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News > Students get up close and personal with Homestead ARB's environmental attractions
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 Students from Homestead, Fla.'s Air Base Elementary Green Team got a chance to learn about the environment during a base tour here May 13.
 The environmental tour was conducted as an educational experience for the school's Green Team in conjunction with Earth Day. The team includes more than 25 children, from grades three through five, who are part of the environmentally focused school club.
 
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Students get up close and personal with Homestead ARB’s environmental attractions
Students from Homestead, Fla.’s Air Base Elementary Green Team plant a slash pine in the Pine Rockland Restoration Site during an environmental tour at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., May 13. The environmental tour was conducted as an educational experience for the Green Team in conjunction with Earth Day. The team includes more than 25 children, from grades three through five, who are part of the environmentally focused school club. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicholas Caceres)
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Students get up close and personal with Homestead ARB's environmental attractions

Posted 5/17/2013   Updated 5/17/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Nicholas Caceres
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/17/2013 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- Students from Homestead, Fla.'s Air Base Elementary Green Team got a chance to learn about the environment during a base tour here May 13.

The environmental tour was conducted as an educational experience for the school's Green Team in conjunction with Earth Day. The team includes more than 25 children, from grades three through five, who are part of the environmentally focused school club.

The tour began with tree planting at the Pine Rockland Restoration Site on base. There, the students assisted in replanting 10 kinds of tree species native to Florida, including the South Florida Slash Pine (also known as Dade County Pine) and the Coontie. The Coontie is only found in South Florida Slash Pine habitats and is the sole host plant for the Atala butterfly.

"My favorite part of today was the planting because bringing back native species is important," said fifth grader Jessie Rivera.

The tour then made its way to the base recycling center where the team was shown the real world cost-saving and environmental benefits of recycling.

"It's great to be able to showcase the capabilities of our recycling center," said Mr. Tim Driscoll, base environmental protection specialist. "There are so many benefits to utilizing a recycling center and it's really important that we teach younger generations about this process."

The Green Team then took a quick look at the many solar panels installed throughout the base and learned how they work.

"It's one thing to read about solar energy in a book, but to actually see the use of solar powered golf carts, solar lighting, and other solar applications brings it all together," said Mr. Lawrence Ventura, 482nd Mission Support Group Environmental Flight chief.

The next stop of the tour went to the base supply store, where recycled goods were readily available, demonstrating the recycling process full circle.

"Our Green Purchase Program really provides prospective," said Ventura. "While kids are taught to put their recycled plastic bottles in the recycling bin, seeing the actual products made from those plastic bottles for sale in our base supply store really makes them understand the whole recycling triangle."

The tour continued by highlighting the "green building" features of the base Fire Department. The Fire Department building was made incorporating sustainable features and design practices; some of which include reusing the existing facility during renovation, cabinets and carpeting manufactured from recycled content, and the use of natural lighting on the second floor.

The Fire Department's water recycling unit was quite a learning experience for the students as well. The unit recycles the water used to wash fire trucks. The used water goes into drains which lead to the water recycling unit before being routed back into the hose and used once again. It's a very important feature as it reduces the amount of virgin water withdrawn from the Biscayne Aquifer, the sole source of drinking water in Miami-Dade County.

"I believe the environmental tour that we have put together has many benefits for both the Green Team and the base," said Ventura. "For the kids of Air Base Elementary, they are enriched by the ability to see principle put into practice, and these tours really highlight the base's commitment to environmental stewardship."



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