German, American students join forces at Soldiers Lake for combined Earth Day/Arbor Day event

Students at the 2017 Earth Day / Arbor Day celebration and outdoor workshop learn about water filtration at Soldiers Lake April 26.

Story and photos by Stephen Baack, USAG Ansbach Public Affairs

ANSBACH, Germany (April 26, 2017) – Nearly 140 German and American students gathered April 25 at Soldiers Lake for U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach’s combined Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration and outdoor workshop.

Led by the Directorate of Public Works, this year’s event welcomed fourth-graders from Johann-Heinrich-Pestalozzi School Ansbach and third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Ansbach Elementary School to learn about environmental topics with a focus on water.

According to Daniel Woernlein, environmental protection specialist with DPW’s Environmental Management Division, this event marked the 10th anniversary celebrating Earth Day at USAG Ansbach in this way – but it was the first time it took place at Soldiers Lake. Previously, the celebration was held at Oberdachstetten Training Area.

As for previous years’ celebrations, DPW enlisted a variety of environmental experts from organizations both on and off post. These included DPW’s own Environmental Management Division, and Buildings and Grounds, along with specialists from Ansbach’s Water Management and Environmental Office, and fishing experts from the District of Middle Franconia.

For the Earth Day event, the students split into seven groups and rotated through seven hands-on educational stations around the lake. Topics/workshops included a sensing/tasting station; water cycle and water quality; water filtration; arts and crafts; beaver habitat exhibit; fish exhibit (with live crawfish); and the last station, tree planting.

The tree-planting station doubled as this year’s Arbor Day celebration. With shovels in hand, each group of students planted one of three species of trees: Dutch elm, European hop-hornbeam and the silver linden/basswood.

Last year, two beavers took up residence at Soldiers Lake and felled several trees for food and for use in their lakeside dam. Although the beavers – nicknamed Klaus and Sabine – are welcome members of the USAG Ansbach community, DPW is making sure to install tree-guards around these newly planted trees.

To see the full album of photos from the event, visit

To learn more about environmental efforts at USAG Ansbach, visit For more environmental news, visit

Students at the 2017 Earth Day / Arbor Day celebration and outdoor workshop prepare to plant a tree at Soldiers Lake April 26. On the right is Col. Benjamin Jones, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach commander.

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