CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
In an open field, browned from the relentless sun, members of the 27th Special Operations Wing break ground on new life. Volunteers quickly assemble around the venue, preparing for the ceremony to ensue. The sapling was ready to be planted, the plot was dug, and even the sun made a special appearance.
The tree planting ceremony, in honor of Arbor Day and headlined by Col. Robert A. Masaitis, 27 SOW commander, was a step in the direction of environmental consciousness. Signed into effect at Cannon Air Force Base April 22, 2021, and marked by this historic tradition, the event signified the relationship Cannon has with our environment.
“It is important that we are aware of our relationship with the environment and how our actions affect the environment's health,” said Sarah Jennings, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron interim element chief and environmental engineer.
With each new effort Cannon considers the ecosystem around the installation, with a focus on maintaining the area and creating a sustainable future.
“Environmental health is considered with each action or project taken on the main installation and Melrose Air Force Range,” Jennings said. “Base trees that are dead, dying or diseased are being removed and native, drought tolerant trees which are being used as replacements. New plantings will be from the Cannon Air Force Base approved plant list that includes only plants from local or nearby areas.”
The 27 SOW prioritizes eco-friendly processes to reduce our carbon footprint such as recycling. Cannon has an active recycling program to minimize the amount of solid waste going to landfills and to maximize the reuse of materials.
“Think about the environment before you act,” said Dr. Charles Dixon, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron natural resource program manager. “Recycle and reuse all items possible. When planting, use native plants that do not need large amounts of water. Use resources wisely, minimize your impact on the Earth.”
The Air Force has embarked on a new way forward, focusing on the environment around us with an effort on sustaining a healthy ecosystem.
“We are all part of the environment and you, your family and those who follow are dependent on a healthy habitat,” said Jennings. “Recycling, minimizing use of herbicides and pesticides, proper disposal of all hazardous materials, report chemical spills, plant vegetation native to the area with reduced water needs, be frugal in energy use, daily water use, do not litter...think about how your actions will affect your future”