GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Members of the 17th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental management team kicked off Earth Day 2021 by conducting the first ever Earth Day tree planting, here, April 22.
Due to the pandemic, the 17th CES environmental management team hasn’t been able to conduct their outreach as in prior years, such as hosting seminars and setting up booths during community functions. This year, they decided to get creative.
“We have chosen to plant a 50-gallon size Bur Oak,” said 17th CES environmental protection specialist, Allen Hotchkiss. “A lot of thought went into the species selection, and for many reasons. We needed to choose a native species that is drought, heat, and sun tolerant.”
Bur Oak trees are also in the White Oak family, which is less susceptible to oak wilt, a fungal disease that can attack oak trees.
The theme for Earth Day 2021 was “Restore Our Earth”. Hotchkiss explained this tree will eventually produce food and shade for the local wildlife, and create a place designed to encourage deer away from Kearney Blvd.
“Trees are the lungs of the earth,” said Hotchkiss. “Trees clean the air, adding valuable oxygen that humans and animals need. They also help to clean water, prevent soil erosion, and even provide habitats for organisms to live in and feed on.”
Hotchkiss explained they chose the south end of the base as a location for the tree planting due to the availability of water in there, which will help to keep the tree healthy and strong for years to come.
“We thought the best thing we could do is provide a beautiful tree the produces so many positive factors on the environment,” said Hotchkiss.
According to Earth Day’s official website, earthday.org, in 1970, 20 million individuals mobilized to call for greater protections for our planet. This became the world’s first Earth Day. Earth day was designed to educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.