NASWF to be Named Tree City USA for 22nd Year

Published on December 11, 2013 with No Comments

The National Arbor Day Foundation will once again recognize Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field as a Tree City USA for its dedication to conservation and urban renewal.  This is the 22nd consecutive year the base has received the designation.

NAS Whiting Field planted a tree to recognize the completion of the annual certification requirements and to celebrate the accomplishment on Dec. 5 at 9:30 a.m. next to the base’s command building.

The Arbor Day Foundation presents a proclamation and banner to the command to recognize the achievement.  NAS Whiting Field Executive Officer Cmdr. Greggory Gray will read the certificate.

The certificate reads in part: “[I] declare that Whiting Field will continue to annually celebrate Tree Awareness Week during the first week of December and recognize the importance of preserving and managing our trees with planned activities for the planting of trees throughout the planting season, demonstrating our responsibility as federal land stewards.”

The ceremony is only the final step in the process.  Throughout the year, the NAS Whiting Field Natural Resources team has to:  ensure an allocated cost is directed toward forestry projects (this has to exceed $2 per person on the base), maintain an Urban Forestry Ordnance, and have a board with regular meetings.  All of the requirements serve to raise the awareness of how important trees are to our society.  Not only do they provide a natural beauty, but trees also give shade, help to lower temperatures in urban areas, increase the oxygen level in their areas, and help to cleanse pollutants from groundwater and the air.

The ceremony is coordinated by Ron Cherry, the base’s environmental programs manager, and it serves as one of the highlights of his year.

“Our annual participation in the Tree City USA program provides us the opportunity to educate people about the value of tree resources and the importance of sustainable tree management.  Being part of Tree City USA can help promote relationships with the Florida Forest Service and other conservation groups”.

Base forestry programs in 2013 spent more than $80,000 in maintenance for existing woodlands and replaced any trees that were lost through the year through storm damage, disease or other causes.  The live oak being planted Dec. 4 is replacing a Laurel Oak that had reached maturity and was taken down because it was dying.  The amount invested in maintenance was approximately 10 times the necessary amount to qualify for the program.

Additionally, on the holiday front: the base will celebrate the Christmas season with the lighting of the base tree in front of the command building immediately following the Tree City ceremony.  Children from the base Child Development Center will hang their handmade ornaments, sing a couple of carols, and help Coughlin throw the switch to light the tree.  Morale Welfare and Recreation will provide snacks for the guests.

Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., Santa Claus made his annual appearance, weather permitting, to the Naval Air Station Whiting Field Child Development Center to bring presents and candy to the children.  His appearance via helicopter is one of the center’s annual highlights.

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