April is known for its spring showers, the hum of lawn mowers as they start up, and for the annual Earth Day celebrations hosted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts, divisions, and centers.
This year, the celebrations are far and wide and as diverse as possible, running the gamut from simple cleanups to educational activities for young and old alike.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters will be participating in the 2012 National Sustainable Design Expo April 21-23 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The three-day event, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is billed as a way of seeing "the future of environmental protection today!" More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the expo, which features 350 undergraduate and graduate college students from 45 team across the country competing for EPA P3 (People, Planet and Prosperity) Award. The Corps 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.
North Atlantic Division
Baltimore District personnel will participate in Earth Day celebrations hosted by Fort Meade and Fort Detrick on April 4th and 17th, providing baby terrapins from Poplar Island to show kids and talk about the district's work and environmental efforts (habitat restoration) at Poplar Island.
On April 21 Baltimore District teams with the Anacostia Watershed Society as part of an annual Anacostia River Clean-up Day. The district will provide a 40-yard dumpster at Kenilworth Park for trash collection, a barge at the Earth Conservation Corporation, and a barge at the Seafarer's Marina. The annual event attracts a large number of community members to help clean the river and Baltimore District personnel then help cart the refuse away.
Baltimore District's Raystown Lake is working with Friends of Raystown Lake to host the annual Lake Clean-Up Day, from 8 a.m. to noon on April 21.
Also on April 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Baltimore District personnel will be attending an Earth Day event at Mill Cove in Mansfield, Penn., a community associated with the district's Tioga-Hammond reservoir. The event is a collaborative effort among local and regional organizations and citizens throughout the region and state. The event will be structured to provide broad presentations from environmental agencies throughout the day with demonstrations and family activity sessions.
And from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27, Tioga-Hammond Lakes will host a clean-up along Route 49/Cowanesque Lake with Williamson High School Sportsmen's Club. This is the district's fifth consecutive year of participation.
For more information about any of these Baltimore District events, contact the Public Affairs Office at 410-962-2809.
Philadelphia District's annual Earth Day marquee event is Take Pride in Blue Marsh Day April 21 at the Blue Marsh Lake. The day mobilizes volunteers to assist with a variety of projects, including litter clean-up, nature trail maintenance, erosion control projects, wildlife habitat work and tree planting. The Blue Marsh Lake Conservation Event for Volunteers began 31 years ago and was originally affiliated with the "Keep America Beautiful, Inc," and "Take Pride in America" programs. The conservation program encourages involvement of the public and organizations in the stewardship of public lands, waters, and parks. The Blue Marsh Lake program has been recognized with national and state awards. Check out
for more information about Take Pride in Blue Marsh Day.
New York District personnel are gearing up to participate in the April 20th Earth Day event in Elizabeth, N.J., with local middle school students coming and learning about the Harbor Estuary. The district is slated to provide live marine life from the NY/NJ Harbor in touch tanks so the students can see what lives in the estuary. Students also are tentatively slated to board a Corps vessel for a very brief trip from Elizabeth onto the water to see both the ecosystem and the nearby industrial container terminals to get a better understanding the area around them.
The District's other yearly event is the Rockaway Earth Day celebration on April 28. This is a public event on the boardwalk in the Rockaways in Queens, N.Y., where the district is involved in an ongoing study looking at coastal storm damage risk reduction alternatives. The district expects to sponsor a small display about the Corps and live marine life from the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary to show attendees of all ages what species live in the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary.
For more information about any of these New York District events, contact the New York District Public Affairs Office at 917-790-8007.
New England District has a number of events set for Saturday, April 21. The West Thompson Lake 20th Earth Day Celebration begins with an 8 a.m. registration at the lake's Overlook Shelter off West Thompson road, North Grosvenordale, Conn. Volunteers will work on projects from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
The 12th annual Canal Clean Up is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Buzzards Bay Recreation Area in Massachusetts. New England District partners with AmeriCorps Cape Cod each year for this event. Individual volunteers as well as local community groups get together to beautify the canal and help prepare for the busy summer season. This year's projects include tree planting, building a rain garden, trail maintenance, trash pick-up, mutt mitt dispenser installations, existing garden maintenance and sign installation. Educational booths and activities also are planned.
New England District's East Brimfield Lake, Sturbridge, Mass., is seeking help as it continues to recover from a June 1 EF3 tornado that struck southwestern and central Massachusetts. Since the tornado struck, Park Rangers and volunteers have been conducting a slow but methodical recovery by completing clean up, recovery and restoration of project lands. On April 21, the Park Rangers are seeking additional volunteers for two projects:
Lake Shore and River trail Cleanup: Much debris was deposited in the waters of the East Brimfield Lake and the New England District's first nationally designated Recreation Water trail, along the Quinebaug River. Boats and canoes are needed to patrol the shoreline and river trail to pick up any remaining debris.
Reforestation and stream bank stabilization: The tornado destroyed a combined total of more than 500 acres of upland and river side trees. Forest recovery and logging operations have started with the need to replant and stabilize these areas with new tree seedlings and mulch. Between the two projects, more than 600 tree seedlings will be planted and 100 cubic yards of wood chips need to be spread.
Registration for the two projects begins at 8:30 a.m., with project work hours set for 9 a.m. to noon followed by pizza lunch. Participants are asked to bring work gloves, boats and life jackets, shovels, water bottle and wear sturdy shoes.
On April 22, it's the Earth Day clean up event at Thomaston Dam, Thomaston, Conn. The Thomaston High School SAGE Club, the school's environmental club, will be helping the Park Rangers remove litter and debris that washes downstream during storm events. We plan to recycle all of the bottles and cans.
More information about these New England Districts events can be obtained by calling the New England District Public Affairs Office at 978-318-8238.
This year Europe District will support both the Wiesbaden Middle and High School in celebrating Earth Day. Nicole Silva and Mark Ziminske will represent the Environmental Brach and Rich Gifaldi will represent Sustainable Engineering in making between 10-15 presentations during the weeks of April 16 to 20 and 23 to 27 to several Wiesbaden MS and HS environmental science and biology teachers/classrooms. Among the presentation topics will be solar thermal systems, environmental movement history to include early environmental disasters and the genesis of Earth Day, environmental movement evolution, environmental sciences careers, today's environmental challenges and some technical solutions that use science and biology.
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 third year of participating in the program for Earth Day.
Wilmington District's W. Kerr Scott Lake will be offering a guided nature hike and tour of the Environmental Education Center for Earth Day at 1 p.m. on April 22. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, the 21st, members of the Wilkes Community College Rotaract Club will be cleaning litter from around the shoreline of the lake.
Jacksonville District will participate at the Ft. Buchanan 2012 Army Earth Day Expo activities April 20 in Puerto Rico, to support the mission of environmental sustainability for a secure future.
The Savannah District will have a booth at the City of Savannah Earth Day celebration, April 22, at Forsyth Park in Downtown Savannah. The district's Regulatory Division will provide information to the public about wetlands and permitting. Also planned is a talk show appearance on Savannah's WTOC TV Mid Morning Live to highlight USACE missions as they relate to environmental stewardship.
Great Lakes and Ohio River Division
Louisville District lakes are taking center stage when it comes to Earth Day this year.
It's Earth Day Invasive Plant Day in the Great Outdoors on April 22 at the C.J. Brown Dam and Reservoir, Springfield, Ohio. The public is invited to come learn about the invasive plants that threaten our native flora and to then go out and remove them from the lake's forest and prairie regions. The program begins at 10 a.m.
On April 22, it's Earth Day in the Great Outdoors at Brookville Lake, Brookville, Ind. Volunteers are invited to bring their planting attire and shovels ready and come to the Tailwater Recreation Area to help park rangers plant some trees. Registration and a short talk on trees and Earth Day will begin the fun at 9:30 a.m. and will wrap up at 11:30 a.m. All participants will receive a participation certificate. Bring your sack lunch to join other participants afterwards for a picnic.
Caesar Creek Lake in Waynesville, Ohio, will be the site of the 26th Annual Green Up Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21. Green Up Day is one of the oldest environmental efforts in Southwestern Ohio as it provides volunteers with a fun way to help clean up and beautify their park. Volunteers will help restore natural areas, develop much needed habitat for wildlife and ensure the continued beauty of one of Southwestern Ohio's most utilized outdoor recreational areas. After spending the morning sprucing up the park, all participants will receive lunch and a chance to win great prizes donated by local merchants.
Two separate events are planned for Nolin Lake, Bee Spring, Ky. On April 17th, lake park rangers will be going to Grayson County Middle School to present a special two-hour after school program for National Environmental Education Week. Between 100 and 200 students will rotate between four classes on topics of benefits of a tree, water filtration, water cycle and fish. Each class will have a learning component as well as a hands on/game section.
On April 28, the Friends of Nolin Lake will host a wildflower walk at Nolin State Park. Temporary Park Ranger Carl Suk will guide visitors on the second annual "Nolin Lake Wildflower Walk". The spring ephemerals like Spring Beauty, Bluets or Quaker Ladies, Jack-in-the Pulpit and Rue Anemone should begin to emerge. Known as the Waterfall Trail for the natural waterfall on the property, it is moderate to traverse. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended; bring water and a trail snack as there will be ample opportunities for rest stops along the way. A floral checklist will be provided for those who would like to record the plants we see. This is a 1.6 mile hike.
Personnel from Salamonie Lake, Lagro, Ind., are partnering with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Upper Wabash interpretation staff to host informational, educational and water safety related tours for all the fifth graders in Huntington County May 3, 4, 7, and 8. Although not conducted on Earth Day, these sessions will educate nearly 700 students about how actions impact the local environment.
For more information about any of the Louisville District lake and recreation area events, contact the Louisville District Public Affairs Office at 502-315-6766.
Chicago District public affairs personnel, Lynne Whelan and Vanessa Villarreal, will participate in activities at several different schools. On April 19, Ms. Villarreal will be joined by one of the district's engineers, John Green, as they speak at Dixon Elementary School, Chicago. They will talk to fourth and fifth graders (about 30 students total) about what it's like to be an engineer and about Earth Day coupled with a seed-planting activity. Later, that day Ms. Villarreal will be joined by another engineer, Christel Johnson, as they visit Clay Elementary School's after-school program (20 students in K to 8th grade), Chicago, to give the same presentation.
On April 26, Ms. Whelan is scheduled to give an Earth Day talk at South Shore Park in Milwaukee.
The Detroit District Public Affairs Office is hosting a plant exchange for district employees on April 20 as a way of brightening up the district's offices.
Mississippi Valley Division
The St. Paul District environmental section is sponsoring screenings of the movie Green Fire about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold in its headquarters in honor of Earth Day 2012.
The district's Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Area near Brainerd, Minn., will be conducting an annual volunteer spring cleanup day in conjunction with Earth Day.
And Cross Lake Dam and Recreation Area in Crosslake, Minn., is planning to do some tree planting with a local school.
Rock Island District park rangers are involved in a number of activities on April 21.
The Grant River Recreation Area, in Potosi, Wisc., is sponsoring Earth Day activities that include cleanup, beautification and landscaping.
Cleanup, beautification and landscaping activities also are on tap for Thomson Causeway Recreation Area, Thomson, Ill.
The Muscatine Park Rangers are sponsoring the same type of Earth Day activities at the Andalusia Slough Recreation Area, Andalusia, Ill.
Earth Week Fair presentations are set for April 20 and 21 at the Locks and Dam #15 Visitor Center, Rock Island, Ill.
For more information about any of these activities, contact the Rock Island Public Affairs Office at 309-794-5729.
Park rangers from St. Louis District are ready for a busy April and May as well.
At Lake Shelbyville, Shelbyville, Ill., from 8 a.m. to noon, April 21, volunteers will join the staff in working on the landscape bed and butterfly garden, and doing maintenance and litter pick up. The first 100 volunteers will receive a white pine seedling and every volunteer will receive a free night of camping voucher.
Service and educational activities will take place April 21 at the M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center and Frank Russell Recreational Area at Mark Twain Lake, Monroe City, Mo. A Park Ranger also will set up a booth at the Mexico, Mo., Earth Day celebration on April 20th.
On April 22, the Rivers Project will participate in the Earth Day Festival with partners at Forest Park, St. Louis. Activities will include a display featuring hands on water safety activities, the Mississippi River Water Trail, Bobber activities and general Rivers Project information.
Area 8th graders will head out to Wappapello Lake, Wappapello, Mo., April 25 and 26 to enjoy a variety of activities by different agencies including flint knapping, emergency management, and more. The Mingo Job Corps will assist in helping students move from one station to another.
On May 3 and 4 at Rend Lake, Rend., Ill., approximately 800 third- and sixth-grade students will enjoy educational programming and tours of the Rend Lake Project office and Visitor Center.
And on May 20 at Carlyle Lake, Carlyle, Ill., more than 3,000 local students grades Pre-kindergarten through eighth will attend the Earth Day event with more than 49 presenters presenting on various environmental and safety topics.
Members of the Vicksburg District Regulatory team got an early start on Earth Day 2012 on Jan. 12, at Warren Central High School, Vicksburg, planting more than 100 cypress, nuttall oak, cherrybark oak, swamp chestnut, and willow oak seedlings. Each seedling was labeled with flagging. This was a continuation of previous Earth Day activities that included a nature trail cleanup on Nov. 19, 2010, and student presentations on April 14, 2011.
The team's theme for this year's Earth Day celebration is "Grocery Bags for Earth Day." More than 1,150 grocery bags are being decorated by students from local elementary schools will decorate paper bags that will then be returned to the grocery stores for use by customers in honor of Earth Day. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of the environment by involving students and other shoppers.
At the conclusion of this year's Earth Day activities and events, the regulatory branch will host its annual Earth Day luncheon with a team member being awarded the 2012 Larry N. Harper Regulator of the Year Award," named after a former Vicksburg District team member, who established an interagency team to provide technical wetland training for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and helped develop a curriculum for environmental science students at Louisiana Tech University.
The Fort Worth District will have an exhibit at this year's Earth Day Dallas on April 21 & 22. Steve Perrin, lead Park Ranger at Lavon Lake, will be leading the district's team.
Galveston District personnel are participating in Earth Day 2012 April 21 at Challenger Seven Memorial Park in Webster, Texas. The theme is "Discover Nature Where You Live: Every Day is Earth Day."
Within Seattle District, Chief Joseph Dam will be site of the project's 8th year organizing an event for local schools, set this year for April 20 at Bridgeport State Park. Students in grades three through five from local schools (Mansfield, Bridgeport, Waterville and Pateros) will be participating in up to five 30- minute programs covering environmental, cultural and historical topics and activities. Presenters from several different agencies are expected to attend, including USACE, Audubon Society, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Okanogan County Noxious Weed Control Board, Chelan PUD-Rocky Reach Dam, State Parks, WSU Extension Weed Control, Douglas County RiverCom911, US Forest service, US Fish and Wildlife. High school volunteers from the school science classes also come out help setup and help our presenters at their locations.
Albeni Falls Dam personnel are hosting an annual Watershed Festival at Riley Creek May 17 and 18. Planned activities include the local elementary schools visiting the park and learning different ecology, wetland and wildlife practices. The team also sponsors a David Thompson trail walk reenactment as well with a biologist bringing live birds of prey to show the kids. '
South Pacific Division
San Francisco District's Lake Mendocino and its partners, the Ukiah Valley Trail Group, will be hosting a trail building workshop with the International Mountain Bike Association in the wildlife area on April 21. On May 4, San Francisco District rangers will set up a booth at Mendocino Junior College for its community-wide Earth Day event. The rangers will provide information on recycling with local information as to where to bring metal, plastics, and oil. They will have seeds available to plant and will give Earth, food and water cycle information and will also be setting up a "promise tree." Being safe around the water also will be a focus.
The Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito is the site of several activities. On April 21, there is the Bay Model waterfront cleanup from 9-11 a.m. to clean up litter along the waterfront around the Bay Model Visitor Center. Terrain is mostly flat, along paved surfaces. Bags and gloves will be provided. If possible, to reduce the amount of litter generated by the cleanup, please bring your own reusable bucket and/or reusable gloves.
Also on April 21, it's the Junior Ranger Program: The Birds, the Bees, and the Bubbles, from 1 to 2 p.m. In honor of Earth Day, children, from 4 through 12, are invited to Ranger Tammi Skalitzky in an activity to learn about pollination and all the critters involved in the process.
Los Angeles District personnel are participating in Earth Day at Balboa Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 22. The event is the largest Earth Day celebration on the West Coast. It's very informal, and participants run the gamut from disinterested public to highly qualified technical people who may have significant knowledge about environmental issues and Corps projects/responsibilities.
Sacramento District's Regulatory Office will be participating in the fifth annual Placer County Celebrate the EARTH Festival April 21 at Mahany Regional Park, Roseville, Calif., with more than 5,000 expected participants. The office will sponsor an exhibit that includes a watershed model.
Pacific Ocean Division
Earth Day Hawaii is set for April 14 at the Pacific Regional Visitors Center, Fort DeRussy , Honolulu, sponsored by Honolulu District. An America's Great Outdoor Project, the celebration includes a beach and berm clean up and storm drain stenciling. An added event this year is the showing of the film "The Rain Follows the Forest" at 10:30 a.m. in the visitor center's theater.
Labs and Centers
The U.S. Army Engineering and Research Development Center's Environment Laboratory members Courtney Chambers and Jennifer Coleman are setting up a booth and giving a presentation at Alcorn State University's Earth Day celebration in Lorman, Miss., on April 23.
U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, will celebrate Earth Day with other governmental agencies on April 19 at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala. The event is designed to teach 500 to 600 middle school students from the Madison City School System about the Corps' Safety and Environmental Programs. Deputy Commander Lt. Col. William Burruss is scheduled to speak to the students about Earth Day and how the Corps helps protect and manage this country's natural resources. He will also participate in a native tree-planting ceremony. Other Corps activities include a mock hazardous material spill exercise and an exercise on detecting metallic anomalies as well as several other speakers. The team also will pass out Corps/Huntsville Center magnets, coloring books, water bottles, beach balls and Earth Day posters to students at the event.