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

January 1
NEPA Enacted (1970)
January 2
Bob Marshall Born (1901)
January 3
Canaveral National Seashore Created (1975)
January 4
The Real James Bond Born (1900)
January 5
National Bird Day
January 6
Wild Kingdom First Airs (1963)
January 7
Gerald Durrell Born (1925)
January 8
Alfred Russel Wallace Born (1823)
January 9
Muir Woods National Monument Created (1908)
January 10
National Houseplant Appreciation Day
January 11
Aldo Leopold Born (1887)
January 12
National Trust of England Established (1895)
January 13
MaVynee Betsch, the Beach Lady, Born (1935)
January 14
Martin Holdgate Born (1931)
January 15
British Museum Opened (1795)
January 16
Dian Fossey Born (1932)
January 17
Benjamin Franklin, America’s First Environmentalist, Born (1706)
January 18
White Sands National Monument Created (1933)
January 19
Yul Choi, Korean Environmentalist, Born (1949)
January 19
Acadia National Park Established (1929)
January 20
Penguin Appreciation Day
January 21
The Wilderness Society Founded (1935)
January 22
Iraq Sabotages Kuwaiti Oil Fields (1991)
January 23
Sweden Bans CFCs in Aerosols (1978)
January 24
Baden-Powell Publishes “Scouting for Boys” (1908)
January 25
Badlands National Park Established (1939)
January 26
Benjamin Franklin Disses the Bald Eagle (1784)
January 27
National Geographic Society Incorporated (1888)
January 28
Bermuda Petrel, Thought Extinct for 300 Years, Re-discovered (1951)
January 29
Edward Abbey, author of “Desert Solitaire,” Born (1927)
January 30
England Claims Antarctica (1820)
January 31
Stewart Udall, Secretary of Interior, Born (1920)
January February March April May June July August September October November December