The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is marking the 43rd Earth Day with celebrations far and wide, and as diverse as possible, running the gamut from simple cleanups to educational activities for young and old alike.
Headquarters Corps of Engineers will participate once again in the National Sustainable Design Expo April 18 and 19 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The two-day event, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, features projects by undergraduate and graduate college student teams across the country competing for EPA P3 (People, Planet and Prosperity) Award. The Corps of Engineers will provide information on its environmental and natural resources programs, sustainability initiatives, and work being done by the U.S. Army Engineering and Research Development Center’s Environmental Laboratory. It also is an opportunity to interact with students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines, students who potentially are the workforce of the future.
North Atlantic Division
Once again this year, personnel from Baltimore District will participate in the Anacostia River Cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon on April 20. The cleanup takes place at about 20 different sites around the Anacostia Watershed in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery and Prince William’s counties in Maryland.
Philadelphia District's annual Earth Day marquee event is Take Pride in Blue Marsh Day April 20 at the Blue Marsh Lake. The day mobilizes volunteers to assist with a variety of projects, including litter clean-up, nature trail improvement, landscaping, erosion control projects, wildlife habitat work and seedling planting. The Blue Marsh Lake Conservation Event for Volunteers began 32 years ago. It is anticipated that more than 700 volunteers will participate in this year’s event.
This year Europe District will support the Wiesbaden Middle School in celebrating Earth Day with several different presentations. Among those being scheduled are a trip to a recycling center, one on planting trees for Earth Day and one on energy conservation.
South Atlantic Division
Charleston District personnel will once again be featured on Low Country Live, a local mid-morning show to talk about its regulatory program. This will be the district’s fourth year of participating in the program for Earth Day.
Great Lakes and Ohio River Division
Chicago District is using Earth Day as the backdrop for its Regulatory Program’s “Call Before You Dig” Campaign to remind people of the importance of wetlands and waterways and the need to apply for a permit before beginning any activity that may impact them.
Vanessa Villarreal of the district’s public affairs office will participate in activities at several different schools. On Earth Day itself, April 22, Villarreal will talk with sixth graders at Dixon Elementary School, Chicago, about Earth Day, water safety and then assist the students in planting sunflower seeds. Two days later, on April 24, she will conduct the same activities for two fifth-grade classes, about 50 students total, at James Otis Elementary School, Chicago.
Pittsburgh District’s recreation areas have quite a number of activities on tap this year.
Volunteers are being asked to join USACE personnel at Tionesta Lake’s 2013 Lake and Shoreline Cleanup from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 4. Volunteer work crews will disburse from the Tionesta Lake Boat Launch parking area, near Tionesta, Pa., some by boat and others on land to nearby park areas.
The 2013 Earth Fest at the Penn State Shenango Campus, Sharon, Pa., is set for noon to 5 p.m. April 13. It features educational programs, activities for children and families, live music, an artist’s market, a computer equipment recycling drive, and information on environmentally conscious local businesses and organizations. A Park Ranger from the district’s Shenango River Lake will answer questions about water quality, fishing opportunities and USACE recreation. The display will feature common fish found in the Shenango River, which is a block from the campus.
Shenango River Lake personnel also will participate in the lake’s annual litter cleanup conducted with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s “Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful” Day.
At Crooked Creek Lake, Ford City, Pa., the staff will co-host a recreation area cleanup with local Lions groups beginning at 9:30 a.m. on April 20.
And Tygart Lake will host its shoreline cleanup Earth Day event on April 20 at the lake in Grafton, W.Va. , in cooperation with the Save the Tygart Watershed Association and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. As Tygart Lake is subject to frequent changes in water levels and receives large amounts of incoming debris during high water, volunteers during the 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. cleanup are being asked to help remove the debris left on the shoreline after those events.
Buffalo District personnel will participate in several events this year – the Buffalo Riverwalk cleanup, doing e-waste collection with Camp Good Days and Happy times (a program for children with cancer) and expanding the establishment of low-maintenance gardens/plantings at the district offices.
Mississippi Valley Division
The St. Paul District has scheduled several activities to mark Earth Day.
Cub Scouts who live near Eau Galle Dan and Recreation Area in Spring Valley, Wis., are building four duck houses that the district personnel will help them install at the recreation area on April 21. Also, on April 20, the recreation area will sponsor the Willow River Riders work day. The Willow River Riders are users of the trails and equestrian facilities at Eau Galle and plan to do some minor train maintenance and grooming.
Also on April 20, the Friends of Pool 9 will host the annual Mississippi River Pool 9 cleanup, using Blackhawk Park, near DeSoto, Wis., as one of its staging areas.
Tree planting activities are planned for the week of Earth Day, April 22-27, on Pool 8 Islands downstream of Brownsville, Minn.
Rock Island District personnel plan to keep busy with a number of different Earth Day-related events.
The Coralville Lake Project in eastern Iowa will host an Earth Day event April 19-20. The event will include two nights of free camping and many project opportunities such as Tipi Assembly; timber stand improvement work (removing already felled trees and brush from an oak/hickory woodland); invasive species removal (pulling garlic mustard and oriental bittersweet); shoreline cleanup (removing litter from the lake shoreline); campground cleanup/prep (painting picnic tables, picking up litter, trimming shrubs, landscaping); and trail maintenance (brushing back shrubs from trails, picking up litter, and removing some cut wood).
Saylorville Lake Earth Day Activities are scheduled for April 20. There will be a reading of the Dr. Seuss book "The Lorax" for children ages 3-8. Also, volunteers will sign up at the Visitor Center for three hours of trash pickup along the dam’s outlet channel, lake shoreline and various recreation areas. Volunteers who complete three hours of volunteer service will receive a camping pass good for one day of free camping good at any of the Saylorville Lake campgrounds in Iowa.
The Illinois Waterway Project Office will have a booth and staff at the Peoria Clean Water Celebration April 22 in Peoria, Ill. Clean Water Celebration encourages us to learn to improve water quality, to think critically and creatively about adequate and safe water supplies, and to promote the wise use of natural resources.
Mississippi River Project Office Earth Day Activities include:
- At the Dubuque Ranger Field Station, rangers plan on hosting our annual Earth Day event May 4 at the Grant River Recreation Are located in Potosi, Wis. Activities include landscaping, tree and flower planting, and general park cleanup.
- Mississippi River Park Ranger Steve Vacek will be working with a pre-school making various bird feeders for Earth Day. (St. John's Pre- School in East Moline. Ill.). There will be about 15 students participating in the project as well as parents.
- Thomson Park Rangers will be hosting Boy Scouts of America Troop #117 and Cub Scout Pack #48 who will be performing trail clearing and maintenance work in the Thomson Causeway Recreation Area, Thomson, Ill., along with garbage/debris clean up in the entire park and its boundaries.
- The Mississippi River Visitor Center staff located at Locks and Dam #15 will be participating in the Quad City Earth Week Fair, April 18-19 at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Ill. This event is open to area 2nd-5th grade classes from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. each day. The Fair will feature more than 50 booths with hands-on, interactive projects, crafts, games, quizzes, challenges and more! All booths have an environmental education theme. Check out www.qcearthweek.org for more info.
- On April 20, Muscatine Park Rangers will conduct an Earth Day Cleanup along the Mississippi River at Andalusia Slough Recreation Area. The park is located 2 miles west of Andalusia, Ill., along IL Hwy 92. Volunteers will participate in park and shoreline cleanup, landscape work, and other park maintenance with lunch following the day's work.
For the third consecutive year, the Fort Worth District will participate in Earth Day Dallas April 20 and 21. District personnel will be partnering with the Our Lands and Waters Foundation to provide information about the recreational opportunities available at the 25 lakes the district operates. The two ongoing Dallas Floodway projects will be highlighted as well as projects that demonstrate how the USACE Environmental Operating Principles are being used.
Other district personnel will be offering similar activities at Earth Day Oak Cliff in Dallas. This is the first year for the district to participate in the seven-year-old event.
On April 23, the district will participate in Earth Day events at the Fritz G. Lanham Federal Building in Fort Worth with a presentation by district senior leadership. As part of the event, individuals and departments within the GSA building will be given the opportunity to properly dispose of electronic devices for recycling.
Galveston District personnel are participating in Earth Day 2013, Discovering Nature’s Treasures, in conjunction with Harris County Precinct One, at Alexander Deussen Park, Houston.
At the Seattle District Headquarters Building the Green Team will be hosting a brown bag video and posting recycling promotional materials the week of April 22.
Within Seattle District, Chief Joseph Dam, near Bridgeport, Wash., is celebrating Earth Day this year on April 18 when the project will host local schools for educational presentations, including some from outside agencies.
At Libby Dam, Libby, Mont., personnel are planning several events the week of April 22. A wildlife rehabilitator will bring live birds of prey to the Visitor Center April 27 for special presentations. The staff also plans to present water safety information and invite other agencies to participate. They also plan to unveil the new Columbia River Treaty educational display in the center’s exhibit space. On April 24, the day will conduct a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) event for about 100 8th graders from Libby Schools with special tours and activities. April 23 will see students from a local tour come to the dam for a field strip, and on April 26, there will be an outreach program about birds of prey to 4th graders at Libby Elementary.
Members of the district’s Green Team is hosting a brown bag video and posting recycling promotional materials the week of April 22 at the district’s new “green” headquarters building.
Portland District personnel invite the public to join its park rangers for the annual Earth Day event at The Dalles Dam Visitor Center and Seufert Park April 20. This year, the rangers will host a spring cleanup in the historic Seufert rose garden, a unique turn-of-the-century garden that is home to a wide variety of antique roses. Volunteers are needed to help pull weeds, prune and offer a little tender loving care.
Pacific Ocean Division
Earth Day 2013 is set for April 27 at the Pacific Regional Visitor Center, Fort DeRussy , Honolulu, sponsored by Honolulu District and the Waikiki Improvement Association. During the event, volunteers will help beautify and clean up Fort DeRussy and the Waikiki beaches as part of Celebrate Service. Following the cleanup, volunteers are invited to stay for the showing of the film “The Rain Follows the Forest” at 10:30 a.m. in the center’s theater, an opportunity to reflect and focus on our environment and promote sustainability.
Labs and Centers
The U.S. Army Engineering and Research Development Center’s Patriot Grove area, dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients, will be the location of a new rose garden, thanks to a 2013 Earth Day project by members of Cub Scout Pack 115, Den 3. The scouts, their leaders and parents plan to prune trees and shrubs and remove debris in the area on the Vicksburg, Miss., campus. ERDC team members will assist Vicksburg Boy Scouts in building park benches featuring an inscription of their Troop 638 name and logo.