By Jo Anita Miley
U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
Earth Day presented the perfect opportunity to show more than 625 Huntsville area students how the Huntsville Center supports the Army Energy Campaign Plan through specific renewable energy programs and projects.
Energy team members Wesley Malone and Robert Mackey, project managers in the Center's Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate, talked to students at the First Missionary Baptist Church Child Development Center and Academy about ways to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint and judged more than 30 Earth Day science projects April 22.
“The Earth Day science projects were amazing. The students had everything from a chair constructed from orange juice bottles, to jewelry art made from old blue jeans and plastic bottles, to a water harvesting wall. They gave me new ideas for recycling things,” Mackey said.
On Redstone Arsenal, fifth-grade students saw how the Earth makes its own energy through solar, wind, biomass and geothermal methods. At the Path to Nature on Redstone Arsenal Thursday, the students experienced four renewable energy stations.
Malone guided the students through the 20-minute renewable energy presentations that showed students how the Center strives to protect, sustain and improve the natural and man-made environment of our nation. Other Earth Day team members included Lawrence Norton and Jason Bray, Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate, and Neal Graham, Chemical Demilitarization Directorate.
Other participants included Lt. Col. William Burruss, deputy commander at Huntsville Center; Col. Bill Marks, Garrison commander; Dr. Dee Fowler, superintendent of the Madison City School System; and Madison mayor Troy Trulock. Trulock spoke to students about the importance of preserving our planet to kick off the day’s activities.
As each group of students arrived at the Huntsville Center activity, they learned to recognize ways to conserve our natural resources at home, school and play. Students were then walked through an energy auditing trainer (model house) and asked to find hidden energy “traps.” The Huntsville Center employees monitored the stations and assisted the students as they walked through the demonstration. There was a question-and-answer period at the end of the exercise where some students received prizes (energy wheels, posters, magnets) for identifying the most traps in the trainer and answering questions about renewable energy.
Students were also given a chance to see how a windmill and solar panel work to help with energy savings through training tools provided by Calhoun Community College’s Clean Energy Department instructors Jerry Adams and Jeff Waters. Adams and Waters showed students how the trainers are used to teach energy conservation concepts in the classroom environment. They also told students how important science, technology, engineering and math programs like the schools renewable energy program will be for saving our natural environment.
Malone told the students about how Corps employees work hard to find Earth friendly solutions when working on projects and gave them environmentally friendly ideas to help keep the Earth clean.
Center volunteers said the Earth Day event was a great way to introduce Earth conservation awareness to young children.
“We had a great time today. We got a chance to interact with the kids and leave them with some valuable information that will help them to become better stewards of our natural resources,” Malone said. “Our aim was give them an idea of how we (the Corps of Engineers) think about how to help conserve our natural resources and reduce energy costs when working on projects, and show them how they can apply themselves to conserve energy much in the same way on their level. Hopefully, they will make use of this information in their daily lives.”