch Head Joe Barger.

 

Representatives from the Environmental Office along with Naval Facilities Engineering Command Environmental Program, Melwood Recycling and Montgomery County Recycling were on hand during the open house for employees to talk to and learn about their programs. Water bottles and evergreen saplings were given out as well as spill kits for those employees who work in codes dealing with hazardous materials.

 

“I think the Earth Day celebration at Carderock was the best ever, the turnout for the events (fun run, tree planting, food trucks and informational open house) was very good and the weather was ideal,” Barger said.

 

After the open house, volunteers planted six red maple trees along the southern edge of the parade ground across from Building 60. Barger said that red maples were selected because they are native to this area, and because they are hardy and tend to thrive in moist soil with direct sunlight, which is why they were in that particular location on base.

 

“Red maples were also desirable because they will add some fall color along the edge of the field,” Phillips said. “We sought the largest trees we could plant manually to minimize their vulnerability to browsing deer.”

 

Phillips said that the most important thing every employee can do is remember that the ideals promoted on Earth Day must be implemented every day of the year for them to be effective.“Culturally, conservation must become something we do when at work, home, the store or wherever we go. There are plenty of opportunities to be proactive and promote changes to reduce our impact.”

 

“We should all view every day as an opportunity to promote Earth Day,” Barger said. Some examples he gave were to be conscious of pollution prevention and energy conservation; recycle both at work and at home; only purchase what is absolutely necessary in order to reduce waste; turn off computers, lights and appliances when not in use; use mass transportation and walk or ride bikes wherever practical; always buy environmentally friendly products (e.g., green products in environmentally friendly packaging); use reusable water bottles with filtered tap water instead of buying bottled water; and be conscious about heating and cooling settings. “These measures will not only save the environment, they will also save us money,” Barger said.