May 4, 2012

NAWS holds second annual Earth Day Fair

By Michael Roach
Editor, Rocketeer II
Photo by Peggy Shoaf
School age children enjoy the activities offered at the environmental booth during China Lake’s second annual Earth Day Fair.

Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake and tenant commands hosted the second annual Earth Day Fair April 20 at China Lake’s Solar Park. The fair focused on ongoing and future conservation efforts by the Navy.

A sailor scales MWR’s climbing wall.

“Protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility and something the Navy takes very seriously,” said Peggy Shoaf, the station’s public affairs officer and coordinator of the event.  “This event gives us the opportunity to educate those who live and work on the base, as well as the local community, on ways they can participate in protecting the environment. It also gives the base an opportunity to show what it is doing to protect the environment.”

Open to the community from noon to 4 p.m., approximately 400 attendees came to Solar Park to enjoy the weather, information, activities and of course to grab something to eat as MWR catered to the lunchtime crowd until 1 p.m. While many attendees ate under the shade at park benches, others picnicked in the grass. Those interested in more physical activities were able to test their skill at MWR’s climbing wall.

A family picnics in the grass during the China Lake’s Earth Day Fair.

Past and future NAWS conservation projects such as xeriscaping parts of the Administrative Building’s front lawn were unveiled by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest Division‘s Energy Management Office. Since 2007, NAWS has reduced its water usage by 43 percent.

Water conservation, which is always a priority in a desert environment, was discussed by the Indian Wells Valley Water District, who also gave away supplies to aid in those conservation efforts at home.

The Resource Conservation District handed out free pine tree seedlings for anyone wishing to plant a tree at home.

Additionally, attendees visited booths with information about the station’s photovoltaic project and Coso Geothermal, the third largest geothermal plant in the nation.

Two bicyclists tour the booths at the Earth Day Fair. Bicyclists received free t-shirts from NAVFAC Southwest’s Environmental Management Office.

Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) highlighted its biofuel, a clean burning replacement for jet fuel. The project not only benefits the environment but will hopefully help lessen the nation’s dependency on foreign oil, said Edward Roper from the NAWCWD Public Affairs Office.

Attendees were given a prime example of the need for environmental responsibility in the desert as the Turtle and Tortoise Club showcased two endangered desert tortoises and an African tortoise.
“Next year’s fair will be even bigger,” said Shoaf.  “I plan on inviting all environmentally-related non-profit organizations to participate.  I hope this event continues to grow in what we can provide and in attendees.”NAVFAC Command Southwest Division’s Environmental Management Office exchanged cloth bags for plastic bags and gave out a free t-shirt to anyone who biked to the fair.  In addition, the code showcased archaeological artifacts and offered face and hand paintings of petroglyphs.

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