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Fleet Readiness Center earns Whidbey Green Seal

Members of FRCNW
Members of FRCNW's Green Team coordinate during a tour of the command's composting facility. From left, Donald Tullar, composting facility manager; Capt. Kimberly Schulz, former FRCNW commanding officer; Elam 'Rusty' Oliver, overall base recycling manager; Aviation Administrationman 2nd Class Stephen Anderson; and Command Master Chief Charles Bond.
— image credit: Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

Fleet Readiness Center Northwest received the Whidbey Green Seal Thursday for efforts in recycling and energy conservation.

As the largest command on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, receiving the award was no small feat.

“This is the first military facility to earn a Whidbey Green Seal and we are very excited,” said Melody Kuschnereit, coordinator for the Sustainable Whidbey Coalition, which manages the program.

Efforts to “green up” the command were spearheaded about a year ago by Aviation Administrationman 2nd Class Stephen Anderson, who made it his personal mission to get his fellow sailors to recycle, earning him the moniker “Captain Planet” at Fleet Readiness.

“Anderson and his Green Team have done a lot of work to make this happen,” Kuschnereit said.

Noticing that that command’s state-of-the-art recycling facilities were untilized, Anderson was able to form a Green Team that now routinely meets to improve sustainability processes, completes cleanups on base and dumpster dives for recyclables.

Anderson said his team is very proud of the achievement.

“It’s a moral booster for us here,” he said, “and it shows the community we’re trying to be responsible community members with regard to the environment.”

Anderson said the Whidbey Green Seal brings much needed attention to an issue that he is passionate about. It is his hope to create policies and programs for the Fleet Readiness Center that can then be adapted to other buildings and commands on base.

“Being environmentally responsible helps us fiscally as well,” he said, adding that the hope is that the program will go base wide by the end of the year.

Chief William Yates, the senior-most enlisted sailor at the Fleet Readiness Center, was in charge of facilities during the genesis of the Green Team and the Office Composting and Recycling Program that exists today.

“I was his heavy,” said Yates, who “served as the muscle to get people to comply” with the new programs.

“The passion that he has for this program… he gets people involved and he’s very charismatic,” Yates said. “I felt honored to help him.”

“But the story is not just about him. It’s about his ability to communicate so effectively that it’s grown past him now and will live on.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense itself has been in the process of exploring ways it can improve its environmental standards military wide.

Due to Green Team’s efforts and the top-notch recycling and composting facilities on base, Fleet Readiness Center was selected for a visit last month from several DOD agencies who are working to develop sustainability programs.

This attention from the higher echelons of the DOD highlights and reinforces the importance of Fleet Readiness Center environmental efforts, Anderson said.

“It’s the right thing to do and it’s a passion of mine,” Anderson said. “I’m an outdoors person, and it’s one of the easiest things a person can do to be environmentally responsible.”

Whidbey Green Seal is a certificate program that publicly recognizes organizations (business, non-profit and tax-supported entities) that actively implement resource conservation measures, demonstrate a culture of environmental awareness in their operational activities and practice social responsibility in their community

The SWC is a network of leaders who foster sustainability on Whidbey Island.

The Coalition was formed in the fall of 2007 as response to global climate change and local environmental concerns.

Since then, SWC meets regularly as a think tank for collaborative sustainability efforts and to act as a hub for resources and education.

Fleet Readiness Center Northwest is one of the Navy’s eight Fleet Readiness Centers, with locations on the U.S. east and west coasts and in Japan.

For more information, visit www.sustainablewhidbey.org

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