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NEWS | April 2, 2010

Federal Facilities Managers Check Out Base Environmental Accomplishments

By Brian Chwalisz, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs Naval Air Station Jacksonville

Federal facilities managers from the United States and Guam toured Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., March 9.

The tour was part of the annual Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) Federal Facilities Managers Symposium at the Omni Hotel in downtown Jacksonville. 

Managers included Maureen Sullivan, director, Environmental Management, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations & Environment). 

Kevin Gartland, NAS Jacksonville environmental director, briefed the managers on the air station's strategic and visionary environmental stewardship, new construction projects and contaminated site cleanups. Also addressed, was the installation's key role in support of the warfighter and Maritime Strategy. 

"We wanted the facility managers to see the operational side of the NAS Jacksonville, including the Navy's largest P-3 hangar and the new helicopter maritime strike force hangar, which are the first two hangars in the Navy to receive the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environment Designed certification," said Gartland. "We also wanted them to meet our naval aviators and to understand the conservation and industrial efforts made by our military and civilian workforce." 

Gartland noted that the air station partners with the state of Florida, Environmental Protection Agency and Citizen Restoration Advisory Board to investigate and clean up contaminated sites on the installation dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. 

"Working together to achieve common clean-up goals has been the key to the tremendous success of the partnering team and advisory board," said Gartland. 

Making stops at VP-5 in Hangar 511, HSL-44 in Hangar 1122 and Black Point Watchable Wildlife Center, the tour made its way around the station's boundaries. At the Helo Hangar 1122, Lt. Garrett Crysler, from HSL-44 operations, explained the squadron's mission tasks and aircraft maintenance requirements. 

"I am impressed with the quality of the environmental team here, as well as the overall base. The dedication to preservation and the willingness to step up to the challenges presented is wonderful," stated Sullivan. "I am interested in the clean-up programs and preservation process. The fact that we are actually making progress with cleaning and protecting the base environment as well as preserving the historical sites is noteworthy."

Stopping at the Black Point Watchable Wildlife Center, the managers had the opportunity to observe live wildlife exhibits while asking questions pertaining to youth educational programs provided by Christine Bauer, NAS Jacksonville's natural/cultural resource manager. 

"I think it's wonderful to have this interpretive center to focus on the future with young children," said Dania Rodriguez, ASTSWMO deputy executive director. "If you teach children what is right at a young age, be it recycling, material reuse or land and animal protection, I think it will stay with them for life."

Completing the tour with a drive through of the new military housing, Gartland pointed out historical sites and explained the ongoing construction projects. 

"We are very proud to be part of the NAS Jacksonville team and are eager to show the air station off to groups like ASTSWMO," said Gartland.