Support our mission
Classmates Kendall Olinger, right, and Channda Mitchell walk along one of the walkways leading between the apartment buildings at the Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, Gricignano housing area. The small, green shrubs caught lots of trash, and the girls spent much of the late morning bent over picking it up during the base's annual Earth Day commemoration.

Classmates Kendall Olinger, right, and Channda Mitchell walk along one of the walkways leading between the apartment buildings at the Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, Gricignano housing area. The small, green shrubs caught lots of trash, and the girls spent much of the late morning bent over picking it up during the base's annual Earth Day commemoration. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Naval Support Activity Naples held its largest Earth Day program to date — so large, in fact, that it’s impossible to tell just how much money went into promoting the event.

Impossible to tell, that is, because the rulers that were given away were made of recycled plastic and, of all things, shredded U.S. currency. Nearly all of the Naples Earth Day giveaways — bags, ball caps and T-shirts — were made with recycled materials.

“Things got bigger,” Laura Myers of the base’s environmental division said about the day’s events. “One is, it’s a Friday, and the kids are also out of school.”

Earth Day, which celebrated its 35th anniversary on Friday, was started by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, R-Wis. Nelson wanted to start a nationwide day of “protest” for the environment. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day activities.

About 200 million people worldwide now celebrate the day, including many on military bases in Europe. Getting people to be more aware of their environment, Myers said, is key to Earth Day.

“That’s the goal,” she said. “We want to make people more aware of what they throw away and what they recycle.”

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe worked to increase awareness among its pupils. At Sembach Elementary School in Germany, for example, first- and second-graders conducted a scavenger hunt to make the children more aware of nature.

Students from Heidelberg, Germany, helped with the Patrick Henry Village Earth Day Rally, collecting nearly 2 tons of recyclables, saving the local base support battalion $2,000 in garbage removal costs.

At Naval Station Rota, Spain, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Environmental departments helped set up a five-part exhibit focusing on paper and glass recycling. Students held competitions and made arts and crafts from recyclables.

Rota also got a “once-over” by residents with a base cleanup and a 5-kilometer run. On Saturday, the base will host an environmental awareness party, complete with environmentally themed prizes.

In Naples, dozens of volunteers fanned out Friday to pick up trash in a basewide cleanup.

Classmates Kendall Olinger, 12, and Channda Mitchell, 11, walked along one of the wide walkways between the apartment buildings. Small, green shrubs had caught lots of trash, and the girls spent much of the late morning bent over picking it up.

“We started out as a group with the Seabees,” said Channda, “but they ditched us and spread out and went their separate ways.”

But the girls were quickly filling their bags with candy wrappers, cans and miscellaneous bits of plastic and paper after only 20 minutes of trash hunting. Gusts of wind occasionally brought them another piece or two.

The Seabees, it seemed, might have done well sticking around the girls.

“Here in Italy there’s so much trash,” said Kendall. “It’s fun to help out and make it look better so visitors from outside the country won’t come in and say it’s so dirty.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up