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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BIN THERE DONE THAT: RECYCLING CHAMPIONS EMERGE AT 88TH READINESS DIVISION

Story by Tyrone Cook and Robin Sullivan, Solid Waste Program Coordinators
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The recycling bins at two 88th Regional Support Command Facilities in Washington are literally overflowing. But, these increased recycling efforts are pushing the Army Reserve closer to its waste diversion goals.

The 88th Readiness Division has experienced significant increases in recycling at two of its facilities in Washington: Pier 23 and Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center, both in Tacoma. 

The increase has required a change in the volume of the recycling services provided by the hauler.

Pier 23 has increased the frequency of its recycling service from bi-weekly to weekly.

The Area Maintenance Support Activity shop and Units Supply have been the keys to the increase in recycling at Pier 23. They have been diligent in ensuring that all material that can go into the single stream recycling service is placed in the proper containers. In addition, the custodial contractor has worked with the facility to properly dispose of the recycled materials in the facilities.

Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center has increased the size of its hauler-provided container, from a 60 gallon rolling tote to a two yard recycling dumpster.

The Facility Coordinator and the custodial contractor have been working together to increase the recycling in the facility.

Both of these sites will soon receive additional indoor recycling bins to support the recycling activities through the efforts of the 88th Readiness Division and the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate to secure Unfinanced Requirement funds. 

The staffs are looking forward to observing additional increases in recycling as more indoor infrastructure is installed in these facilities.

Bin There Done That Post Graphic

 

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!

ONCE UPON A FOREST: FORT BUCHANAN PROTECTS THE PALO DE ROSA

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

Victor Rodriguez Cruz braved an imminent storm to reach the pinnacle of a limestone hill, where a Palo de Rosa emerged from the Earth. Just beyond the tree, he peered at a valley where a bustling city on San Juan Bay had all but erased a once pristine, wild forest. “When a tree is lost, it is lost forever,” he said as he admired the Palo de Rosa’s verdant, glistening leaves.

Rodriguez Cruz manages the Natural Resources Conservation Program at Fort Buchanan, a United States Army Reserve-funded Installation near San Juan, Puerto Rico. In his role with the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division, he leads the charge to protect the Palo de Rosa – one of the island’s most endangered trees.

Named for the distinctive red hue of its heartwood, the Palo de Rosa is indigenous to the limestone hills, or “mogotes,” of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Palo de Rosa to be endangered in March of 1990, when only nine trees remained in the forests of Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez Cruz pointed to a resilient tree. “They grow only on the tops of these mogotes. Is that their preference, or are those populations the only populations that are left?” he asked.

Under the canopy, he chronicled the rather somber history and unusual biology of the Palo de Rosa.

Its decline, he said, could be attributed to many factors.

Deforestation and urban encroachment have decimated the Palo de Rosa’s natural habitat.

In addition, the Palo de Rosa’s reproduction cycles are erratic, at best. Biological studies indicate that the tree may be a “mast flowering” species, or one that produces an abundance of fruits in some seasons but no fruits in other seasons.

Seed dispersal is also a challenge for the Palo de Rosa. The Palo de Rosa may be an “outcrossing” species, requiring the cross pollination of individual trees. Since its populations are so limited, the pollination process could be very difficult. Furthermore, the fruits of the Palo de Rosa resemble the fruits of trees pollinated and dispersed by bats. Any absence of bats, or other pollinators, could have contributed to the tree’s demise.

Fort Buchanan is one of the few places on Puerto Rico where the Palo de Rosa thrives today. Still, only 12 Palos de Rosa live on Fort Buchanan. According to Rodriguez Cruz, the trees at the Installation are some of the only trees on the island that are currently producing viable seeds.

Fort Buchanan, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources hope that these seeds are seeds of change.

In 2009, a Memorandum of Agreement between Fort Buchanan, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources  incorporated provisions for the protection of the Palo de Rosa into the Installation’s land use management plans.

The Fish and Wildlife Service uses Fort Buchanan’s trees to collect seeds to propagate the Palo de Rosa, enhance the Installation’s population and introduce them to other viable areas of the island. The Service also visits Fort Buchanan annually to monitor the health of the trees.

Fort Buchanan’s Directorate of Public Works has implemented numerous conservation measures as well. Reforestation has improved the environment for the Palo de Rosa and the post’s other endangered species, the Puerto Rican boa. The Directorate restricts access to the Palo de Rosa’s habitat, evidenced by prolific gold signs that relay a message of caution to Fort Buchanan’s residents. If necessary, the Installation limits the scope of military activity in those areas. They have eliminated the use of herbicides near the habitat. In addition, Rodriguez Cruz and his colleagues consistently educate Soldiers, Civilians and Families about their Installation’s unique tree.

Rodriguez Cruz crouched in the leaf litter to assess a tree’s roots. “Ultimately, we want to recover the populations of the Palo de Rosa so that the Fish and Wildlife Service can remove the tree from the Endangered Species List,” he remarked.

The loss of any tree would impact the survival of the Palo de Rosa, but Rodriguez Cruz believes that the loss of the species could broadly impact the culture of Puerto Rico.

“The Palo de Rosa is endemic only to the Caribbean, so the tree is a significant part of our natural heritage in Puerto Rico,” said Rodriguez Cruz. “Our natural heritage encourages tourism to our island, supports our economy and inspires our art.”

“Our flora could benefit us,” he continued, placing his hand on his chest. “Cures for cancers could be in these forests.”

Rodriguez Cruz regarded the Palo de Rosa once more. Then, he descended the mogote with the company of hummingbirds and lizards. He recounted Fort Buchanan’s important role in the protection of Puerto Rico’s special natural resources. In his voice, hope resonated – the hope that the Palo de Rosa will flourish with the spirit of the past and the hope that the Army Reserve can contribute to its future.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTORS

Heather Brown, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Jonelle Kimbrough, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Victor Rodriguez Cruz, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Division