National Public Lands Day

I’m cheating a bit with today’s entry.  Technically, in 2019, National Public Lands Day will be celebrated on September 28.   However, it doesn’t always fall on this date.  National Public Lands Day occurs on the fourth Saturday in September.  That is the 28th in 2019.

BLM employees and volunteers replaced wildlife-friendly fencing in Wyoming in 2014 (photo by Bureau of Land Management)

            The date moves around in order to accomplish the purpose of National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  Volunteers from around the United States pitch in on the fourth Saturday (when most people aren’t working or in school) to maintain and improve our great public lands.  It’s a fine strategy—for the September 22 version in 2018, more than 113,000 volunteers spent nearly half a million hours at 1,176 sites doing $11 million of work! 

            NPLD began in 1994, as a project of the National Environmental Education Foundation.  That foundation was chartered by the U.S. Congress to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to “make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to the daily lives of all Americans.  The organization has many programs, but National Public Lands Day is one of their most successful.  NPLD has become the single largest day of volunteer activity in America’s public parks in the year.

US Forest Service employees and volunteers install a bench on a trail in Shasta-Trinity National Forest in 2017 (photo by Carol Underhill, Shasta-Trinity National Forest)

            NPLD has a number of sponsoring groups, including the primary land-management agencies of the U.S. government and many state and local park programs.  The Bureau of Land Management is the most active, with 172 events in 2018, followed by the National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  For two decades, the Toyota Corporation has been the lead private partner for the day’s activities.  Over that time, more than 50,000 Toyota volunteers have worked at more than 600 sites, contributing 193,000 hours.

            The participants in NPLD are many and varied.  In 2018, the most frequent kinds of participants were university students, public school groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and corporate groups.  The work is also varied—removing invasive plants, collecting trash, restoring degraded lands and waters, planting trees, building and repairing facilities, and maintaining trails.  NPLD activities also often include related outdoor recreation and environmental education events—you know, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!

US Corps of Engineers employee service lunch to volunteer in 2011–good food, fun and work! (photo by Carolos J. Lazo, US Army Corps of Engineers)

            And here’s a little bonus for all of us:  Admission to all National Park Service parks, monuments and other sites is free on National Public Lands Day.  And if you do chose to join as a volunteer for NPLD, don’t worry about missing out—you’ll get a coupon good for a fee-free day of your choice.  So, grab your work gloves and get to a park!

References:

National Park Service.  National Public Lands Day.  Available at:  https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/public-lands-day.htm.  Accessed July 9, 2019.

NEEF.  About NEEF.  Available at:  https://www.neefusa.org/about-neef.  Accessed July 9, 2019.

NEEF.  2018.  Final Report—25th Annual National Public Lands Day.  Available at:  https://www.neefusa.org/sites/default/files/assets/npld/2018/NPLD2018-FinalReport.pdf.  Accessed July 9, 2019.

This Month in Conservation

February 1
Afobaka Dam and Operation Gwamba (1964)
February 2
Groundhog Day
February 3
George Adamson, African Lion Rehabilitator, Born (1906)
February 4
Congress Overrides President Reagan’s Veto of Clean Water Act (1987)
February 5
National Wildlife Federation Created (1936)
February 6
Colin Murdoch, Inventor of the Tranquilizer Gun, Born (1929)
February 7
Karl August Mobius, Ecology Pioneer, Born (1825)
February 8
President Johnson Addresses Congress about Conservation (1965)
February 8
Lisa Perez Jackson, Environmental Leader, Born (1982)
February 9
U.S. Fish Commission Created (1871)
February 10
Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet, born (1944)
February 11
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
February 12
Judge Boldt Affirms Native American Fishing Rights (1974)
February 13
Thomas Malthus Born (1766)
February 14
Nature’s Faithful Lovers
February 15
Complete Human Genome Published (2001)
February 16
Kyoto Protocol, Controlling Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, Begins (2005)
February 16
Alvaro Uglade, Father of Costa Rica’s National Parks, Born (1946)
February 17
Sombath Somphone, Laotian Environmentalist, Born (1952)
February 17
R. A. Fischer, Statistician, Born (1890)
February 18
Julia Butterfly Hill, Tree-Sitter, Born (1974)
February 18
World Pangolin Day
February 19
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Established (1962)
February 20
Ansel Adams, Nature Photographer, Born (1902)
February 21
Carolina Parakeet Goes Extinct (1918)
February 22
Nile Day
February 23
Italy’s Largest Inland Oil Spill (2010)
February 24
Joseph Banks, British Botanist, Born (1743)
February 25
First Federal Timber Act Passed (1799)
February 26
Four National Parks Established (1917-1929)
February 27
International Polar Bear Day
February 28
Watson and Crick Discover The Double Helix (1953)
February 29
Nature’s Famous Leapers
January February March April May June July August September October November December