By Thea Skinner
A shovel, dirt, and three trees marked the annual Arbor Day tree planting at Peterson’s West Gate Visitor Center May 1. About 70 children and 25 adults watched as youth assisted in planting Ponderosa Pines.
Peterson was consecutively designated Tree City USA for the 15th year and received the eighth Tree City USA Growth Award for increasing the number and density of trees.
“This award is symbolic of the combined efforts of many people through the years that have given their full support to the forestry program that we are now enjoying,” said Col. Emily Buckman, 21st Space Wing Mission Support Group commander, who accepted the award. “I know my predecessors at the wing and mission support group have wholeheartedly supported the Tree City USA program for many years, and today we can see the fruits of that support.
“The real beneficiary of the trees planted today, this year, or even the past five years will be the future generations whom will see those young trees grow to mature, beautiful trees that provide added beauty to the base and shade for our children,” Colonel Buckman said.
The tree planting came on the heels of Earth Day, April 22, in which President Barack Obama stated “As we enter a new era filled with challenges and promise, we must protect our land, wildlife, water and air – the resources that have fueled our growth and prosperity as a nation and enriched our lives. Doing this not only fulfills a sacred obligation to our children and grandchildren, but also provides an opportunity to stimulate economic growth.”
The proclamation also highlighted the importance of working to reduce pollutants causing climate change, using energy efficient light bulbs, driving fuel efficient cars, and teaching teach young people about environmental preservation.
“Small changes in our daily lives can have a big impact on our environment,” the president said.
Phil Chase, 21st SW Civil Engineer Squadron Asset Management program manager for pollution prevention, solid waste and hazardous material commented on the proclamation.
“The president is restating our nation’s policy on the environment and he is requesting a new direction from the executive branch to increase government, manufacturing, and the private sectors awareness and participation in environmental issues,” Mr. Chase said. “Changing of a mindset – that the Earth will always be able to provide us food, water, and air without regard to future life – is going to be a challenge, not just within the U.S., but globally.”