“One of the objectives of Fort Bragg is to be sustainable so we can continue to keep the country’s forces ready, and the importance of having more trees cannot be overemphasized,” said John Rose, who works for the Directorate of Public Works and is a member of the Arbor Board.
Arbor Day has been celebrated across the country for 150 years to emphasize the importance of trees in our environment.
Fort Bragg’s DPW, Environmental Division, celebrates Arbor Day by planting a tree on the installation each year.
Friday, in front of the U. S. Army Reserve Command and Forces Command Headquarters, on the Polo Field, a group of people gathered for this Arbor Day tradition.
During the event, officials planted a Willow Oak by Randolph Street, Fort Bragg received its 13th consecutive Tree City USA award and a Soldier was recognized for his outstanding performance as an environmental compliance officer.
The Tree City USA award was presented along with a flag to Fort Bragg Deputy Garrison Commander, Justin Mitchell, by Craig Gottfried, Cumberland County ranger, NCFS, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Previous Arbor Days trees have been planted at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum and the Main Post Parade Field.
Rose said trees play a vital role on the installation.
“Our main focus is street trees, the purpose of which is to, not only create a pleasant driving environment but to shade all the asphalt which reduces the heat,” said Rose.
Fort Bragg works diligently during new construction to strategically include trees to provide shade in their landscape plans, according to Rose.
The inclusion of trees in new constructions is to prevent Fort Bragg from becoming a “heat island.”
The United States Environmental Agency website defines a heat island as, the result of buildings, roads and other infrastructure replacing open land and vegetation, which causes urban regions to become warmer than their rural surroundings, forming an “island” of higher temperatures in the landscape.
“Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality and water quality,” according to the EPA.
To prevent this happening on post, Rose emphasized that, “we have got to improve the number of trees we have at Fort Bragg.”
Rose closed his discussion of the importance of trees with a quote from Ogden Nash, an American poet.
“‘I think that I shall never see a billboard as lovely as a tree. Indeed, lest a billboard fall I shall never see a tree at all,’” said Rose, quoting Nash.
An advanced individual trainer from Company A, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), was called to the front of the crowd by Johnathan Sutton, Arbor Board chair, and intern at DPW, Environmental Division.
“He has gone above and beyond the call of duty as environmental compliance officer,” said Sutton.
Rose presented the Soldier with a handmade Arbor Board unit coin crafted from juniper trees that found around the Old Post Main Chapel.
“Thank you for all you do and your efforts. It goes a long way, and you provide a great example for other Soldiers,” said Sutton to the 1st SWTG (A) Soldier.
Sutton closed the event with the reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation. The 1st SWTG (A) Soldier and Rose, using shovels painted gold, then placed soil over Fort Bragg Polo Field’s newest Willow Oak.