Freedom Elementary School students learn about Warren’s conservation efforts

  • Published
  • By Airman Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Earth Day is a time to consider the impact one has on the environment during day-to-day activities. The Mighty Ninety has numerous ways in which it is at the forefront of the effort to keep the world clean.

Freedom Elementary sixth-grade students visited several of the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron's Earth-friendly facilities April 23 in observance of Earth Day.

"We just want to give them some awareness of what the base is doing to conserve energy and recycle," said Lisa Lee, Freedom Elementary School sixth-grade teacher.

Kirk Schaumann, 90th CES air quality manager, accompanied the students and teachers on their visit.

"They developed Earth Day as a way to change the minds of American citizens into thinking about how their actions affect the environment," Schaumann said. "The Air Force [members] consider every day to be Earth Day. They try to keep the environment in mind when performing all of their actions."

The students' first stop was the base compost facility where Ernie Cisneros, 90th CES grounds quality assurance, spoke to them about the facility.

The compost facility takes pallets used on base that would otherwise be sent to a landfill and grinds them into wood chips to be used as mulch in landscaping. Active-duty members, Department of Defense employees and retirees are welcome to use the mulch produced at the facility, Cisneros said.

"If we didn't have a compost facility, all of those pallets would end up in a landfill," Cisneros said. "If compost can be recycled and put back into landscaping, why not?"

The next stop on the student's trip was the base recycling center, where they listened to David Ewaliko, 90th CES quality assurance personnel, describe the base's recycling process.

"We recycle cardboard, paper, aluminum, plastics and all the precious metals," Ewaliko said. "We save 30 percent of trash from going to the landfill."

Out of the approximately 80 tons of trash produced at F. E. Warren each month on average, the recycling center recycles approximately 20 tons, Ewaliko said.

While at the facility, the students heard from Bill Goings, 90th CES hazardous waste program manager. He told the students about the necessity of cleaning up hazardous wastes on base.

Those in the hazardous waste program identify leaked substances and decide how to keep them from polluting the environment, Goings said.

The final stop on the students' visit was to one of the three wind turbines on base. There, John Swett, 90th CES contracting officer representative, discussed with them the role the wind turbines play in conservation.

The V47 turbines atop 50 meter tubular towers convert wind energy into 2,600 kilowatts of electricity. This saves the base money by reducing the cost of powering the base, Swett said.

"When you compare maintenance cost with how much we save, we're ahead of the game," Swett said. "We save about $30,000 each month."

Swett also said the turbines help protect the environment by reducing the need for polluting energy sources.

The Freedom Elementary students were shown various ways in which F. E. Warren contributes to protecting the environment.

"The Air Force considers the environment very seriously," Schaumann said. "All of our programs and systems incorporate an environmental ethic."