2020 National Public Lands Day Department of Defense Awards Grantees
July 06, 2020

In commemoration of 2020’s National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the Department of Defense, through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment and the Natural Resources Program, has awarded 15 NPLD projects on military lands that are open for recreation. The 2020 NPLD DoD awardees include installations that will implement natural and cultural resources management, restoration, and/or enhancement projects on or around NPLD.

Due to social distancing regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year awardees had to think creatively! DoD Natural and Cultural Resources Managers will lead NPLD events that accommodate these unprecedented times by hosting safe in-person and/or virtual events.

Grants were awarded to the following recipients:

Florence Military Reservation, Arizona Army National Guard

This project will provide new and updated educational signage that integrates cultural information gathered by the Program Team in consultation and coordination with tribal elders. This information will include the significance and historical and current use of the area’s natural resources and/or tribal stories related to these resources.

US Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Kaneohe Bay

Project objectives are to remove invasive vegetation and plant native coastal vegetation and install signage to educate the local community on MCBH’s restoration efforts and measures taken to preserve and protect Hawaiian threatened and endangered wildlife species. MCBH will also educate community members on native and non-native invasive species, best planting practices, species’ ecological function, and the laws and regulations protecting endangered species.

Bellows Air Force Station (BAFS)

Virtual and in-person events will put into practice this year’s NPLD theme of “More Ways to Connect to Nature.” The virtual volunteer opportunities are designed to educate the public about the Hawaiian coastal, wetland, and forest natural resources at BAFS. Socially distant and compliant in-person volunteer projects will provide small groups of participants with hands-on learning experiences.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Environmental Division, Fish & Wildlife

JBLM will undertake a full-circle ecological restoration and species conservation project for rare birds, bats, and butterflies at Halverson Marsh in Washington state. The installation provides crucial habitat for over 35 declining or threatened animal species and hosts several extremely rare lowland habitat types. JBLM will also work to transform the local gardens into a vibrant community space that people can use to nourish their families and rediscover connections to nature.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii

This project will recreate a traditional architectural structure that once served the caretaker of the fishpond. This structure will be repurposed as a space for traditional healing practices of land, spirit, and body, transforming one of the few national lands on Pearl Harbor accessible to the general public, service members, and their families into an active sanctuary for the cultivation of peace, healing, and connection to nature.

Naval Air Station Key West

The naval installation will construct a pollinator garden on Boca Chica Field. The garden will be centrally located in the administrative section of the grounds to allow for maximum appreciation by NAS Key West personnel.

NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NJARNG)

This project will transform two median berms into low-impact rain gardens. The event will take place at the entrance of the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center.

Eglin AFB Natural Resources

Volunteers will restore forest habitat and provide wildlife habitat in a former borrow pit surface mine. Completion of this project will support the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 outlined in the creation of One Trillion Tree Initiative announced at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Arizona Army National Guard, Camp Navajo

This project will highlight natural and cultural resources on Camp Navajo in several ways. First, it will assist in outreach and education to the community on the natural and cultural resource management that occurs on Camp Navajo. Second, it will help restore areas within the historic WWII POW Camp and assist with other area restoration projects.

Public Works Department, NSA Hampton Roads

The Pollinator Garden Enhancement and Shoreline Restoration/Habitat Restoration Project will establish, mulch, and weed additional native pollinator gardens for military and civilian personnel to enjoy, as well as expand on the buffer area at Lafayette River Annex to ensure sustainability of the nearby waterway.

Beale Air Force Base

This project will enhance and expand habitat for native pollinators, birds, and other area wildlife by expanding an established pollinator habitat project. This expansion will improve resources for pollinators by increasing density, area, and diversity of native upland flowering shrubs.

Texas Military Department

Camp Mabry, a publicly accessible 400-acre TXARNG training facility, will coordinate with local schools, Keep Austin Beautiful, TreeFolks, Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Master Gardeners, and local Boy Scout troops to plan a native tree restoration day, construct a native flora education and viewing area, install a fishing etiquette education area, and improve existing hiking trails on the post.

Minnesota Army National Guard

Participants will be engaged both in-person and virtually. The in-person event will host public participation—primarily consisting of volunteers from the Minnesota Master Naturalist organization—to hand-pull an invasive vegetation and plant native sage to a protected area near the Mississippi River on Camp Ripley. The virtual event will develop a short 5-7 minute video/podcast covering the restoration project, complete with a live screening of the finished project.

Fort Leavenworth Environmental Division

In order to ensure proper social distancing protocols are followed, this project will be comprised of several work sites. These work sites include:

  • The planting of vegetation to provide visual screening of car wash signage that is visible from a historic trolley line on post
  • The construction of a large, weatherproof signboard to display a trail map and allow people to mark their locations on the map to comply with requirements for usage of post range areas
  • Three separate bridge repair and construction sites that will make it safer to cross creeks and allow quicker access for emergency personnel if needed