Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate
The United States Army Reserve has received two National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) Department of Defense Legacy Grants to install and enhance pollinator habitats at two Installations on National Public Lands Day.
The Office of the Chief of Army Reserve (OCAR) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia received $3,500 to install pollinator gardens at Truman Hall. This year’s grant is the first NEEF grant for OCAR.
The United States Army Reserve Command (USARC) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina received $4,500 to enhance habitat at Marshall Hall’s pollinator gardens. Last year, USARC received its first NEEF grant for $4,000 to install the gardens.
The projects will occur in late September and early October in observance of National Public Lands Day on September 30. Observed annually on the last Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is one of the nation’s leading volunteer efforts. Thousands of National Public Lands Day events across the country present opportunities for Americans to connect with their communities and practice environmental stewardship.
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs will facilitate the projects.
“Bees, bats, butterflies and other pollinators are critical to our ecology,” said Heather Brown, Senior Sustainability Advisor for Army Reserve Sustainability Programs. Many of our crops are dependent on pollination, but pollinator populations are declining throughout the world due to factors such as pesticide use and habitat loss. “As a leading steward of our environment, the Army Reserve is proud to participate in an effort to enhance pollinator habitat and attract pollinators to our Installations,” said Brown. “The gardens are a place for our Soldiers and Civilians to rest and reflect. And, National Public Lands Day gives our volunteers a hands-on opportunity to share our successes.”
“We were honored to receive our first National Environmental Education Foundation grant last year, and this year, we are excited to further our efforts to enhance natural resources across the Army Reserve,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs. “National Public Lands Day establishes valuable partnerships with advocates for sustainability at many levels – from the volunteers who lend their hands to build these habitats, to the Soldiers who enjoy these gardens, to the agencies that support these projects. National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity to educate our communities about all of our sustainability initiatives, and we hope that we can contribute to this event and to the protection of our pollinators for years to come.”