A group of sailors cleaning around Naval Air Station Fallon on Tuesday morning expressed their amazement with the number of bags they filled with trash.
“We’ve filled up six bags,” said MM1 Aaron McDaniel. “We have picked up beer bottles and cans, enough broken glass to fill a 12-pack. We also found four or five of the huge water bottles.”
The groups stood silent for a moment. “How can they do that and not feel guilty,” ABF3 Willie Moore said of the litterbugs.
McDaniel chimed in.
“It’s amazing what people do,” he said.
McDaniel, who has participated in his second Earth Day cleanup at NAS Fallon, said the trash seemed to be worse last year; however, he figured the valley winds carried paper and other trash to the base.
McDaniel — along with Moore, AT2 Michael Witter and A02 Ricky Lavesi — had just walked four miles around part of the base’s perimeter, beginning on Berney Road and then to Pasture Road toward the main gate. The sailors and others participated in the annual trash pickup around the base as part of NAS Fallon’s involvement with Earth Day activities that began last week.
Anna Keyzers from NAS Fallon’s environmental office has helped organize Earth Day activities for several years. Although the official Earth Day remembrance was Monday, she said the base extends its observation for about a week.
“We like to get the sailors involved,” she said. “We have about 60 to 70 volunteers today.”
Keyzers had hoped for more volunteers, but she said some of the commands were busy and couldn’t release more sailors to help with the litter pickup.
Last week, she said the air station conducted its annual Earth Day Fair at the base’s Sorenson Park. Keyzers said the fair allows outside agencies, as well as the air station’s commands and tenants, to display programs designed to make the Earth a better place.
“We had agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM (Bureau of Land Management), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Lattin Farms and Nevada Public Lands,” she said.
Entities from the air station, said Keyzers, included presentations on energy, the environment and Fleet and Family Services.
“We wanted to get out more information about the environment,” she said.
Sailors new to NAS Fallon also praised the air station’s involvement with Earth Day.
“Any time we can help the environment is worthwhile,” said AOC Chief Bryan Wilcox.
Two sailors from the Aviation Support detail agreed. LLSR Kenni Guerrero and LLSR Brittany Shipley also picked up broken glass, bottles, beer and pop cans along Pasture Road as they walked south toward the main gate. During two hours of scouring the ground, they picked up trash, Guerrero said they filled up two bags with bottles, cigarette butts and cartons and had started on their third bag.
“I’m surprised what the people throw out,” Shipley said.
While NAS Fallon personnel have been busy participating in Earth Day events, so too have members of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe.
Sponsored by the FPST’s environmental department, the annual Earth Week celebration offers different activities, said Carmen Gonzales, environmental protection specialist.
Gonzales said today and Thursday is Dumpster Days, which allows residents of the colony and reservation to throw away items that can’t be recycled. Gonzales said this is one of the longest running Earth Week event. Dumpsters will be available.
A free flea yard sale will also take place today and Thursday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the FPST gym on Mission Road.
Gonzales said people give their used items to someone who can use them, which she calls the ultimate form of recycling. Remaining items will be donated to local charities.
Saturday culminates the activities with an Earth Mother Child Walk in the morning beginning from the FPST administration building and an Earth Week celebration at Fox Peak from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
“We’re going to have booths set up,” said Gonzales, referring to Earth Week events. “The different booths will have activities for the families.”
She said some of the activities will center on building community gardens and taking care of the desert’s water.