PALMDALE, Calif.–More than 40 civilian Airmen from Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 at Palmdale, Calif., participated in an environmental cleanup at the plant during a base-wide sponsored event that coincided with Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
The clean-up crew, which was organized by the Plant 42 Booster Club, was divided into two main groups of volunteers and covered approximately 15 to 20 miles of ground that included a foreign-object and debris walk at the airfield, and a walk-through portion of the perimeter of Plant 42 along the fence line that included Blackbird Park.
Blackbird Airpark is located outside of the Plant 42 fence and an annex to the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base.
“We started kicking the clean-up idea around within the booster club but then realized that this was really a plant-level deal,” said Ronald Hazelton, logistics section, OL/AF Plant 42. “We brought it up to the Plant 42 director and he supported it. He sent out a message, and then the branch chiefs got involved.”
The event took about two hours to complete and the group collected enough debris to fill most of a dumpster.
“It wasn’t very apparent but there was a lot of debris outside the fence because of the trash that blows into the gate and gets stuck there,” said Bethany Juarez, administrative assistant, logistics section, OL/AF Plant 42.
Although, picking up trash is not a desirable task, the volunteers made the best of it and learned a few valuable facts about the environment.
“We had a lot of folks that were interested,” said Juarez. “There were folks from Environmental Management at the event that gave us some interesting facts about how we can help toward the sustainability of our planet.”
The cleanup ended with a unit barbeque. During the cookout, representatives from environmental talked about ways to support Earth Day.
Environmental Management shared facts and tips about what individuals can do to protect the environment and how a simple task such as picking up trash can help toward maintaining a healthy planet.
“We cannot sustain the mission without sustaining the environment,” said Linnea Norby, Environmental Program Management, OL/AF Plant 42. “The fundamental elements we need to protect are air, water and land. Without any one of them, we will not survive. Little things like clearing trash reduce the burden on our environment by eliminating contaminant transport, reduce risk of trash harm to us and our flora and fauna, and can be reused to reduce our burden on our natural resources.”
At the conclusion of the event, the volunteers collected more than 1,000 lbs. of trash.
“The event was really for everyone’s benefit in the long run. It is not just about making the place that we work at look nicer, but also for the future to help sustain the planet,” said Juarez. “At the end of the day, we had fun; we got to interact with people we don’t usually see every day in our building, so I think it was a pretty good day.”
Air Force Plant 42 is part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and operates as a component of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, which is 23 miles to the northeast.
Most of its facilities are operated by private contractors to build and maintain military aircraft and their components for the United States and its allies.