20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


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20th CES wins conservation award


Story by Airman 1st Class Diana Cossaboom

20th CES wins conservation award SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron installation management flight, here, was awarded the Gen. Thomas D. White Natural Resources Conservation Award for the large base installation category.

The Air Force level award recognized the team for their dedication and excellence in the conservation of natural resources.

"It's a great honor to win this prestigious award and receive recognition by the Air Force," said Nicholas Muszynski, 20th CES chief of environmental programs. "This award underscores the important work done by our professional and dedicated Natural Resources staff."

Gen. Thomas D. White, the fourth Chief of Staff of the Air Force, provided leadership in the establishment of Air Force environmental programs, and the purpose of the award is to promote excellence in every aspect of the Air Force environmental programs.

The Natural Resources Conservation Award is given out every other year and encompasses a two-year time period.

The award overarches everything the Natural Resources team does, said Ronald June, 20th CES chief of natural and cultural resources.

One of the main focuses of the natural resources team is the conservation of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, an endangered species.

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker does well on the bombing range and is unaffected by the air to ground bombing mission. The target areas are so small, and there are such large buffer areas, it's a good place for promoting endangered species without ill effects to them, said June.

The Natural Resources team has been able to increase the Red-cockaded Woodpecker population on Poinsett Electronic Combat Range by 800 percent.

"[The award] highlights the importance of our efforts to protect and enhance the environment; but most importantly, how we support the mission of Shaw AFB," said Muszynski. "I am extremely proud of our Natural Resource staff in their achievement and accomplishments."

Shaw's natural resources team was the first to create a Regional Wildland Fire Team in the Air Force which has been used to provide prescribed burns throughout Poinsett.

The prescribed burns reduced wildfires on the range by 95 percent which resulted in minimizing negative impacts on Shaw's flying mission while enhancing the timber and wildlife habitat.

Prescribed burning and the conservation of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker are just a few of the plethora of programs the Natural Resources team has.

"We put forth a team effort with a lot of passion and we believe in what we do, and we work hard to make it better," said June.

The team is also being submitted for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, Natural Resources for a large installation where their package will be reviewed against award winners from other branches of the military.

The 20th CES Natural Resources team has received the Natural Resources award twice, in 1995 and again in 2006, and was also awarded the Natural Resources Team Award in 2001.

The teams' dedication and commitment to the conservation of Natural Resources is shown through their past and present accomplishments in achieving the goals they set while supporting the flying mission, ensuring the safety for both Airmen and endangered species combined.

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