ANSBACH, Germany – Arbor Day is a reoccurring date in the garrison’s calendar; this year, about 40 children, second-graders from Ansbach Elementary School and homeschooled students, gathered at the Fire Training Center on Urlas to plant several fruit trees with the help of the Environmental Management Division. Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier welcomed the students, parents and teachers, thanking them for their support of the event.
Despite the sudden drop in temperatures and a blustering wind, the students listened patiently as Daniel Wörnlein, acting chief of DPW’s Environmental Management Division talked to them about the importance of trees for the environment: “Trees produce the air we breathe. With the help of sunlight and water, they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, an essential gas for living beings. They clean-up the air and filter dust and other contaminants with their leaves,” he explained. “This is why we call trees and forests the green lungs of the earth.”
The fruit trees, which will blossom about this time next year, were planted to create a “meadow orchard,” a traditional Franconian fruit tree arrangement, to give the bees in the new Urlas beehive another food source option.
Wörnlein also asked the students living in Urlas Housing to remind their parents to help the garrison water the trees near their house. “The current drought is dangerous for the trees; they need at least a hundred liters [about 25 gallons] of water a week, so ask them to not only water their yards, but also the trees close by.”
The children proceeded to shovel dirt into the wholes holding the new trees, and learned from the garrison arborist, Roland Krug, that it takes more than that. “You have to make sure the trees don’t fall over and secure them with poles. Then we paint them with white tree paint, so they don’t get a sunburn.” In a group effort, all trees were successfully planted, secured and watered.
Arbor Day is an environmental initiative observed in many countries around the world to highlight the important role of trees. The dates differ according to the local season; trees are usually planted in spring.
To view more photos of the event, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/usagansbachphotos/albums/72157704781307552 (U.S. Army photos by Bianca Sowders, USAG Ansbach Public Affairs Office)