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Nellis celebrates Earth, Arbor Day

Base and community leadership prepare to plant a Desert Willow tree at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground on Nellis Air Force Base, May 3, 2017. Two Desert Willow trees and two Arizona Ash trees were planted here to celebrate Arbor Day. Both trees are native to the desert ecosystem for their ability to thrive in low water and high heat conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Released)

Base and community leadership prepare to plant a Desert Willow tree at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground on Nellis Air Force Base, May 3, 2017. Two Desert Willow trees and two Arizona Ash trees were planted here to celebrate Arbor Day. Both trees are native to the desert ecosystem for their ability to thrive in low water and high heat conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Released)

Lisa Ortega, state Urban Forester from the Nevada Division of Forestry, discusses the importance of Arbor Day at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground on Nellis Air Force Base, May 3, 2017. Arbor Day is celebrated by planting trees and giving back to the environment. The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Released)

Lisa Ortega, state Urban Forester from the Nevada Division of Forestry, discusses the importance of Arbor Day at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground on Nellis Air Force Base, May 3, 2017. Arbor Day is celebrated by planting trees and giving back to the environment. The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Released)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

Base and community leadership held a tree planting ceremony May 3 to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground here.

Arbor Day and Earth Day highlight the importance of a healthy environment and the impact people can make to positively or negatively affect it. Nellis has already taken the initiative to become eco-friendly.

 “This year’s Earth Day campaign is about environmental and climate literacy,” said Col. William Norton, 99th Mission Support Group commander. “Education is the foundation for progress, and we need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.”

Over one billion people worldwide celebrate Earth Day. As the largest secular observance in the world, community volunteers build eco-friendly parks and gardens in order to educate millions of others about conservation and restoration of the environment.

“Arbor Day is a special day when we take time to give something back to our environment by planting trees,” said Douglas Fitzpatrick, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy commander.

The 99th CES celebrated Arbor Day this year by planting two Desert Willow trees and two Arizona Ash trees at the Desert Eagle RV Park playground here, both of which are native to the desert ecosystem for their ability to thrive in the heat and low water conditions.

“Not only do trees beautify our community, but they moderate temperatures, reduce air, water and noise pollution and provide habitats for wildlife,” said Fitzpatrick.

Norton said everyone can have an impact and work together to sustain a clean and healthy environment.

Some small, but effective, actions anyone can take are turning off the lights when leaving a room or unplugging electronic devices when not in use.

Norton stated that, during the day, the base uses renewable energy from the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America, the Nellis Solar Power Plant. Built in 2009 as part of the expansion to the state’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires at least 20 percent of energy used in the state of Nevada come from a renewable source.

At the end of the ceremony, Norton challenged all Airmen to do their part in affecting the environment around them in a positive manner.

“I challenge you to demonstrate your commitment to the environment by pledging to take a small step to improve the environment not just on Earth Day, but every day,” said Norton. “Collectively, we can lead the way in conserving today to ensure a secure future for the Air Force and our Nation for generations to come.”

By recycling, turning off lights when not in use, conserving water and using “green” products when possible everyone, Airmen and civilians alike, can make the positive change to the world around them.

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