By Steve Kotecki
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — How many trees are on Peterson Air Force Base? Stop and think about it for a second. Is it a surprise that there are just under 10,000 trees around base?
Arbor Day is officially the last Friday in April, but here at Peterson AFB it’s observed a little later in the year. Children from the Peterson AFB Child and Youth Program gathered outside the STARBASE alongside Col. Eric Dorminey, 21st Space Wing vice commander, and Mr. Andy Schlosberg from the Colorado Forest Service, to plant two trees in observance of Arbor Day. Peterson AFB is also named Tree City USA for the 23rd year in a row on June 20, 2017.
The first Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Since then it has grown into a world-wide observance with over 40 countries participating in some kind of tree planting activity.
“Planting trees and being a part of Tree City is important because this is a community and having trees is an investment in the future,” said Schlosberg. “Arbor day is a celebration of what hasn’t come yet.”
Peterson AFB was named a Tree City USA in 1994 for the commitment the base has to planting trees and keeping it green.
The requirements for being named are; the base must have a Tree Board or Tree Department with the base civil engineering squadron acting as a forester, a tree ordinance must be included in the general base plan, and a budget of a minimum of $2 per capita based on the population of the community. Peterson AFB spent $10.33 per person in 2016.
Also in attendance was Paul Poppert, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron landscape architect. Poppert’s job on base is to look after and tend to the needs of the trees on base, in addition to keeping everything else green.
“We have around 9,750 trees on base that we keep track of, there’s more here than you would think,” said Poppert.
Poppert went on to add that the trees are beneficial to Peterson AFB for a number of reasons for example reducing wind and heat islands across the base.
During his remarks at the ceremony Dorminey urged everyone to take some time and appreciate the trees for everything they provide us, and maybe to plant some of their own off base as well and enjoy the extra oxygen, especially here.