MCLB celebrates Earth Day

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

MCLB-ALBANY -- Forty years ago, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin founded Earth Day on the principle that everyone could take part to make this world a cleaner place to live.

On Thursday, an area military installation made a contribution.

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany held numerous events throughout the day on and around the base, ranging from a cleanup alongside Mock Road to tree and flower plantings to a weighing of recyclable materials from various offices around the installation.

"We feel it's important to do our part," said Staff Sgt. Chris Callier, who was one of the 15 Marines to assist with the cleanup. "We feel we are a part of the community. We care about the city."

Immediately following the cleanup, and a tree planting at Covella Pond, Base Commanding Officer Col. Terry Williams paid a visit to the installation's child development center to help toddler and pre-K children plant some 50 flowers just outside the facility.

"Earth Day speaks to the whole greening of the Marine base," Williams said. "It shows the community we care about the environment. It's also good for the children because the earlier we get children involved, the easier it will be for them later."

Dorothy Bryant, director of the child development center, said she has seen the impact this annual ritual has had on the children.

"They nurture them (the flowers) and water them," she said. "This is so they (the children) can understand the importance of it as they grow. And, as they get older, they get more nurturing."

The flowers were donated by the children's parents as well as the base's environmental division.

Over the last several months, the base has been active in instituting practices designed to allow its personnel to perform their daily tasks in a more environmentally friendly manner. The biggest thing currently in the works is a landfill gas project meant to operate a combined heat and power generator.

A new facility is being designed to use the gas in a reciprocating engine that will produce electricity. In addition to generating 1.9 megawatts of electricity, heat will be recovered to produce steam in a heat recovery steam generator. Heat from the jacket will be used to produce hot water, which, in turn, is to be used in various processes at Maintenance Center Albany.

"This speaks to how important we feel this is," Williams. "It's about making mandates, but it's also about showing the community the seriousness of taking care of the environment long-term."

The project came about as a result of a 20-year partnership made late last year with Dougherty County to sell gas created by refuse in the landfill to the base. A geothermal project and a fleet transition to more electrical and hybrid vehicles are among the other things the installation has in the works to reduce its carbon footprint.

"This (the mission to make the base and surrounding areas more environmentally-friendly) has become a unified effort with the city as a whole," Bryant said. "It's a healthy thing when streets and yards are clean; you don't have health hazards."