The official Earth Day has come and gone, but not without considerable attention from the team at Straughan Environmental. This year, there were several activities planned at Straughan’s headquarters and at each of our NASA sites.
Straughan Headquarters – Columbia, MD
At Straughan Columbia office, we coordinated a cleanup activity to celebrate Earth Day. Nearly a dozen employees took to the streets of Columbia to clean up trash and assorted debris. The result? More than a dozen bags of trash and recycling, an old tire, and even a fallen road sign!
NASA Johnson Space Center – Houston, TX
Earth Day at Johnson Space Center fell on the same day as the Center’s Spring Safety, Health, and Environmental Fair. One of our team members lead the planning efforts for the environmental side of the fair, and many members of the Straughan team helped to man the booths on the day of the event.
Gilruth Events (Open to the public):
- Environmental Booths – In addition to the safety and health booths, there were numerous environmental booths at the Gilruth supported by onsite employees and outside vendors, such as Trees for Houston, animal rescue facilities, K-9 rescue organizations, onsite environmental organizations, and the Houston Zoo.
- Book/Magazine Swap – The Environmental Office paired up with a local library for the swap, and any books and magazines leftover were donated to the library.
- Documentaries and TED Talk showings – Selected environmental TED Talks, available via the TED Talks website, and one or two environmental documentaries were shown.
- Shred Truck – A shred truck was set up in the parking lot to allow individuals to bring personal documents for secure disposal and recycling.
- “I’m Compostable” Cups – Water coolers were available at the booths under the pavilion by the Gilruth, and corn plastic cups were provided. These compostable cups are lined with a plant-based plastic and made from 100% renewable resources.
- Food trucks – Fair attendees had the option to purchase food from three food trucks in the Gilruth parking lot. The food trucks were all local to the Houston and/or Clear Lake area.
Onsite Events (Badged Personnel Only):
- Music on the Mall – Musical entertainment was provided by an employee who is a musician.
- Earth Day Photo Display – Civil servants and contractors were invited to send in their favorite photos that convey what the environment means to Johnson Space Center (i.e., people, nature, flora, fauna, etc.), past or present. This display was set up for viewing onsite in an area that is frequented by public Space Center Houston tours. The photo display was viewable for the week of Earth Day and several weeks following.
- Footprint decals – Three different kinds of decals in the shape of a footprint were created for two purposes for Earth Day: 1) To spread the word about carbon, water, and energy footprint calculators that anybody can use to measure their carbon/water/energy use; and 2) To advertise and get people excited for Earth Day.
The weekend after Earth Day, a couple of Straughan team members were in Dallas supporting NASA’s exhibit at the three-day Earth Day Texas Festival, the 2nd largest Earth Day celebration in the country. The Environmental Office, Johnson Space Center’s Sustainability Core Team, and Public Affairs Office offered information on our LEED-certified buildings, our sustainability program and progress, activities for kids, and the International Space Station trailer where people could learn about what NASA’s ISS Program is doing. We also featured information on technology transfers and spinoffs, focusing on how NASA/JSC developments have and will help improve environmental stewardship and sustainability for the public.
The weekend after Earth Day was also a volunteer day at Exploration Green, a local conservation conservancy that is turning an old golf course near the Center into 200 acres of walking trails, wetlands, and parks. They are going to be planting over 10,000 trees in the new green space.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, MD
NASA Goddard held a “Park-In” on Thursday, April 23. We made a temporary park out of a few parking spaces in a parking lot. We shared environmental information and engaged in conversations with attendees to bring attention to how creative urban open spaces can contribute to the quality of human life. The environmental team supported the event and even included an appearance by a team member’s goose herding dog, Katie!
NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, VA
The Langley Research Center team hosted an “open house” type event on Earth Day. This included outside vendors and a showcase of environmental technologies. The team also held a “hands in” event, which was scheduled the day following Earth Day. This year, the team partnered with the adjacent Langley AFB to assist with living shoreline planting on their property.
Past “hands in” events have included a .5 acre buffer zone tree planting (2014), and planting native trees/plants (2013).
Straughan Environmental is always looking to make our community a greener place – and Earth Day is an exciting opportunity to hit the streets and spread the word!