Week of environment-helping activities planned at Wright-Patt

Earth Day 2019 is April 22. This year’s official Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species,” and the 88th Civil Engineering Natural Resource Division has a full week of events to celebrate the campaign.

Earth Day was established in 1970 and is celebrated in 193 countries. It’s coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. Earth Day was first established to create awareness for keeping the planet clean and sustainable for life.

April 22: Join the City of Fairborn and the Environmental Branch to clean up litter at Osborn Park. All materials will be provided.

Humans dispose of trillions of tons of garbage every year, but not all of the garbage ends up in a landfill. Much litter finds its way into the natural environment, which can be harmful and even deadly to wildlife. This is particularly true for aquatic animals.

When litter enters a storm drain, it eventually finds its way into rivers and oceans. This litter causes death and injury to marine mammals, turtles, fish and other species through swallowing and entanglement.

“Keeping our parks and roadsides clear of litter keeps our storm drains clear, reducing the threat to marine environments,” said Danielle Trevino, biological scientist. “We’d love to see folks from both Wright-Patterson AFB and the City of Fairborn come together for this great event.”

April 23: 88th Civil Engineering Natural Resource Division will be planting monarch waystations at three organizations on base.

“We can all take actions to help restore pollinator populations in their native habitats,” said Trevino.

The conservation of pollinators is a shared national responsibility. The actions of a single person or organization can make a difference. Monarch butterflies are one pollinator species in need of help. This species has faced drastic declines in recent history, partially due to a lack of habitat.

To celebrate Earth Day, 88 Civil Engineering is giving away three monarch waystations to organizations on base who have agreed to care for the habitats. Monarch waystations are gardens that provide the necessary resources to monarchs as they reproduce and prepare for migration. These flowering native gardens are small and easy to care for, and they provide crucial habitat for monarchs and other pollinator species.

April 24: At 10 a.m. at Huffman Prairie help remove invasive honeysuckle and plant native tree seedlings near Trout Creek. All materials provided.

Invasive honeysuckle has vigorously displaced trees and shrubs throughout the state. This reduction in native habitat also impacts the numerous animal species that depend upon it. With proper techniques and management, this invasive species can be removed and replaced with native understory species.

The area being focused on for Earth Day has significant value as it is adjacent to both the Huffman Prairie State Natural Landmark and Huffman Prairie Flying Field Natural Historic Landmark. The restoration work conducted on Earth Day will also benefit the federally endangered Indiana bat, the federally threatened northern long-eared bat and numerous other rare species that inhabit the land in and around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

April 25: 88th Civil Engineering Natural Resource Division will be installing a bluebird trail at Wright Memorial.

Eastern bluebirds experienced drastic population declines in the early to mid-1900s. This decline was in part due to a loss of appropriate habitat and nesting sites. The increase in bluebird trails across the region has no doubt played a crucial role in the increase of bluebird populations over the past couple of decades.

Adding a bluebird trail to the grounds at Wright Memorial will aid in the sustainment and enhancement of bluebird populations in this region. This setting will hopefully allow the public to view this species as they nest at Wright Memorial.

For any questions, contact Trevino at 937-257-8555, or email her at Danielle.Trevino.1@us.af.mil.

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