Special to MiltonLocal.com
Naval Air Station Whiting Field celebrated their 25th consecutive year as a Tree City USA as recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The designation recognizes a community’s dedication to conservation and urban renewal. This is the Arbor Day Foundation’s 40th anniversary of the start of the program. NAS Whiting Field planted a Live Oak tree in the front lawn of the command building to recognize the completion of the annual certification requirements Tuesday, Dec. 6.
The Arbor Day Foundation presented a banner to the command to recognize the achievement which was unfurled during the event. NAS Whiting Field Commanding Officer Capt. Todd Bahlau also read a proclamation to the assembled staff announcing the dates of Dec. 5-9 as Tree Week across the base.
The certificate read 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.
This year the command planted several trees to replace some that become hazardous due to age. Those trees were prominent in some of the earliest photographs of NAS Whiting Field.
“Over the last couple of years we had to remove three 70 plus year old Laurel Oak trees next to the Command Building,” Natural Resource Manager Ron Cherry said. “This year, as we celebrated our 25th anniversary with the Tree City Program, we planted a Live Oak in place of the trees that had to be removed. Trees are a renewable resource, so we now have a new generation that will continue to grow for the next several hundred years. This tree will continue to serve as a symbol of NAS Whiting Field’s commitment to a healthy environment.”
Featured image cutline:
Public Works Officer LCDR Tim Gleason, Commanding Officer NAS Whiting Field Capt Todd Bahlau and Mr. Ron Cherry Natural Resources Manager shovel the dirt around a young live oak tree as a symbol of the installation’s dedication to conservation and urban renewal. This is the 25th year that NAS Whiting Field has planted a tree as the final step in achieving the Arbor Day Foundation’s designation as a Tree City USA. U.S. Navy photo by Jamie Link.
Posted in Military