MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
All year round, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s environmental affairs department works hard to reduce the impact of military operations on the local environment. April 22 marked Earth Day and within the past week, Earth Day brought even more opportunities for volunteers to learn about the environment and protect nature alongside the EAD.
During Earth Week, volunteers cleaned up trash, took nature hikes, and raised awareness for Earth Day by running the Earth Day five-kilometer run.
The Earth’s cleanliness relies upon people to maintain and preserve a healthy and clean environment. Many people are unaware of what they can do to help the environment, and Earth Day gives people a chance to learn how to help, said Lissa K. Grimes, a U.S. Conservation Law Enforcement Officer aboard Cherry Point.
“Protecting natural resources leaves them available for future generations to enjoy,” said Grimes.
April 20 volunteers focused on cleaning up litter that had accumulated around the air station. Armed with plastic gloves and mechanical claws, they picked up wind-blown plastic bags, discarded fast food carry-outs and beer cans. While the volunteers were cleaning Ordnance Point, they found a small turtle crawling through the grass, illustrating the need to keep the air station clean.
“I volunteered because it’s helping the environment,” said Lance Cpl. Brianna M. Register, an aviation supply specialist for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14. “It is a great opportunity to get volunteer work done. The sergeant major from my command wants us to help the community and volunteer. Also, we need to protect the animals and keep the Earth clean for those that come after us.”
Two biology instructors at Craven Community College took volunteers on a walk down the bike trails of the Piranha Pit April 21. During the walk, they answered volunteers’ questions about nature and the environments of North Carolina and Cherry Point. They provided a wealth of information by catching animals and explaining how each one survives in their ecological niches.
Will M. Wallin, a physical-environmental scientist for the EAD said that the more aware people are of the problems facing the environment, the better the people will be able to take care of the environment. He also said that the problems are of prime importance, because they affect the air we breathe and water we drink.
On Earth Day, April 22, several hundred people gathered together at the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard and Slocum Road for a five-kilometer run. The run was an educational experience as well, where displays about bio-diesel engines and the importance of healthy estuaries in North Carolina educated runners prior to starting.
After the run, EAD operations returned to normal. They continue to work for a more cost effective and cleaner air station. By making environmental friendliness a community effort, Earth Day allows everyone to get involved in environmental action for a better future.
“I believe while the environmental affairs departments is there to assist the Marine Corps in environmental awareness and action, it’s everybody’s job to assist in keeping the environment clean for all of the future generations,” said Jeffrey K. Christopher, a supervisor and environmental engineer for the EAD. “We should leave it better than how we received it.”