Region NW commands Celebrate Earth Day with Gold Star families

Capt. Chad Brooks, commanding officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest (NAVFAC NW), digs the ceremonial first hole alongside Jerry Clarke, lead forester, NAVFAC NW, during an Earth Day event with Gold Star families at the 9/11 Remembrance Park onboard Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. Earth Day is celebrated annually worldwide to demonstrate support for sustainable environmental protection. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan J. Batchelder/Released)

Commands throughout Navy Region northwest celebrated Earth Day alongside Gold Star families during an event at the 9/11 Remembrance Park onboard Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, April 22.

This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species,” which serves to promote awareness for the protection of endangered species and highlight everyday actions for Sailors, Marines, Department of the Navy civilians and their family members.

“The Navy recognizes the stewardship of the Puget Sound waters,” said Capt. Chad Brooks, commanding officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest. “We are committed to protecting the marine and coastal environments of the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska. Navy programs have been established to care for and protect threatened and endangered plants and wildlife for many years.”

During the event, 100 new trees were planted and two plaques were unveiled and dedicated in honor of Gold Star families and the fallen loved ones they have lost.

“I’m honored by how many people came out to support this and were able to make it so special for the families,” said Christy Forsling, Navy Gold Star Regional Coordinator, Navy Region Northwest. “The more that we can embrace, include, and acknowledge our Gold Star families at events like this, the more impact we can have throughout the Navy community.”

After the dedication, Sailors, volunteers, and family members rolled up their sleeves, put on gloves, and went to work tackling the task of planting 100 trees in a recently cleared and prepared area of the park.

“It’s a terrific honor to spend some time with both the Gold Star organization and all of these volunteers out here for Earth Day,” said Brooks. “Earth Day is a very important commemoration for the Navy, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, to protect and maintain our areas of responsibility for future generations.”

Earth Day is celebrated nationally every year on April 22, but the Navy hosts various cleanups, events, and efforts throughout the months of April and May in an effort to help protect the environment and foster stewardship throughout the field and fleet.

This year, the Navy will plant more than 25,000 native trees and shrubs around Navy Region Northwest.