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NEWS | April 9, 2010

Randolph to stretch Earth Day into week's worth of 'green' activities

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

Thursday marks the 40th birthday of Earth Day, but the 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental office at Randolph has planned activities throughout the week to promote the wise use of natural resources and reuse of consumer products.

The base's recycling center, Bldg. 1139, will accept electronic waste - computers, cell phones, radios and other items - all week, and several events are scheduled, starting with the spreading of wildflower seeds by Randolph Elementary School second-graders Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. at Airman's Heritage Park.

"The environmental office celebrates Earth Day to educate people about the importance of protecting our environment and preserving our natural resources," said Verna Cyr, 902nd CES environmental scientist. "We hope to raise awareness of the impacts our day-to-day actions have on the environment and the steps we can take to minimize that impact. We want people to understand that the small things they can do, like turning off lights, walking instead of driving around base and using water wisely, can make a difference if we all do our part."

The spreading of wildflower seeds by Randolph second-graders is one of two events involving the base's young people. The other will take place April 23 at 4:30 p.m. when members of Cub Scout Pack 338, Webelos 1 Den and Boy Scout Troop 38 plant three Monterrey oak trees at the Boy Scout Hut on the east side of the base. Such activities help Randolph maintain its certification in the Tree City USA program, which is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation.

In addition, members of Webelos 1 Den will be making PVC fishing line containers for placement near Woman Hollering Creek on the south side of the base.

Katy Breyer, 902nd CES environmental engineer, said the containers will serve two purposes: protecting birds and animals that can become entangled in fishing line or even ingest it and recycling a product that is not biodegradable.

"Installing the fishing line recycling containers will allow us to keep it out of the water and off the ground, reducing the risk of injury or death to wildlife," she said. "The collected fishing line will be sent to a monofilament recycling center that will melt it down into raw plastic pellets that can be used to make other plastic products."

Ms. Cyr said the students' participation is an important component of Randolph's Earth Day observance.

"We like to get children involved because it's important to instill the mindset to conserve and protect early for future generations," she said.

For Earth Day Thursday, environmental office personnel will gather at a kiosk outside the new base exchange from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provide energy- and water-saving tips and information on their wide-ranging programs, from recycling and the proper management of hazardous materials to air and water quality. Brochures, fliers and other educational materials will be available.

City Public Service representatives will also participate in the event, handing out compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, which can be used to replace less-efficient incandescent light bulbs, and providing information on rebates for energy-saving products.

Tina Gumbs, 902nd CES recycling program manager, said consumers should follow the three Rs - reduce, reuse and recycle - in doing their part to protect the environment.

"Our primary efforts should be in minimizing waste by reducing what we are buying and to truly look at the product and its packaging," she said.

Ms. Gumbs said Randolph active-duty personnel and civilian employees can contribute to the recycling effort by "consistently using the office containers within their work center to deposit paper, plastic and aluminum and by placing corrugated cardboard in the nearly 40 containers throughout the base."

Ms. Cyr said every person can make an impact.

"Just do your part," she said. "All the little things make a difference."