Largest Volunteer Day for Public Lands Boasts 2,500 Events Nationwide

Washington, DC and Tupelo, MS Events Kicked Off the Day

Washington, DC - On September 26th, almost 200,000 volunteers from across the country converged at 2,500 sites across the nation for National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Hosted by NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation), NPLD events included environmental stewardship activities such as trail restoration, planting trees and shrubs and collecting litter, as well as educational and recreational activities such as kayaking, birding and camping.

NEEF created NPLD in 1994 to help improve public lands and to educate youth and adults about their importance. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. is the event’s national corporate sponsor for the 17th consecutive year.

“Each year we ask Americans to set aside one day – the last Saturday in September – to lend a hand to the lands that we use to hike, bike, climb, swim, explore, camp, picnic or simply relax,” said Diane Wood, President of NEEF.

What started as three events and 700 volunteers has grown to over 2,500 events and more than 175,000 volunteers. This year volunteers are expected to collect approximately 500 tons of trash, build and maintain 1,500 miles of trail, and contribute an estimated $18 million through volunteer services to improve public lands across the country.

According to Kevin Butt, Environmental Director of Toyota North America, “nearly one-third of the land in the U.S. is public land. This means that everyone – businesses, schools, families, government agencies and others – have an important role to play in sustaining these lands. This integrated approach is how we (Toyota) tackle all facets of our environmental mission, across our organization.”

Toyota’s commitment to NPLD goes far beyond financial support and the bottom line. This year, over 4,000 Toyota employees volunteered and participated in NPLD events across the country, providing thousands of hours of service to our communities.

For example, Toyota Engineering Manufacturing North America in Tupelo, Mississippi is one of only two NPLD signature sites in the country. More than 600 employees worked to restore cabins, maintain trails, mulch and pick up trash at Tombigbee State Park. This is part of a five-year commitment that they have made to the park and the community.

The second NPLD signature kick-off event was held at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC. This event drew approximately 200 volunteers from the surrounding community as well as local, state and federal dignitaries and other noted partners.

In addition to NEEF and Toyota, more than 250 state, county, and city partners as well as a host of non-profit groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA and The Corps Network joined the following federal agencies for NPLD: Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.

As a result of their participation, NPLD volunteers earned a fee-free coupon that they can use for a future visit to any of the participating national parks within the next 12 months.

Events in every state can be found online: www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites (search by state or zip code)

Other examples of NPLD activities held today include:

  • Yosemite National Park – Celebrating the 12th Annual Yosemite Facelift and the 125th anniversary of the National Park. This year’s projects included a park-wide trash clean-up, cliff face cleaning projects on Half Dome and El Capitan, removal of asphalt from old roads and trails, trail work and more!
  • Poverty Point World Heritage Site – Hosted a live, interactive pre-historic cooking demonstrating featuring the “earth oven” method of cooking. A park ranger re-created earth oven cooking, using materials that would have been available to the local inhabitants over 3,500 years ago. 
  • City of Austin, Texas – Austin Parks Foundation and Texas Conservation Corps engaged the community in assisting with projects, including mulching, habitat restoration, building and maintaining trails, parks maintenance, clean-ups and more.

More information can be found at www.publiclandsday.org.

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