Planting Trees, Motivation and Knowledge for the Earth
By: Denise Lineberry

NASA Langley's Environmental Management Branch (EMB) planted a new tradition on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by also proclaiming it as Arbor Day.

This proclamation, along with other efforts, may make NASA Langley a candidate for "Tree City USA" certification, a national program sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree City USA program provides direction, technical assistance, public education and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs.

The idea to combine Earth Day and Arbor Day came from Peter VanDyke of the EMB, who is seeking certification into the program.

To qualify for Tree City USA status, four standards must be met: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance.

Tonya Kiefer passes out trees for Arbor Day.

Tonya Kiefer of the Environmental Management Branch worked the table for the plant and tree give away and exchange in honor of Earth Day and Langley's Arbor Day, April 22. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

Click on the image for a larger view

Outside of the cafeteria, employees stopped by a table to pick up or exchange a tree or a plant. One employee dropped off radishes. Another picked up a maple tree. A variety of trees and flowers were available for the taking.

"We've given more than 20 away already," said Tonya Kiefer of the EMB. "And we still have another hour."

Later that afternoon, Kiefer, VanDyke and Jim McGrath went to the Langley Child Development Center where they helped some of the students build and paint bird feeders made from 100 percent recycled plastics. They also planted a flowering dogwood, Virginia's state tree.

Inside the cafeteria, exhibits showcased Langley's efforts to preserve our home planet, including the LaRC Energy Reduction Campaign, which is taking place during this quarter (April, May and June). The highest reduction in electricity use from the same quarter of FY2009 will determine the winners.

Bobby Charles, NASA Langley's energy manager, explained that there will be four winning buildings, one in each category for services, office, labs and shops, and finally, storage.

Buildings with high energy intensity or irregular operating schedules are excluded, and some buildings may be grouped together. Disqualification is possible if there is a significant change in space utilization, population or efficiency.

Charles hopes that recognition received, in the form of a banner, will lead the center into an overall saving of energy.

Langley has already made conservation a trend. Signs displayed in the cafeteria show a steady decrease in water consumption between 2007 to 2010 and also in energy consumption from 2003 to 2010.

Another effort, led by Charles, is the Inter-Center Energy Competition between all participating NASA centers. This competition will compare consumption from 2009 to 2010. The center showing the highest reduction in energy use will win.

The EMB also provided an exhibit about the green efforts of New Town, including a new green building that will have a “green roof” with water retention. The exhibit also included a digital overview of the proposed New Town layout.

Ideas such as non-paper initiatives, or using both sides of the paper (duplexing) when printing can't be avoided, were being promoted. Green supplies were suggested, along with this year’s added initiative to plant a tree.

Also in honor of Earth Day, Alicia Baturoni and three NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Kennedy Space Center talked talk about different technologies and projects to help make Earth a "greener" planet through the Langley-led Digital Learning Network (DLN).

The Science Directorate is planning "Party for the Planet: Earth Day at the Zoo" (http://www.virginiazoo.org/zoohappenings/PartyforPlanet.asp). This event will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. NASA will staff a table offering activities and handouts on air quality, climate and alternative energy.


The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Keith Henry