2024 NPLD Department of Defense Awards



In commemoration of this year's National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the Department of Defense (DoD), through the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environmental Management and Restoration and the Legacy Resource Management Program, will fund NPLD projects on military lands that are open for recreation. 

The 2024 NPLD DoD Awards will provide up to $15,000 to selected installations to implement projects focusing on but not limited to: pollinator protection, climate adaptation and installation resilience, habitat restoration, or natural and cultural resources management, restoration, or enhancement—on or around this year's NPLD on September 28, 2024. 

For 2024, DoD is asking applicants to think creatively and strategically about how they can positively impact the environment and help participants learn about these lands and their natural and cultural resources. How can DoD natural and cultural resources managers lead NPLD events that advance environmental stewardship while focusing on pollinator protection, climate resilience, restoration, and conservation management projects? We seek proposals that enhance broader strategic or programmatic initiatives at installations.  

Applications for the 2024 NPLD DoD Awards are due by Friday, July 19, 2024, by 11:59 PM PST.

Please see detailed instructions to apply on the National Public Lands Day webpage.

Before you apply, please take a moment to review the award details below.


Applicants must be:

  • A DoD installation site that is open for recreation, including lands managed by the US Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, or Navy. Lands managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers are not eligible for Award funds, and
  • Registered for National Public Lands Day.

Applicants must propose a project that:

  • Takes place on September 28, 2024—project dates that take place 2 weeks prior to, or any time post NPLD (September 28, 2024 – March 31, 2025), are acceptable.
  • Describes a needed and well thought out project that can be completed by April 1, 2025.
  • Demonstrates how the project will:
  • Engage a variety of volunteers, either in person or virtually, in the project and create a positive experience for them. (Please see our website Resource Page for ideas on how to lead projects that are virtual.)
  • Improve or enhance the installation’s broader strategic or programmatic objectives by focusing on: pollinator protection, climate adaptation and installation resilience, habitat restoration, and/or natural and cultural resources management, restoration or enhancement on the DoD installation.
  • Engage installation scientists and natural or cultural resources managers for advice, if the applicant does not know these program objectives.
  • Involve or benefit the broader community.
  • Promote a stewardship ethic among participants via project-relevant environmental education and communication opportunities.
  • Presents an appropriate and detailed project budget.
    • For previous award winners, the recipient must have successfully completed past project(s) on time, achieved project goals, and demonstrated responsive and effective communications with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), including submitting a satisfactory Final Report.

Please note that proposed projects can include but are not limited to: 

  • Pollinator protection and conservation, and/or pollinator garden development
  • Tree and native vegetation planting
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Trash and debris cleanup
  • Wildlife habitat improvement and restoration activities
  • Wetland, streamside, or shoreline restoration and erosion control
  • Trail building and maintenance
  • Restoration of culturally and historically significant areas, buildings, and structures.
  • See project examples


Award funds may NOT be used for:

  • Lobbying, propaganda, or attempting to influence legislation
  • Influencing the outcome of any specific election by any means
  • Covering budget shortfalls, general support or endowment funds
  • Land acquisition or real estate purchases
  • Giveaways or gift items, such as t-shirts
  • Purchasing food*
  • Paying for labor or salary costs
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or grants to individuals
  • Any costs not directly related to the funds requested in the proposal.

Purchasing items required to complete work (e.g., small tools, garden gloves) is allowable.

*Federal funds cannot be used to pay for food and beverages unless doing so is reasonable and necessary (i.e., providing water at an outdoor event where there is no other source of water is allowable).


NEEF prefers that projects take place on NPLD, Saturday, September 28, 2024. Alternate dates for NPLD events may be allowed for those regions where weather conditions during September are prohibitive. However, all projects must be completed by April 1, 2025, with Final Reports due on or before April 30, 2025.

Application Due: Friday, July 19, 2024 by 11:59pm PST

Awards Announced: Mid-August

NPLD project: September 28, 2024 (or alternate date)

NPLD project completion deadline: April 1, 2025

Final Reports Due: April 30, 2025


National Public Lands Day DoD Award applications are only accepted through NEEF’s online system. Follow these steps to register and begin your application:

  1. Click here to apply.
  2. You will be taken to a login page. If you have not created an account from a previous NEEF award, select Create New Account. If you have created an account with NEEF, skip to step 4.
  3. Follow the instructions to create your account. It will ask you for your contact information as the account holder and the contact information for your organization’s representative. Contact information supplied in the User Information section should reflect the individual who will be directly handling the application process for your organization. In the Organization Information section, we recommend that you include the contact information of the person in charge of your installation site or office. This would be the person who is authorized to sign off on items such as Award Agreements.
  4. Upon creating an account, it will take you to your home screen. To start your application, click Apply in the menu on the left. You will be taken to a list of NEEF awards and funding opportunities. Select 2024 National Public Lands Day DoD Awards.
  5. Complete the application.
  6. You can save the application and return later.
  7. Pay close attention to character limits.  These limits include spaces!
  8. Once you have completed the application and uploaded all attachments, click Submit Form to complete your application. If you do not click Submit Form, you will not have completed your application. You will be directed to a confirmation screen upon submitting. 

If you have any questions or problems, please consult our FAQ or don’t hesitate to contact us at

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