Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Peterson encourages environmental stewardship, spotlights Arbor Day

By the 21st Space Wing Civil Engineering Squadron Asset Management Flight

Peterson Air Force Base will observe Arbor Day May 01, 2009 at the West Gate Visitors Center, emphasizing the importance trees play in daily lives. Preschoolers from the Child Development Center will assist in the planting of three Ponderosa Pines.

Arbor Day originated in the mid 1800s when pioneers moved into the Nebraska territory and found few trees on the plains. They needed trees as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, along with shade from the hot sun. J. Sterling Morton, editor of the first Nebraska newspaper, advocated tree planting by individuals and civic groups in many of his articles and editorials. On Jan. 4, 1872, Mr. Morton proposed an official tree-planting holiday called “Arbor Day.” The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

Continuing in that tradition, the National Arbor Day Foundation was established in 1972. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tree planting and environmental stewardship. Tree City USA is one of the foundation’s most popular programs and encourages communities to care for existing trees, plant new trees, and to annually hold an Arbor Day observance.

During Arbor Day, Peterson will be awarded the designation of Tree City USA for the 15th year in a row. Peterson will also receive the 8th consecutive Tree City USA Growth Award for increasing the number and density of trees on the base.

The tree planting will occur at the West Gate Visitor’s center between 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Peterson is combining Arbor Day with Earth Day May 1. Earth Day is April 22 and Arbor Day is April 24. To celebrate Earth Day, volunteers will clean-up Powers Boulevard from Airport Road to the Platte Street overpass from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. May 1. Tables will be set-up at the base exchange from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for personnel to stop by and get energy saving and recycling material information. The booths address green products, energy saving devices, and products made from recycled material.

“Stewardship of our environment is absolutely a quality of life initiative,” said Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander. “The first step in improving our infrastructure is doing all we can to take care of our environment. I encourage everyone to attend the Earth Day festivities and take an active role in working to sustain our Pike’s Peak Region eco-system.”

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