Earth Day garden
Airman 1st Class Nathan Andrews, 28th Operational Weather Squadron forecaster, shovels mulch into a garden as part of his squadron’s observance of Earth Day at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 20, 2012. The produce from their garden will later be used in a fall festival. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Phelps/ Released)
Shaw squadron grows garden for Earth Day

by Senior Airman Daniel Phelps
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/3/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C -- In honor of the Air Force's observance of Earth Day, one of Shaw Air Force Base's squadrons decided to celebrate April 20 in a unique way, by planting a garden near their building.

Normally people think of planting trees for Earth Day, said Airman 1st Class Colin McCarthy, 28th Operational Weather Squadron forecaster. This was his first time working on something like this.

"This is the biggest Earth Day project I've done in the military," he added.

The idea for the 28th Operational Weather Squadron's garden has been a thought for quite a while, McCarthy commented. It evolved from chili cook-offs.

"We'll be taking some of the fruits and vegetables that we plant and using them for a salsa competition in the fall," McCarthy said.

Tomatoes, onions and watermelons are a few of the fruits and vegetables that will be grown in the 28th OWS garden.

Some of the forecasters trimmed hedges and laid rocks around the area to add to the beauty of the garden.

"It was nice helping out," McCarthy said. "It's definitely a nice change from being inside all day. On a typical day, no one is outside doing this kind of work."

Since the 28th OWS works around the clock providing weather information to Air Force Central's area of responsibility, the structure will allow for a lot of people to take care of the garden, he added.

Several Airmen enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the office and work outside.

"Normally, I'm sitting and looking at a computer all day," said Airman 1st Class Richard Eickholt, 28th OWS forecaster. "It's a nice change of pace. I enjoy working with my hands."