Family volunteering for NPLD event planting shrubs

NPLD 2021 Highlighted Site Sponsorship Winners

With generous support from Toyota Motor North America, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is providing up to $1,000 in funding to support innovative events during this year’s National Public Lands Day (NPLD) celebration.

We are pleased to announce that the following 25 NPLD events have been selected to receive funding:

Morris County Parks Commission

Tourne County Park - Boonton, New Jersey

NPLD at Tourne Park will include trail construction, invasive species removal, guided hikes, mountain bike rides, and workshops by REI and the Park Commission's environmental education staff. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Although the activities are similar to many NPLD events, the location of this program provides for a rebirth of attractions at the park and an introduction to them for a new audience, as well as rehabilitation of areas that were heavily used during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ice Age Trail Alliance

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Table Bluff Segment - Dane County, Wisconsin

Since 2017, the Ice Age Trail Alliance has been hosting Trailtessa Retreats as a way for women and girls to engage with the outdoors and explore the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. At the BeTogether NPLD event, participants will learn from (female) experts about the importance of biodiversity. They will then get an opportunity to collect prairie seeds for future planting projects, see native prairie plants up close, and be immersed in the habitat restoration landscape of the property.


Baird Creek Preservation Foundation

Baird Creek - Green Bay, Wisconsin

The NPLD Baird Creek Clean-Up will have three main focuses:

  1. Raking a 10-acre section of prairie to prep it for prairie seed planting
  2. Cutting back, treating, and removing invasive species
  3. Cleaning up trash throughout the 500+ acre Greenway

Experts will be on hand to teach volunteers about seed prepping and the importance of removing invasive species.


Wild Alabama

Bankhead National Forest - Moulton, Alabama

The Wild Alabama NPLD Celebration will begin at our home base in Moulton, Alabama, where a mix of wildlife enthusiasts and outdoors-people of all ages and experience levels will be able to come together. Wild Alabama will host a used gear sale to provide greater access to the outdoor lifestyle and hobbies for all people. Throughout the day, they will also be leading several different stewardship hikes of varying lengths and difficulties (something for all ages and skill levels), guided by locals. Each group of hikers will be tasked with a small but important maintenance project. Whether weeding out invasive species along the trails or building steps to work against erosion, team members will be able to see how their own work allows others to enjoy the outdoors as well.


Alice Ferguson Foundation

Piscataway Park - Accokeek, Maryland

NPLD at Piscataway Park will begin with a hands-on activity called "the Trash Timeline" where volunteers will learn about the impacts of trash on the environment. Attendees will learn the importance of taking action, whether it is joining a cleanup and helping organizations collect data to support proven source reduction policies, or using their voices to spread the word about other important projects. After the educational piece, volunteers will head out along the Living Shoreline and clean up the trash that has collected. Then the cleanup volunteers will assist in sorting trash for data collection to send to the area's local jurisdiction, which will help support future proven source reduction policies (plastic bag fees, Styrofoam bans, etc.).


City of Binghamton Parks and Recreation

Sandy Beach Park - Binghamton, New York

Sandy Beach Park and the City of Binghamton will host the grand opening of a new trail with an event where community members can participate in the planting of pollinator gardens, make DIY nature-related crafts, and take a walk along the area's newly built trail. The trail features several pollinator gardens, a small wetland, a forested area, and loops back either through the forest or along the Susquehanna River. Through this event, the local community will connect with nature by getting firsthand experience participating in land conservation and learn about the local environment along the way.


Student Conservation Association

Riverview Park - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Riverview Park have teamed up to celebrate National Public Lands Day at Riverview Park. SCA alumni, partners, and community will engage in team building, environmental education, and conservation service that may include trail restoration, structure repairs, invasive species removal, litter abatement, and more. These projects will provide critical restoration of Riverview Park that has suffered from severe erosion and overuse. This event will support the continuation of the park’s master plan and Pittsburgh’s community through hands-on service to the land, which helps deepen the community’s relationship with their own parks and each other.


Hoosier National Forest

Hoosier National Forest - Bedford, Indiana

For National Public Lands Day, the Hoosier National Forest is planning a variety of projects to improve the public land, including dump site clean up, trail improvement, wilderness restoration, and invasive species removal. Work projects will contain an educational component and all participants will have access to Leave No Trace materials and education to reduce negative impacts to the forest in the future. There will also be a volunteer appreciation component and a celebration of Woodsy Owl's 50th anniversary.


Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish State Park - Issaquah, Washington

Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park (FLSSP), in partnership with the Washington State Parks Foundation and WA State Parks, is celebrating National Public Lands Day and kicking off their new trails plan with a volunteer event to stomp out several hundred feet of canary grass for the new trail. The new trails plan is an ambitious project which will make the park more accessible to hikers, bikers, and wheelchairs. In addition to the trail stomp, volunteers will remove invasive species, litter, and gardening. After the event, Thomas Breads will host a lunch for all volunteers. FLSSP staff will also give volunteers a brief orientation so they understand how the new trails help preserve natural habitat and how invasive species removal improves habitat for both fish and animals.


California State Parks Foundation

Half Moon Bay State Beach - Half Moon Bay, California

California State Parks Foundation will celebrate National Public Lands Day by mobilizing local volunteers to help protect coastal dune and bluff scrub habitats at Half Moon Bay State Beach. Volunteers will continue their ongoing work to remove invasive plants from the coastal scrub habitat areas. Removing invasive plants is an important part of restoration work as it clears the area of competing plants. This allows for the California native plants that are already in the area to survive and thrive without the invasives spreading and taking up all the resources. This work also prepares the area for future planting of California native plants and is essential to maintaining biodiversity in the park. Restoring coastal habitats also increases the coastal ecosystem’s resilience to extreme variations in sea level, temperature, and rainfall. The scale of this event is incredibly beneficial to park staff who lack the necessary time and resources to keep up with maintenance.


Cordell Hull Lake Park

Cordell Hull Lake - Carthage, Tennessee

The Cordell Hull Trail NPLD event will have two projects taking place concurrently. Both are designed to improve the local network of trails in order to provide better, safer access for the public. The first project will take place on the Bear Waller Gap Trail, where volunteers will install Rest/Rescue Stations, remark the trail, and clear debris. The second project will take place on the Upland Horse Trail where teams will work with ranger staff to clear debris as well as widen and remark the trail. This project is accessible to volunteers on foot and on horseback.


Bolsa Chica Conservancy

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve - Huntington Beach, California

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy will host a workday on NPLD to restore a 0.3 acre portion of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) two-acre project site. Activities will include:

  • Removal of non-native and invasive plant species
  • Bagging and disposal of material off-site
  • Seeding the project site by hand and walking over the entire project site to ensure proper contact between the seed and native soil
  • Digging holes for installing plants
  • Installing 300 native container plants

During this event, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn which invasive species are issues in their area, how to remove invasives from their property, select native plants for their garden, or harvest them for food.


Skinner Park Advisory Council

Loomis St. Community Gardens and Skinner Park - Chicago, Illinois

On National Public Lands Day, Loomis St. Community Gardens and Skinner Park invite the larger community to help preserve the land. Volunteers will help to harvest edible produce from the gardens for donation to local food pantries, and will also be able to take some produce home to encourage healthy eating. Staff will also host special educational activities for young children to teach them the importance of caring for public lands both large and small.


Friends of the Mountain to Sea Trail, Inc.

Falls Lake, Hereford Road - Durham, North Carolina

For National Public Lands Day at the Mountains to Sea Trail, volunteers will complete trail construction on a section of trail that has been flagged and cleared of vegetation. The majority of the work will be using hand tools to build the correct tread on this section of the trail. The trail has seen a large increase in use during the COVID-19 pandemic, as getting outside to hike was one of the only safe recreational activities that people could safely do during the associated shutdowns. This event will provide a way for the public to give back to a resource that has been heavily used in the past year, especially for all the people who have found the trail and developed a love of hiking for the first time.


USACE Keystone Lake - Tulsa District

Keystone Lake - Cleveland, Oklahoma

The Keystone Lake NPLD event will include picking up debris from the shoreline and around the lake, as well as small projects in the park's recreation areas. This event will bring the community together to care for their local public lands.


Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest - Athens, Ohio

For this year's National Public Lands Day, Wayne National Forest—in conjunction with the Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia and Ohio Backcountry Hunters and Anglers—will host their "25 for 50" event, named for the 25 miles of completed trail for Woodsy Owl's 50th Birthday. The first part of the day will be a trail maintenance project including corridor opening, liter pick-up, and basic drainage work throughout different sections of the trail. Afterwards, there will be a cookout for volunteers with Woodsy Owl in attendance! This event will provide a golden opportunity for the local community to get to know US Forest Service staff in a festive atmosphere.


Friends Of Herring Run Parks

Herring Run Park - Baltimore, Maryland

Friends of Herring Run Parks will collaborate with Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Works for NPLD on a critical cleanup of a long-neglected and remote area of Herring Run Park, the Lower Herring Run. This Baltimore city park is bordered by highway, industry, and a lower economic neighborhood.


Bureau of Land Management Royal Gorge Field Office

Phantom Canyon Road, Gold Belt Byway - Canon City, Colorado

For National Public Lands Day, volunteers from multiple organizations, including motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) groups and sport climbing enthusiasts, will partner with the Bureau of Land Management Royal Gorge Field Office to pick up trash, remove graffiti, and clean the area along Phantom Canyon Road, part of the Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway. This unique event will allow volunteers to drive their off-highway vehicles along Phantom Canyon road while they perform cleanup work.


USACE Buffumville Lake and Hodges Village Dam - New England District

Buffumville Lake and Hodges Village Dam - Charlton, Massachusetts

Buffumville Lake and Hodges Village Dam will host several groups of volunteers on National Public Lands Day to make necessary site improvements that could not otherwise be accomplished due to lack of park resources. This important work will ensure these sites remain places that people from all walks of life are able to enjoy free of charge. There will also be interpretive booths and programming to educate the public on environmental concerns, sustainability, and what their role can be in promoting the conservation and preservation of America's public lands.


USACE Carters Lake - Mobile District

Carters Lake - Chatsworth, Georgia

The Carters Lake NPLD event will provide four options of volunteer tasks to choose from while allowing for remote participation to increase accessibility for volunteers.


Kittitas Environmental Education Network

Helen McCabe Memorial State Park - Ellensburg, Washington

This National Public Lands Day, the Kittitas Environmental Education Network will host volunteer efforts to remove the invasive yellow flag iris, install 2 floating wetlands to improve water quality, and a community science project to remove invasive bullfrogs from the pond. Staff will set up educational booths, collaborate with Central WA University and State Departments of Parks, Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and the Weed Management Board to share information about invasive species management, water quality, recreation, archaeology at the park, and wildlife species. 


USACE Success Lake - Sacramento District

Success Lake - Porterville, California

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Success Lake NPLD event will provide many opportunities for the local community to give back to the public lands they enjoy visiting, such as planting trees, refacing flower gardens, painting, trash pick-up, and much more.


Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge - Zimmerman, Minnesota

The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge's Wildlife Festival is an annual event that showcases the refuge and gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the management of both habitat and wildlife. For this year's NPLD, that behind-the-scenes look will be literal, as staff will unveil a self-guided driving route through the refuge's service roads. Typically closed to public vehicles, this route will feature a number of stops along the way, each offering interesting information highlighted in an accompanying handout. Staff and volunteers will be available halfway through and at the end of the tour to answer any questions. In addition, a handful of activities will take place around the Oak Savanna Learning Center, including a story walk and 1-3 informational/interactive booths.


Learn more about National Public Lands Day events and find one near you with our NPLD Event Map.

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