• Students learn about protecting environment

  • Students from the post schools learned about the weather, recycling, wildlife and more during the annual Fort Leavenworth Earth Day and Environmental Awareness Day May 2 at the Frontier Conference Center.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Students from the post schools learned about the weather, recycling, wildlife and more during the annual Fort Leavenworth Earth Day and Environmental Awareness Day May 2 at the Frontier Conference Center.
    “Children and adults alike need to be reminded that the health of the Earth is really in our hands each and every day of the year,” said Debbie Hazelbeck, Fort Leavenworth environmental protection specialist. “It is our home and we need to protect it and take care of it if we want it to remain healthy for future generations.”
    During the event, Garrison Commander Col. Marne Sutten presented the Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities’ Super Saver of the Year award and the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Super Star award.
    Lt. Col. Chris Chapman, leadership instructor at the Command and General Staff College, and his family received the Super Saver award.
    Chapman said he and his family help save on electricity costs by hang drying all of their clothes and opening the windows at night during the summer instead of turning on the air conditioning.
    “The misconception for a lot of people is that their part won’t make a difference,” Chapman said. “I think it is important that everybody plays their part in conserving the earth. Having the kids here helps them understand that they can do little things and their role in the world.”
    Chapman and his family received a $100 Visa gift card from FLFHC, a $25 gift certificate to Buffalo Wild Wings, and a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
    Brian Lee, retired Air Force, received the DPW Environmental Super Star award. Lee has been volunteering about 10 hours per week with the Fort Leavenworth Natural Resources Program since January 2019. Through his volunteer efforts, he has located trails on post maps and pin-pointed the unique natural resources on post.
    “It has been pretty exciting because this is a new adventure for me after my military career,” Lee said. “(The award) is a nice pat on the back and makes me feel like I’m making good choices choosing this new career path.”
    Lee is studying wildlife conservation at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo.
    Before presenting the awards, Sutten addressed the students asking them what Earth Day meant to them, their favorite animals and ways they can preserve the environment.
    “(Earth Day) means to save the planet and not pollute the land and save energy,” said 9-year-old Rylie Beasley, a fourth-grader at Eisenhower Elementary School, answering Sutten’s question.
    Seven-year-old Liam Barnes, a first-grader at MacArthur Elementary School, had another thing to add.
    “Earth Day is all about saving wildlife,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Throughout the day, students had more than 20 vendors they could visit including the DPW Environmental Division, DPW Natural Resources and the Fort Leavenworth Commissary, which featured eco-friendly products available in the store.
    New vendors included a weather demonstration by 41 Action News reporter Charlie Keegan and Fishing’s Future, which offers families a chance to reconnect to nature.
    Fishing’s Future’s station offered backyard bass, which gave students the chance to learn to cast overhand.
    “This is as close as you can get to going fishing without going fishing,” said Bill Horvath, Fishing’s Future master angler. “It is a way to get families together. It is a way to get them out appreciating the outdoors again.
    “We teach catch and release, so that the kids can catch today and somebody can catch tomorrow,” he said. “We teach them about conservation, not putting trash in the water, picking up stuff on land, and aquatic invasive species. (Fishing) is a sustainable resource if we put some effort into it.”
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