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Environmental symposium held in St. Louis

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrew Davis
  • 375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
More than 1,000 Airmen, Air Force civilians and personnel from other government agencies from all over the world gathered for the annual Environmental, Safety and Operational Health Symposium March 9 through 13 in St. Louis.

Started in 1993, the symposium features more than 500 classes tailored to the needs of various Air Force specialty codes, as well as generalized classes to help Airmen gain a broader perspective on the ever changing environmental, safety and health issues in the Air Force.

"The symposium was originally started for Air Combat Command personnel," said Brig. Gen. Timothy A. Byers, the symposium director, "but (it) has expanded to train Airmen and civilians from five (major commands) in one venue on environmental, safety and occupational health issues around the Air Force."

Set up much like a university, the symposium encourages students to sign up for AFSC-specific classes tailored to their individual jobs, and also provides the opportunity for students to branch out and take classes to intersperse their knowledge to personnel from varying career fields.

"One of the best benefits of the symposium is to bring in personnel from different commands and look at the things they do differently," General Byers said. "To me, this is the best way to learn and share ideas -- among peers."

During the symposium, Airmen from throughout the Air Force offered up their knowledge and skills to other students. 

"I have gained a better understanding of the environment, how the Air Force and my shop affect the environment," said Tech. Sgt. Harry Tiffany from Beale Air Force Base, Cailf. "The networking between my peers has helped me gain a better understanding about the need to protect the environment and minimize the impact we put on it."

Professionals from U.S. government agencies and commercial industry taught an array of subjects in environmental compliance, natural and cultural resource management, restoration, remediation, pollution prevention, environmental analysis and planning, environmental law, public relations, and occupational safety and health.

During the symposium guest speakers discussed topics that directly influenced the nation's environmental, safety and occupational health programs and answered many questions attendees may have previously had.

In addition, many of the world's top environmental businesses were on hand to exhibit recent products and discuss the latest trends, innovations and technologies.

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