Mountain Home AFB environmental efforts blossom

Satellite Image of Earth from one million miles away.

A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- On Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 27) various events are held worldwide to support environmental protection and to honor our planet. The U.S. Air Force celebrates Earth Day and Arbor Day, but also takes action throughout the year to be environmentally friendly.

Here at Mountain Home AFB, and at installations across the Air Force, environmental agencies have taken initiatives to lower costs and save energy. Additionally, bases have begun to use renewable energy to help sustain their needs.

According to last year’s recycling data, Mountain Home AFB prevented 619 tons of material from entering landfills.

“By reusing items we give them a longer life span, which helps us save money by not re-purchasing additional items,” said Leslie Pena, 366th Civil Engineering Squadron natural resource manager wildlife biologist. “Less money spent on re-purchasing the same items is more money that can be put towards our mission.”

In addition to recycling, the base participates in the Green Procurement Program which requires government purchase card holders and contractors to buy environmentally friendly products whenever possible.

Moreover, Mountain Home AFB is the first Air Force installation to test reusable to-go containers at the base dining facility. The containers will eliminate the cost of using Styrofoam products and help reduce environmental impact.

The 366th Fighter Wing was also named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

The base achieved Tree City USA by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home coloring costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, along with many other benefits.

“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Mountain Home AFB make smart investments in urban forests,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day foundation. “Trees bring shade to our home and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Mountain Home AFB’s actions to become more environmentally friendly have helped reduce pollution, save landfill space, conserve resources and helped pave the way for other organizations to run similar operations.