52nd CES, community leave lasting impression for Earth Day

  • Published
  • By Christian Thurner and Airman 1st Class Melissa Jump
  • 52nd CES
Earth Day 2016

For the 17th year in a row, Spangdahlem Sabers and the Village Youth Fire Department partnered together to clean up the Spanger Bach creek near Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 22-23, 2016, in recognition of Earth Day.

Last year, 22 volunteers supported the cleanup efforts. This year, more than 100 volunteers including Airmen and civilians from eight different squadrons participated with a focus on trash removal along roads, maintenance work in the local community, "Drain to Rivers" awareness, and Spanger Bach Creek Clean up.

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Melissa Jump, Alexandra Oldaker and Trent Aldrich, from the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, planned and organized this year's events, along with support from U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. David Frollo, 52nd CES scout master of the local Boy Scouts of America chapter, Spangdahlem Mayor Klaus Rodens and the Spangdahlem Air Base Environmental team.

Earth Day 2016

Volunteers helped with litter removal and maintenance work around the Spangdahlem community. They removed trash from various major roadways between Herforst and A60, collecting a total of 11 33-gallon bags worth. Clean-up also occurred along the Spanger Bach creek resulting in 2.2 cubic-meters and one trailer full of bulk trash.

At the Spangdahlem kindergarten, the team removed a rotting fence and added half a ton of fresh sand to the playground. At the local cemetery, the participants collected eight bags of invasive plant species. The cemetery remains as a landmark with gravesites for both Germans and Americans.

To help raise awareness for "Drain to Rivers," 16 Spangdahlem Air Base Boy Scouts received a briefing from Steffes Franz, a 52nd CES environmental compliance worker, about how any pollution or trash that falls into storm drains ends up in creeks, like the one in Spangdahlem. The scouts then placed 250 "Drain to Rivers" markers on the Northwest street inlets, focusing on the infrastructure and housing areas. The next day, they cleaned up the stream, allowing them to understand how litter in the storm drains eventually led to the pollution of the creeks.

Earth Day 2016

As a result of this two day clean-up, the team removed 4.5 cubic-meters of trash from roads and creek combined, 1.2 cubic-meters of invasive species were removed from the cemetery, along with 250 "Drain to Rivers" markers placed on drain inlets.

People often forget it is our duty and responsibility to ensure our environment remains clean and prosperous for our future generations. As made evident from our yearly cleanups, there remains a need to be reminded of the importance of removing litter. 

Every piece of trash -- be it as small as a wrapper or a cigarette butt -- should be properly disposed of to ensure our environment remains as pristine as possible.

We will continue to promote environmental awareness and the "Drains to Rivers" message and hope people will be proactive in removing litter. With the continued support of both service members and civilians alike, we can make our vision of a cleaner and greener tomorrow a reality today.

For more photos of the clean up, visit the photo set on the Spangdahlem Air Base Flickr Page here.