YORKTOWN, Va (NNS) -- Sailors at Naval Weapons Station (WPNSTA) Yorktown celebrated Earth Day, April 22, by planting a tree in Missile Park and picking up trash along approximately 58 miles of roads that cross the more than 15,000 acres of WPNSTA Yorktown and Cheatham Annex (CAX).
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated world-wide to demonstrate support for environmental awareness and protection.
"In 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment from coast-to-coast," said Jennifer Podbesek, environmental director for WPNSTA Yorktown. "Today, Earth Day is now celebrated in more than 192 countries, with more than a billion participants, making it the largest civic event in the world."
The day kicked off at Missile Park where Capt. Paul Haebler, WPNSTA Yorktown commanding officer, and the 2015 Sailors of the Year planted a Bald Cyprus, a tree native to Virginia, in one corner of the park. This annual event demonstrates the Navy's dedication to the environment and a more sustainable future.
"The Navy is on course towards their commitment to the environment, energy conservation and being good stewards while maintaining mission readiness within the fleet," Haebler said.
"Planting a tree is an act of putting down roots and contributing to the future," Podbesek added.
Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin after witnessing the massive oil spill off Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. His goal was to channel the energy of an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, bringing environmental protection to the national public agenda. This led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
"Clean the Base Day is important because it's our own personal way to beautify the command. We take pride in where we work. It teaches us as Sailors to care for our environment and our base," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jennifer Johnston.
Following several hours of walking and collection of more than 100 bags of trash, the Sailors capped off the day with a command picnic to celebrate their hard work.
For more news from Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwsyorktown/.