ARMY RESERVE COMMAND TO HOST ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION

Maple Leaf

The United States Army Reserve Command will host its first headquarters-level Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at Marshall Hall, Fort Bragg.

Arbor Day was established in 1872, when journalist J. Sterling Morton and thousands of pioneers in the Nebraska Territory planted one million trees. Today, Arbor Day is observed across the world.

For the Army Reserve, Arbor Day is an opportunity to publicly solidify the enterprise’s role as a leading steward of the environment. Environmental health is vital to mission readiness and resilience, as our natural world provides land on which to train our Soldiers, construct our facilities and maintain our operations. The future availability, accessibility and viability of land is critical to the Army Reserve, and the Command is committed to protecting and preserving that land – and other natural resources – for generations of our warfighters, Civilians and Families today, tomorrow and forever.

Major General Scottie D. Carpenter, Deputy Commanding General of the Army Reserve, and the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate will host the event with the reading of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Arbor Day Proclamation and the planting of a maple tree on the Marshall Hall campus.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event.

ARMY RESERVE SUSTAINABILITY PROFESSIONALS PARTICIPATE IN ENERGY SUMMIT

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough
Strategic Communicator, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

Paul SSCES Quote

Two sustainability professionals from the United States Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate participated in the 2018 Sandhills Clean Energy Summit on March 9 and 10 near Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, delivered the event’s key note speech. Heather Brown, Senior Sustainability Advisor, delivered a presentation on renewable energy projects in the Army Reserve.

The Sandhills Clean Energy Summit is an initiative of Sustainable Sandhills, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability on and in the region surrounding Fort Bragg.

Now in its fourth year, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit featured participants from the State of North Carolina, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works, Duke Energy, and Sierra Club.

Hanah Ehrenreich, Executive Director of Sustainable Sandhills, chose the Army Reserve to join such an esteemed group of participants because the Command has developed a far-reaching reputation for cutting-edge programs and notable accomplishments.

“The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a hub for military- and community-led sustainability planning,” she said. “The Army Reserve has demonstrated leadership in sustainability that supports Army infrastructure, clean technology, and mission readiness.”

Sustainable Sandhills has personal connections to the Army Reserve as well. When Wirt was Chief of the Environmental Management Branch at Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Public Works, his team was instrumental in the development and implementation of Sustainable Sandhills as an integral part of the installation’s sustainability initiative. Brown served as Development Director for the organization from December 2007 until December 2010.

For Wirt and Brown, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit was a prime opportunity to impart the Army Reserve’s successes, share its innovative approaches with a broad audience, and build important partnerships with community agencies.

“Energy and water are critical to nearly every aspect of the Army Reserve’s mission,” said Wirt. “Yet, we face many threats to our resources. We must secure our energy and water assets, for now and for the future. Clean energy will be a key component of our holistic initiatives, as we push the Army Reserve toward true resilience and even energy and water independence. We were pleased to share our energy and water visions with our colleagues in sustainability at this event, and we were especially honored to do so in the Fort Bragg community, which could be considered the ‘cradle of sustainability’ for the entire Army.”

“Almost 800 Army Reserve Centers are located in communities across the country,” Brown added. “It is imperative that we maintain strong relationships with community organizations such as Sustainable Sandhills to ensure that we are good neighbors and stewards. These communities support the Army Reserve with Soldiers, their Families, and their resources. We’re all ultimately striving to reach one goal: to be sustainable and resilient in the face of ever-changing challenges. By sharing successes, lessons learned, and expertise with each other, we are building enduring relationships that benefit both the Army Reserve and the communities that we serve.”

At the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit, Addison “Tad” Davis introduced Wirt as the key note presenter. Davis is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and the Environment. He is also a founding and current member of the Sustainable Sandhills Board of Directors.

Wirt and Brown discussed the Army Reserve’s multifaceted energy and water security efforts in their presentations. In accordance with its Energy Security and Water Security Implementation Strategies, the Command is striving to reduce its energy and water use, increase its energy and water efficiency, leverage renewable and alternative energy and water sources, and create a culture of resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians, and Families. The Army Reserve as a whole reduced its energy use intensity by 17.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline, and it has reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent since fiscal year 2007. Advanced technologies such as automated building controls and rainwater harvesting pilots improved the energy and water efficiency of its facilities. Eighty renewable energy projects – including solar arrays and wind turbines – generated nearly 48 million British Thermal Units of power for the enterprise last year.

The Army Reserve’s energy and water initiatives will bolster the Command’s energy and water security and enhance its readiness. According to Ehrenreich, the enterprise’s achievements and lessons learned will also contribute to the cause of clean energy throughout the state of North Carolina.

“North Carolina has great capacity for solar, wind, and biogas energy production,” she explained. “At the Clean Energy Summit this year, we focused on the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050. The military has directly experienced the benefits of implementing renewable technologies in garrisons, and the use of renewable technologies has reduced and prevented security impacts across the globe. We were excited to learn best management practices from the Army Reserve.”

Visit sustainablesandhills.org for more information about sustainability in the Fort Bragg region.

ARMY RESERVE SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMS BRANCH DELIVERS ANNUAL COMMAND BRIEF

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The United States Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch delivered their annual command brief to Mr. Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment, on February 14, 2018.

The presentation covered the Army Reserve’s accomplishments in energy, water, solid waste management and environmental quality in fiscal year 2017 and defined a “path forward” for the future. Featured projects included Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning, energy and water security investments, and awareness initiatives.

The brief lauded the Command’s achievements. Notably, the enterprise achieved a 17.7 percent reduction in energy use intensity in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction translates into a cost avoidance of over $6 million, or the cost of nine named training missions. The Army Reserve has also reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent, compared to the 2007 baseline.

According to Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, the Command’s sustainability initiatives have been successful because the Army Reserve focuses on “true” sustainability. “The Army Reserve maintains comprehensive and integrated strategies for every program through execution plans that establish a systematic, deliberate path to success,” he explained. Wirt also praised a dedicated staff and an engaged field, referring to their “passion and commitment to make the Army Reserve the very best it can be.”

In the years to come, readiness and mission resilience will be the primary focus of Army Reserve sustainability efforts. Wirt sees the future as an opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices holistically across the entire Command. “We want to achieve a conservation mindset, reduce consumption, increase cost avoidance, harness new technology, meet Federal reduction standards and become Net Zero wherever possible,” Wirt said.  “But, our top priority is to posture our critical facilities for energy and water security and independence. Ultimately, we need to operate for long periods of time – if not indefinitely – off the grid so that the Army Reserve can best mobilize, train and deploy our nation’s fighting force today, tomorrow and forever.”

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ARMY RESERVE HOLDS FIRST MISSION RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Among Saguaro cacti that stretched to painted deserts and palm trees that reached for watercolor sunsets, sustainability professionals from the United States Army Reserve gathered in Tempe, Arizona for the enterprise’s Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training in November 2017.

For three days, professionals from across the Army Reserve gathered to collaborate, share ideas and learn new ways to develop and implement energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality projects at Installations, Readiness Divisions and the Mission Support Command.

Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs, said that the idea for the training developed from a need and a desire to tie sustainability even closer to readiness. At their core, the Army Reserve’s sustainability efforts protect the natural resources that are vital to every mission. They enhance the efficiency of facilities, and they improve the well-being of the Army Reserve’s communities. Army Reserve Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training was designed to bolster those concepts and pave the road for new, innovative approaches to conservation.

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that the Army Reserve has the mission resilience to continue operations at our facilities around the world, despite any manmade or natural crisis,” Wirt said. “Energy and water security concerns, environmental considerations, community engagements and partnerships are all critical readiness aspects. Sustainability is all about looking at our opportunities for the future in an integrated and holistic approach. This training is a significant milestone for the Army Reserve in bringing our subject matter experts together to chart a path forward.”

The inaugural event occurred at Arizona State University and Arizona Heritage Center.

The Army Reserve selected Arizona State University as the primary host for the first Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training because the school is a well-established leader in sustainability education. The university created the nation’s first School of Sustainability in 2006 as a part of its Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Now, their program is world renowned.

Dr. Christopher Boone, Dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, lauded the university’s efforts to provide first-class educational opportunities to active duty Soldiers, Army Reserve Soldiers and veterans, and he praised the Department of Defense’s role in preserving natural resources for the future. “Without the military, we cannot achieve sustainability,” Boone said. “The military is a key player in the implementation of sustainability on the ground.”

Colonel Marshall Banks, Director of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, opened the training at a plenary session that featured Boone; Wirt; John “Jack” Surash, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability; and Addison “Tad” Davis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and the Environment.

Surash praised the Army Reserve for its significant contributions to the Army’s energy conservation and cost avoidance successes, and he called for more “smart ideas” to come from the participants. “Energy resilience is important for the Army,” he remarked.

Davis called the Army Reserve a “true sustainability force” that is enhancing Army readiness, building valuable partnerships and using taxpayer dollars responsibly through resource conservation. Quoting American journalist Thomas Friedman, he encouraged the professionals in attendance to “do a deep dive,” “transform the DNA” of their programs and “reimagine their processes for a more sustainable outcome.”

A common theme among the presenters was transition.

Boone said that both Arizona State University and the Army Reserve are merely “scratching the surface” of sustainability. “There is still more to be done,” he urged.

Wirt discussed a “tipping point,” when Army Reserve Sustainability Programs would move from compliance to innovation. Until now, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs have focused primarily on meeting mandates and creating a foundation of clear strategies and baseline data, from which progress in energy conservation, water conservation and waste diversion can be tracked. Now, the programs can be creative. “Our collective path forward is clear,” Wirt said. “Now is the time to move forward, make a holistic impact, connect with our communities and lead the Department of Defense in the years to come.”

Davis called the training “a learning experience,” and Wirt challenged his colleagues to embrace new initiatives. “Open your eyes, your ears and – most of all – your minds to the realm of possibility,” Wirt said. “Glean a new understanding of sustainability, and use the knowledge to bolster your contributions to an adaptable, resilient Army Reserve – one that is prepared for a future defined by change.”

Training sessions throughout the three days included energy and water security, solid waste management, sustainable procurement, environmental compliance, real estate, and cultural resources management. Participants appreciated a variety of learning opportunities, from tours of Arizona State University’s campus sustainability initiatives to hands-on technology tutorials.

As they learned practical skills that would benefit their careers, participants also learned how to affect a real culture change in the military. Dr. George Basile, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, implored the training participants to approach sustainability from a more personal view. “Sustainability is about better decisions,” Basile said. “Think about sustainability in terms of what matters to you. How will sustainability help you succeed? Be the example, and use that lens of sustainability to bring people together.”

Attendees also enjoyed a rare chance to find motivation from one of the nation’s leading advocates of sustainability. Kate Brandt, Lead of Sustainability Initiatives at Google and former Chief Sustainability Officer under President Barack Obama, offered remarks as part of Arizona State University’s Wrigley Lecture Series. “Everyone’s day job should be sustainability,” she commented during her speech. She said that the Department of Defense’s sustainability achievements are powerful “because they show what is possible.”

At the closing ceremony, Army Reserve Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, appeared in a video, echoing the importance of sustainability to the enterprise. Robert Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel at the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, also offered some words of wisdom and encouragement. “There is no question that the Army Reserve leads the pack in sustainability,” Maxwell said. “We are all-in. The Army Reserve plays a critical role in the defense of this nation, and sustainability is critical to our ability to be mission ready today and into the future. Sustainability is the right thing to do for our allegiance to our country, our stewardship of our resources and our commitment to our communities.”

James Hessil, Chief of the Environmental Division at Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works, was inspired by his experience. “I thought the training was an excellent opportunity to interact with Army Reserve personnel from Readiness Divisions and Installations and to learn from other’s best management practices and successes,” he said. “I also thought it was an excellent idea to have Arizona State University host the training because it allowed us to learn sustainability from one of the best institutions in the world.”

“The Army Reserve has much to be proud of in the last five years on our path to becoming a sustainable world-wide organization,” Wirt said. “But, this training has highlighted to the participants that there are so many more opportunities that we need to embrace. I believe that the participants left [the training] with a more collective vision of where we need to focus our efforts and how each one of us has a critical role in those efforts. Leveraging and building on partnerships both within our communities and with outstanding institutions like Arizona State University is incredibly important for our overall success.”

SEE A PHOTO ALBUM FROM ARMY RESERVE MISSION RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING ON FLICKR!

THE BUZZ: ARMY RESERVE RECEIVES FUNDING FOR POLLINATOR PROJECTS

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.”

See photos from the National Public Lands Day events on Flickr!

ARMY RESERVE ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Major General Peter Lennon, United States Army Reserve Deputy Commanding General (Support), has signed the Army Reserve Environmental Quality Implementation Strategy and the Army Reserve Environmental Quality Policy.

The documents solidify the Army Reserve’s commitment to environmental stewardship with four strategic goals: to conserve natural and cultural resources; to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations; to prevent pollution of land, air and water resources; and to strengthen an integrated Environmental Quality Program foundation.

The strategy and policy also bolster Command support of sustainability objectives that will ensure continued readiness. Furthermore, they encourage Soldiers, Civilians and Families at all levels of the Army Reserve and its surrounding communities to foster a conservation minded culture.

“The execution of these guiding documents will serve to strengthen the Army Reserve’s ability to sustain the environmental quality of our land, air, water, and natural and cultural resources and therefore ensure the resiliency of our Installations and facilities across the Army Reserve,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, which is a part of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate.

All four of the Army Reserve sustainability programs – energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality – now have signed implementation strategies.

The Army Reserve relies on dependable energy, clean water, accessible land and viable air to fulfill its role as a capable and resilient defense force, as well as its role as a good neighbor. “Sustainability enhances our readiness and resiliency for the mission and warfighters of today as well as the mission and warfighters of tomorrow,” said Wirt. “Sustainability allows us to adapt to constantly evolving military objectives, maintain our relevance, allocate our resources efficiently and reduce our environmental impacts.”

“Army Reserve leadership support for sustainability has been tremendous,” Wirt continued. “Such support lends invaluable credibility to our programs and will further the Army Reserve’s position as a pioneering leader in the Department of Defense. While there is still much to do going forward, our entire team is proud of the accomplishments we have achieved so far in establishing a solid foundation of culture change in the Army Reserve.”

ARMY RESERVE REDUCES ENERGY USE INTENSITY IN FISCAL YEAR 2016

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Energy touches nearly every aspect of the United States Army Reserve’s mission, from the electricity that powers our Army Reserve Centers to the fuel that powers our vehicles. To maintain readiness and adapt to a constantly evolving global presence, the Army Reserve is striving to conserve energy and other vital assets.

In fiscal year 2016, the Army Reserve proved its commitment to that goal.

According to the United States Army Reserve Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Energy Management Report, the Army Reserve achieved a 17.9 percent reduction in energy use intensity last year, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction far exceeded a Federal goal of a 2.5 percent annual reduction in energy use intensity.

“The Army Reserve is a leader in the Department of Defense’s charge to save natural, fiscal and operational resources and to accomplish goals toward energy security,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch.

Nine of the ten Army Reserve-funded Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command reported a reduction in energy use intensity, and seven of those ten sites reported reductions of at least 12 percent.

Furthermore, the enterprise’s reduction in energy use intensity translated into a significant cost avoidance of $6.7 million in fiscal year 2016 – a cost equivalent to staging nine Army Reserve training exercises.

“If we can conserve energy in our facilities, we can ensure that our resources are directed to our most critical missions,” Wirt explained. “If we are reducing the energy consumption and cost for services such as lighting and heating, we can focus our efforts and attention on energy security and resilience for our facilities.”

Diverse initiatives throughout the enterprise contributed to the Army Reserve’s efforts to save energy, increase energy efficiency and reduce America’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels. For instance, the 99th Regional Support Command leveraged a portion of its Energy Savings Performance Contract to replace fluorescent lights with light emitting diodes at Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity Army Reserve Center in Pennsylvania, where the improvements reduced energy consumption by 51 percent and conserved an estimated 184,000 kilowatt hours of energy. The Army Reserve implemented solar projects at the 9th Mission Support Command, the 88th Regional Support Command and Fort McCoy, contributing to the generation of 46.3 million British Thermal Units of renewable energy in fiscal year 2016. Fort Hunter Liggett used heat pump technologies and other holistic energy recovery opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of four Transient Training Enlisted barracks and push the Installation toward Net Zero, when it will produce as much energy as it consumes. In addition, the Army Reserve continued its endeavors to create an energy conscious culture among the Soldiers, Civilians and Families who are uniquely positioned to serve as stewards in the ranks of the Army as well as the ranks of their communities.

Wirt believes that the successes will continue to charge the Army Reserve’s Energy Program. “Last year’s achievements are remarkable,” he said. “They are inspiring our Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command to be even more ambitious and to expect even more robust results over the coming year. The Army Reserve is taking action to protect our energy resources because an energy secure Army Reserve is a resilient Army Reserve that is increasingly capable of accomplishing our mission today and into the future.”

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FOR THE SAKE OF THE SNAKE: FORT BUCHANAN PROTECTS PUERTO RICAN BOA

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Actor Nicolas Cage once quipped, “Every great story seems to begin with a snake.”

At Fort Buchanan, the story of wildlife conservation begins with the Puerto Rican boa.

The Caribbean Islands host some of the most biologically critical and diverse snakes on Earth. The Puerto Rican boa, also known as Epicrates inornatus, is important to the environment and natural heritage of Puerto Rico. However, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed the snake as endangered since 1970.

Fortunately for the boa, the United States Army Reserve “has its six.” Fort Buchanan – an Army Reserve-funded installation near San Juan – is leading the charge for its protection.

The Puerto Rican boa is crucial in its habitat, the lush forests of limestone hills called mogotes. Adult snakes prey on pests such as rats and invasive reptiles such as green iguanas. Boas are vital components of the food chains of island birds including the Puerto Rican lizard cuckoo and red-tailed hawk.

As necessary as it is to the island’s ecological balance, the Puerto Rican boa is vulnerable to some formidable threats.

Introduced, non-native animals such as mongooses and other snakes are competing with the boa for habitat and food. In some cases, the interlopers are turning Puerto Rican boas into meals.

Deforestation, urban encroachment and pollution have damaged the boa’s environment. As an island species, habitat loss is especially troubling for the snake. Quite simply, they have no other place to go. “Its limited geographical distribution makes the Puerto Rican boa prone to extirpation by any change created by humans or natural causes,” said Victor Rodriguez-Cruz, an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) at Fort Buchanan.

Furthermore, poaching has contributed to the boa’s decline. Hunters have coveted the snake for its meat and skin. As early as the 1700s, Puerto Rico exported the oil from the snake’s fat as a major commodity. “[The boa was] hunted and killed due to the belief that snake oil provided relief for aching joints,” Rodriguez-Cruz explained.

If the boa faced extinction, the biological diversity on Puerto Rico would be imperiled. Natural cycles would be disrupted, and the environment would certainly suffer. Nevertheless, the people of Fort Buchanan are working to ensure a hopeful future for the snake.

Initiated in 2013 and guided by a Memorandum of Understanding with the USFWS, Fort Buchanan’s comprehensive, ambitious boa program includes the management of both the species and the land on which it lives. The Installation’s DPW and its partner agencies are capturing, measuring and tagging boas, and they are performing other monitoring activities that help wildlife biologists determine boa populations, activity patterns and habitat uses. They are also enhancing the boa’s environment through reforestation and native plant restoration initiatives.

Innovative projects are driving boa conservation forward.

For instance, Fort Buchanan is investigating the use of an advanced technology called a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag to study the boa. A PIT tag for a boa is similar to a microchip for a dog. It is essentially a “barcode” for an individual animal that can electronically transmit information on snake growth, migration and survivorship to the biologists participating in the studies.

Also, the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) recently issued a grant to the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center Laboratory to examine “soft release” for snakes that require translocation at Fort Buchanan. According to Rodriguez-Cruz, Puerto Rican boas have very cryptic habits. People rarely see them, but they occasionally venture into urban areas. Wildlife biologists must translocate the wayward snakes. With the soft release method, biologists capture boas in urban areas and move them to designated forests. There, the boas briefly live in man-made pens prior to their full release into the wild. Soft release allows the snakes to gradually acclimate to the forests and thus raises their probabilities for success. Rodriguez-Cruz said that the ESTCP project has the potential to increase the effectiveness of capture and translocation efforts and to reduce snake-human encounters. The Installation could also benefit financially since the ESTCP grant would cover all expenses associated with the soft release demonstration.

Outreach and awareness are essential components of Fort Buchanan’s boa conservation program, too. “By educating the public, we are eliminating a lot of misconceptions about snakes in general and especially the boa,” said Rodriguez-Cruz. The Installation is identifying snake habitat with signage, encouraging its residents to report boa sightings, and training contractors who work on the post on boa protection procedures – to name only a few of the efforts.

Committed to the protection of its largest indigenous snake, Fort Buchanan serves as an example of conservation to the Caribbean as well as to the entire Army Reserve and active Army, both of which play a critical role in the stewardship of our military’s lands and the world’s precious natural resources.  “What we do inside of the Installation for Puerto Rican boa conservation, if deemed efficient, can be useful to the management of the snake outside of the Installation,” Rodriguez-Cruz said.

The environmentally essential Puerto Rican boa has managed to survive despite the forces that jeopardize its very existence. With the Army Reserve in its corner, the snake now has the chance to thrive, and its story will be great for generations to come.

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Photo by Eneilis Mulero Oliveras, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works

ARMY RESERVE LEADS THE CHARGE TOWARD ENERGY SECURITY

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According to the Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2016, the United States is one of the leading consumers of energy in the world, and the Federal government is the leading consumer of energy in the United States. Furthermore, the Department of Defense is the leading consumer of energy in the Federal government, and the Army is the leading consumer of installation energy in the Department of Defense. In fact, the Army consumes 34 percent of the Department of Defense’s installation energy at a cost of over $1.2 billion annually.

For the United States Army Reserve, energy touches almost every aspect of the mission. From the power required to operate its facilities to the fuel required to operate its vehicles, the Army Reserve’s battle rhythm – both at home and down range – is dependent upon this crucial asset. Without energy, life would come to a halt.

However, threats to energy are constantly on the rise. The increasing worldwide demands for energy, the political and economic instabilities in oil-producing regions, the impacts of attacks against oil infrastructure and the effects of natural disasters all endanger invaluable resources.

Since the Army Reserve has a global “bootprint,” energy crises across the world could create conflicts that have the potential to influence military objectives. Energy affects the welfare of our Soldiers, too. Fuel convoys are among the most dangerous duties for war fighters. The Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) estimates that, historically, fuel and water transport missions are responsible for nearly ten percent of Army casualties in theater.

If a disruption of our vital energy supplies did occur, what would happen to the military, its infrastructure and its mission? Could the enterprise survive “off the grid?” The Army Reserve hopes that those questions will never need an answer. Nevertheless, the Army Reserve Energy Program is striving to ensure its energy security.

The International Energy Agency defines energy security as the “uninterrupted availability of energy at an affordable price.” For the Army Reserve, energy security also means that its Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command are ready to answer the nation’s call – even in the face of a local, national or global energy emergency.

To that end, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate developed the Army Reserve Energy Security Implementation Strategy (ARESIS). The strategy creates a vision, mission and goals that, when accomplished, will ultimately achieve energy security for the enterprise.

The first ARESIS goal is to promote energy conservation, or the reduction of the Army Reserve’s energy use, to ensure that resources are resilient and that the enterprise directs supplies to the most critical aspects of missions. Education and awareness initiatives create an informed, conservation-minded culture of Soldiers, Civilians and Families.

The second ARESIS goal is to increase energy efficiency through diverse projects. For instance, several sites throughout the Army Reserve have significantly reduced their energy consumption – by as much as 85 percent – by replacing fluorescent lights with light emitting diodes. Over 780 meters monitor energy consumption at 410 Army Reserve facilities, thus allowing Energy Managers and project coordinators to identify trends in energy use and areas where energy efficiency can be improved. With automated controls for applications such as thermostats and lights, buildings are operating at their peak efficiencies.

The third ARESIS goal is to leverage alternative and renewable energy through solar, wind and other sources of clean power. As of the third quarter of fiscal year 2016, 62 Army Reserve renewable energy projects were reporting in the Army Energy and Water Reporting System (AEWRS). Two Reserve-funded installations – Fort Buchanan and Fort Hunter Liggett – are top performers in this area, generating 45.3 percent and 43.4 percent of their energy from renewable technologies, respectively.

The fourth ARESIS goal is to build a sustainable energy program foundation. The Army Reserve is engaging senior leaders in the development and deployment of energy policies, and it is building valuable partnerships with agencies that support sustainability within and beyond the fence lines. The Army Reserve is also securing human and financial capital. Energy Managers, Resource Efficiency Managers and Building Energy Monitors act as the “eyes” and “ears” of the Army Reserve Energy Program in the field. Energy professionals across the enterprise implement energy projects with appropriated funds from the Federal government and funds from third-party programs such as Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC), which pair Federal agencies with energy service companies. Agencies have used the ESPC contracting vehicle since 1998 to reduce energy costs and meet Executive Orders toward sustainability.

Moreover, the Army Reserve is pursuing Net Zero, or working to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of one year, at as many of its sites as economically feasible. Ten Army Reserve Centers and three Army Reserve-funded Installations (Fort Hunter Liggett, Fort Buchanan and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area) are actively pursuing this ambitious target.

Because of all of these initiatives, the Army Reserve as a whole reduced its energy use intensity (energy consumption divided by gross square footage) by nine percent in only one year, from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. According to AEWRS data, this reduction in energy use intensity saved just over $2 million, or the equivalent to the level of funding required for two and a half additional Army Reserve training exercises.

The Army Reserve has already achieved many successes, but it will not simply rest on its past victories. Instead, it will continue to lead the Department of the Army’s charge toward energy-conscious communities and an energy-secure enterprise with a mission that endures – now and for generations to come.

DO YOUR PART FOR ARMY RESERVE ENERGY SECURITY

Extinguish lights in vacant rooms.

Use natural light where possible.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or light emitting diodes to increase energy efficiency.

Power down computer monitors and peripherals at the end of each duty day.

Unplug electronics that are not in use for extended periods.

Use the “energy saver” modes on office copiers and printers.

When purchasing electronics or appliances, choose Energy Star models.

Set thermostats according to Unified Facilities Criteria 3 – 410 – 01: 68 degrees for occupied facilities during the heating season and 78 degrees for occupied facilities during the cooling season.

Close doors and windows to conditioned spaces.

Ensure that vents are unobstructed.

Change your air filters regularly to ensure that your climate control system operates at its peak efficiency.

Learn the Army Regulations regarding energy use in Federal facilities and adhere to them.

Be observant. If you notice energy waste or opportunities for energy conservation, contact your facility manager or Building Energy Monitor.

Talk to your Building Energy Monitor about practical or creative ways to save energy in your facility.

Practice energy conservation at the office and at home.

FOR MORE ENERGY CONSERVATION IDEAS …

ENERGY SAVER from the U.S. Department of Energy