News: Two Army Guard units named top environmental stewards
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Smith
ARLINGTON, Va.,– Two Army National Guard installations were recognized for their environmental work in natural resources conservation and cultural resources management during a ceremony at the Pentagon, June 2.
"Environmental stewardship is not just about policy, it's about what we do every day," said Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn III, who helped hand out the Secretary of Defense 2010 Environmental Awards.
"Their successes serve as examples as we continue incorporating environmental considerations into acquisitions, force planning and the development of requirements," Lynn said.
Environmental programs at nine installations were chosen for the annual award from hundreds of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard entries.
The Michigan Army Guard's Fort Custer Training Center took home the Natural Resource Conservation Award.
"As we accomplish our missions, we want to be great stewards of our environment, and this is an example of one of our teams in Michigan who are doing fabulous work," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Cutler, the state's adjutant general, who accepted the award.
DoD officials said the Michigan Army Guard Soldiers and civilians identified new species and documented plant and animal life on its 7,500-acre post.
Wildfire managers also started prescribed fires to manage the forest and fields and to improve habitat for its rare species of butterfly. Still others monitored migratory bird populations and integrated natural methods to control invasive plant species.
Cutler said that the National Guard's strong tie to the states and communities has much to do about its environmental approach and advocacy.
"Our people build long-term relationships with like-minded organizations in the community and take on long term projects that yield tremendous results," said Cutler. "I am tremendously proud of my team."
The Wyoming Army Guard took the Cultural Resources Management Award.
DoD officials recognized the state's Soldiers and civilians for protecting their local heritage and cultural assets. They preserved Oregon Trail historic sites as well as surveyed and studied their installation's Native American resources.
"In Wyoming, we have such a valuable cultural history with our Native Americans, and we are very serious about the stewardship of those lands," said Army Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, the state adjutant general, who also attended the awards ceremony.
DoD officials said the state saved nearly $100,000 by developing and upgrading its environmental plans and reports. The state also collected and documented the history of homesteaders, who lived in the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, the state trained state, civilian and military wildfire responders and others on preserving cultural resources.
"The team did a great job, and I am glad to see them recognized," said Wright.