Camp Shelby, Miss
-- The Department of Defense announced its winners for the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards. Rita D. McCarty, Camp Shelby cultural resources manager, has been selected as the winner for the Cultural Resources Management category.
Through her efforts Rita saved resources by establishing a curation facility on the installation, which allowed full public access to all holdings. In order to save the National Guard money, the Camp Shelby Cultural Resources Department decided to do all the curation in house, which resulted in saving the National Guard approximately $5,000.
"Rita has taken the Mississippi Army National Guard Cultural Resources program to the next level and has far exceeded the expectations of what could be accomplished. She has focused a national spotlight on her program. This is true, not only at Camp Shelby, but throughout the state, " said Lt. Col. Henry Palmer, Mississippi National Guard Environmental Program Manager.
"The artifacts we find have to be curated per federal regulation. At one time, we contracted with the University of Southern Mississippi to handle the curation process." said McCarty.
"As more projects were completed we ended up with over 100 boxes of archeological material that needed to be curated"
Ms. Ellen Lord, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, spoke on the importance of maintaining these resources, "Strong environmental programs increase training access, improve mission readiness, and provide the capabilities required to prevail in conflict and preserve peace, all of which support DOD's lines of effort to accomplish National Defense Strategy objectives.,"
The Cultural Resources Program ensures that the history of the National Guard and the pre-history can be studied for future generations. This gives school groups the chance to see actual artifacts that were found here at Camp Shelby.
"This is our way of being able to give back to the public, by sharing this with the public." said McCarty.
"Her work keeps the command in compliance with the governing laws and regulations. Therefore, command can focus on the mission of training Soldiers," said Palmer.
Recipients are chosen based on exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices. A diverse panel of 58 judges from federal and state agencies, academia and the private sector evaluated nominations from the DoD components to help determine the winners.