The U.S. Army delivers and executes its daily mission by its Soldiers and Civilians with its defense capabilities, but is also recognized by executing its mission as environmental stewards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sustains its mission by securing various environmental programs and projects throughout the year in line with this year's U.S. Army Earth Day theme, "Sustain the Mission. Secure the Future."
Earth Day is recognized on April 22 of each year, and is another opportunity for the Army Corps to showcase its various capabilities and diverse environmental mission.
This year, employees from the Army Corps' New York District conveyed its earth day message to the public through its robust outreach and community relations program throughout April by participating in a variety of Earth Day-related events such as river clean ups and in Elizabeth, New Jersey at Environmental Day, coincidentally held on Arbor Day April 27, 2018.
Hosted by the Elizabeth River /Arthur Kill Watershed Association and Future City Inc., the event focused on active methods in providing environmental sustainability. Science students from 13 schools participated with partners from the U.S. Coast Guard, the NY/NJ Baykeeper, NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program, The Historical Society; Elizabeth, NJ, Inc., Fish Advisory, Pre-College Programs: Nosotros, Environ mentors, Science clubs from John E. Dwyer Technology Academy and Thomas Edison Career Tech Academy.
At the opening ceremony, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, of Elizabeth, N.J., and other officials made introductory remarks including Joseph Seebode, the Army Corps' New York District, Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management, who at the podium microphone emphasized to the students the importance of sustaining and improving the environment.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to participating in Environmental Day, and interacting with students as our volunteers convey the Corps' mission as it relates to sound environmental stewardship," said Joseph Seebode, the Army Corps New York District Deputy District Engineer for Project Management. "As the nation’s Environmental Engineers, the Army Corps works in close collaboration and partnership with others to bring about improvement to our economy, our public safety and of course our environment."
“I would like to thank our dedicated partners who bring educational and meaningful programs that improve our City’s environment and mentor future leaders,” said Bollwage. “Environmental stewardship is an initiative that will benefit us all. If each student goes home and shares what they learned at this program, then families and friends can help keep our neighborhoods clean, which will continue to benefit future generations.”
Lisa Baron, a project manager and event volunteer with the New York District conducted lecture style classroom sessions throughout the day with students and discussed the Corps' various environmental missions such as beneficially using dredged material from its dredging projects, creating marsh lands and oyster reefs to help sustain habitats, and regulating wetlands to preserve natural habitats.
An informational video provided students with an understanding on how the Army Corps’ environmental initiatives are transforming habitats in the region.
Students from Elizabeth, John E. Dwyer and Thomas A. Edison high schools exhibited a number of environmental sustainability projects on how local refineries are using the latest technology to reduce harmful emissions, distillation of water naturally through rock, dirt, sand, clay, and mechanically through water treatment facilities, project exhibits also included, the use of solar panel technology to replace salting and plowing roads, and an environmental process to treat and sustainably use leachate waste water.
Representatives from the City of Elizabeth, N.J., spoke about a plan for a more environmental sustainable sewer system that includes capturing and treating rain and waste water. Members from the NY/NJ Baykeeper environmental organization advocated its continuous effort of oyster reef construction in the estuary.
As the day came to an end, students expressed their interests in pursuing careers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, furthering their education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
"Environmental Day provided another opportunity for partners and volunteers to educate future environmental leaders about practices in preserving the environment, and career paths geared to help make the world a better place to live and work, both technological and environmentally sustainable," said Seebode.