Mason Wells, Reginald Avery and Micah Ray plant various flowers outside of the Army Community Service Building during the ACS Earth Day Celebration, April 21. 

Improving our planet, one flower at a time

Story, photo by Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Fifty-three years after the first ever Earth Day, Fort Jackson’s Army Community Service hosted an Earth Day Celebration, April 21.

The Army Community Service Exceptional Family Member Program invited children who attend Child, Youth Service centers to participate in the Earth Day Celebration.

“We have different art activities set up for them just to highlight the importance of taking care of our planet, environment, and so forth,” said Irene Mehaffie, Exception Family Member Program specialist with ACS. “We are going to plant some flowers up front of our building and then we also have something nice to give away to the children.”

Gift bags for the children included Earth-shaped erasers, pens, and bookmarks – all detailing the importance of taking care of our planet.

Earth Day was created in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, junior senator from Wisconsin; Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican congressman from California; and Denis Hayes, an environmental activist. These men worked together to organize campus teach-ins after they saw the effects of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Hayes inspired 20 million Americans to demonstrate and protest 150 years of negative impacts created by the onset of the Industrial Revolution.

The first Earth Day inspired millions to work together and help preserve our planet. This national event sparked the beginning of the United States’s conservation efforts.

By the end of the year, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency was created and the federal government passed the first few environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Education Act. Other environmental protection laws would soon follow.

Children from Fort Jackson Child, Youth Services colored their own mini seed planters and Earth Day bags which were made from recycled materials. They were also given the opportunity to plant flowers outside of the ACS building.

“This is our second time we’re doing this and we’re hoping to make it an annual event,” said Brandi Palmer, Exceptional Family Member Program coordinator.

You can see the fruits of their labor outside of the ACS building at 9810 Lee Road, Fort Jackson.