NEWS | Dec. 6, 2010

Ecology takes root on Weapons Station for Arbor Day tree planting

By Terrence Larimer Joint Base Charleston natural resources manager

Joint Base Charleston personnel marked Arbor Day in South Carolina by planting a Southern magnolia tree at Marrington Elementary School in Goose Creek.

In addition to a crowd of excited children, the ceremony was attended by JB Deputy Commander, Capt. Ralph Ward, Berkeley County Deputy Superintendent, Archie Franchini, school principle Barbara Webber and representatives of the S.C. Forestry Commission.

Following the signing of the base's official Arbor Week declaration, S.C. Urban Forestry coordinator Francis Waits presented the Tree City award to Captain Ward.

Commission Forester Molly Sanford, a Reserve captain assigned to the 300th Airlift Squadron, then discussed the importance of trees and the many benefits they provide to the human environment. Marrington students completed the event by covering the young magnolia tree's root ball with shovels of dirt.

"The Joint Base works hard to take care of its thousands of acres of forests because these trees provide a tremendous benefit to our community - they reduce noise and air pollution, provide habitat for wildlife and help to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels," said Captain Ward at the award presentation.

"This work on shore is similar to efforts the Navy is taking at sea to make far greater use of bio-fuels in the coming years, which will also help reduce greenhouse gas levels."

The former Charleston Air Force Base and Naval Weapons Station were individually designated Tree City USAs for the past 15 years. Now, as a joint base, a combined application will be submitted for re-nomination this year.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

To become a Tree City USA, a community must meet four annual standards: a tree protection board or manager, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance.

Notification of the award was received by the base's commanding officers from S.C.

According to Ms. Sanford, "Trees are our friends and celebrating Arbor Day and Tree City USA is a great way of protecting trees and promoting tree conservation."