FORT HOOD — In honor of Arbor Day and Earth Day, Fort Hood planted a tree and invited hundreds of schoolchildren to learn about recycling Friday morning.

Officials from the Directorate of Public Works, the garrison command and the Texas A&M Forestry Service shoveled dirt to support a Shumard Oak planted behind the Sportsmen’s Center. It was the 703rd tree planted on post this year, said Andy Bird, deputy garrison commander.

“It’s exciting every year we come out and do this,” he said. While this year’s celebration was considerably smaller than those of the past, the most important element was kept — education.

“It’s about the kids,” Bird said.

To educate the 350 kids in attendance on recycling and environmental science, booths were set up by the recycling centers for Fort Hood and surrounding cities, Bell County Master Gardeners and other businesses.

Isaac Holliday, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Duncan Elementary, said he was excited to attend the Earth Day celebration.

“It’s just to show us how to recycle better,” he said, adding one of his chores at home is to sort the recycling from the trash.

Isaac said it was interesting to learn that “when you recycle, they can make stuff out of it.”

During the opening ceremony, Rob Grotty, staff forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service, presented Fort Hood with two awards — its eighth Tree City USA Award and the Growth Award — for sustained or increased commitment to trees.

“It’s not just planting trees in the ground, it’s maintaining them,” Grotty said. “Fort Hood does a good job. I’m proud to be able to work with Fort Hood.”

Bird said something not noticed on post, is for every one tree taken out, Fort Hood replaces it with 10 trees.

“It’s not something we do for glory; we do it because it’s the right thing,” he said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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