COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Defense Supply Center Columbus Environmental Office is on a mission – a mission to make a difference not only for the workforce today, but for generations to come.
Environmental initiatives at DSCC span from community projects and recycling to land use and air quality and everything in between.
“We’re kicking-off our initiatives now to become a Tree City. April seemed like the right time as it’s the official start of spring and includes both Arbor Day and Earth Day,” said Nicole Goicochea, acting environmental division chief.
April Environmental Activities
- Shred Day, April 18
- Arbor Day Celebration, April 26
- Announcement of Native Prairie, TBD
- Children’s Garden Preparation for the Child Development Center, in progress
“Pollinators are on the decline all across the U.S.,” Goicochea said. “Specifically, the rusty patch bumble bee, which is local to Franklin County, was just added to the endangered species list. Actually, Franklin County has five endangered butterflies and bees.”
The main reason for the decline in populations is habitat loss and pesticide use. Goicochea explained that this is why the environmental office established a project to provide a natural habitat on DSCC.
A native prairie refers to land in its original or natural state and is an important part of the ecosystem.
The installation’s native prairie efforts were completed in December 2017 and this spring will be the first bloom, although associates will not see the entire floral display until 2019.
The prairie is located west of the Army Corps of Engineers’ building 330, near the north perimeter. It consists of all native Ohio grasses, perennials and annuals. The mix was formulated for pollinators and contains blooms for spring, summer and fall.
Additionally, the prairie will have a 10-feet wide buffer of grass along a black top path that will allow associates to take a walk and enjoy the flowers. Please don’t pick the flowers.
In addition to the native prairie, the installation is working on becoming a Tree City.
Over the course of the year, DSCC plans to plant a combination of mature trees and bare root seedlings around the installation.
To become a Tree City four standards must be met.
- Establishment of a Tree Board – DSCC’s tree board will be responsible for the care of all the trees on the installation and will consist of associates throughout the installation.
- A Tree Care Ordinance – This ordinance provides clear guidance for planting, maintaining and removing trees from streets, parks and other public spaces.
- A Community Forestry Program – City trees provide many benefits – clean air, clean water, shade and beauty, but they also require an investment to remain healthy and sustainable. This program ensures that possibility.
- An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation – DSCC will host an Arbor Day celebration April 26 for associates to celebrate the installation’s commitment to the environment and the final step required to become a Tree City.
“DSCC is dedicated to solid waste diversion efforts,” Goicochea said.
Recycling bins are strategically placed throughout the installation and within all of DLA Land and Maritime’s Operations Center breakrooms.
Recently, the environmental office established a recycling committee with representatives throughout the installation. The goal of this committee is to help reduce waste from landfills to 50 percent. Currently, DSCC’s diversion efforts are at 42 percent.
“The input from this committee on recycling efforts and ideas as well as the members’ assistance will help us reach our goals,” Goicochea said.
Efforts do not end with the workforce.
Educating the next generation is just as important. The environmental division has been working with the installation’s Child Development Center to discuss recycling and its importance.
The pre-kindergarten class at the CDC put together a video project on recycling after completing a six-week study on the topic.
For the last four years, the environmental office has partnered with the CDC to plant a vegetable and sensory garden.
Associates from the environmental office talk with the children and explain the importance of why they plant items, including reasons such as to provide oxygen to breathe, food to eat and plants to see.
Goicochea shared that it’s important for kids to not only know why items are planted but to understand where the food comes from and about the ecosystems.
Teachers agree the best part about the school garden is that students are learning while enjoying the little things – the way the lambs ear feels, the smell of the basil, the colors of marigolds and enjoying time outside with nature.
Preparation for this year’s garden is underway as part of Earth Day celebrations; although the planting doesn’t occur until May due to weather.
If you would like to be more involved in environmental concerns on the installation, there are many ways to make an impact.
Become a Recycling Representative
Recycling representatives meet every other month to discuss initiatives, assist with projects and provide feedback on current efforts. Volunteer opportunities include helping with the Native Prairie or butterfly puddlers, a shallow puddle designed as a drinking source for butterflies, and assisting with recycling bin placements. Contact the environmental office for more information.
Environmental Coordination Committee
This committee is open to all associates who work on DSCC. It meets quarterly to discuss environmental initiatives and answer any questions members might have regarding environmental concerns. Contact the environmental office for more information.