By Sara Trujillo, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class, PMRF Public Affairs
The Sailors and Government Civilian employees of the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Kaua‘i, were named the winners of the 2019 Navy Community Service Environmental Stewardship Award.
The Navy recognizes small, medium, and large, shore, sea and overseas commands annually for outstanding community service efforts including overall excellence, personal excellence partnership flagship, health, safety and fitness flagship, campaign drug free flagship, project good neighbor and environmental stewardship flagship award.
“This award means a lot to us,” said Capt. Timothy Young, commanding officer of PMRF. “It is recognition of the hard work and selfless dedication of our entire PMRF team. The professionals in our Public Works Department and our talented Environmental team set the standard for protecting and restoring our natural environment. Additionally, our strong partnership with Kauai, our meaningful interaction with our neighbors, and our close ties with the local community are hallmarks of what PMRF is all about. We are very proud of this recognition; it is just another validation that PMRF Sailors and Civilians continue to make this one of the finest installation in the Navy.”
PMRF works closely with federal, state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, and the public and local community, to implement various groundbreaking initiatives toward conservation, environmental protection and protection of endangered species.
In the past year, personnel from PMRF collaborated with more than 25 schools and organizations integrating the U.S. Navy’s Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment into the surrounding community through the development and implementation of community focused programs and activities that promote greater understanding and appreciation of natural and cultural resources.
“As the island’s third-largest employer with a workforce heavily-weighted toward the sciences, PMRF takes pride in its partnerships with local schools and organizations to participate in S.T.E.M. and other environmental education programs,” said Jessi Hallman Behnke, Installation Environmental Program Director (IEPD). “Our commitment to supporting students locally is a lasting investment in our community on the West side of Kauai.”
Partnership events throughout the year included careers days, Earth Day celebrations, S.T.E.M. and S.T.R.E.A.M. nights, Intertidal Workshops, wedge-tailed Shearwater burrow management and monitoring, Albatross management, the “Dark Sky” initiative to turn off all non-essential exterior lighting on PMRF during the Newell Shearwater, Hawaiian and Band-Rumped Storm Petrel migration season, and more.
The value of PMRF is not only measured in its contributions to the combat readiness of U.S. Navy and allied forces, but is also as a steward of the dynamic natural environment found on Kauaʻi’s western shores. Along with the responsibility that comes with the defense of our nation and our allies comes the responsibility to the environment and culture. The purpose of the Environmental and Cultural Community Outreach Program is to achieve a long lasting, proactive educational environment that promotes stewardship of both the land and the Native Hawaiian culture.