Girl scouts at the NPLD event at Rock Creek Park

National Public Lands Day Frequently Asked Questions

About NPLD

Organizing an NPLD Event

Volunteering at NPLD

NPLD Partners and Supporters

 

 

What is National Public Lands Day (NPLD)?

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. It is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. NPLD is also a “Fee-Free Day”—entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands. NEEF (the National Environmental Education Foundation) coordinates National Public Lands Day.

NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individual and organizational volunteers to help restore the country’s public lands. These are the places Americans use for outdoor recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment. The lands encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as state, county, and city parks that are managed by public agencies but belong to and are enjoyed by all of us.

Through volunteer service on National Public Lands Day as well as grant support to local organizations, NEEF helps ensure people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to connect with public lands for recreation, hands-on learning, and community-building—now and in the future.

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When is NPLD?

The 27th annual National Public Lands Day celebration will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2020. The date is different every year, but it always falls on the fourth Saturday in September.

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What has NPLD accomplished?

NPLD has been growing steadily for over 25 years, as has its positive impact on our public lands. Check out the 2019 NPLD Impact Report.

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What is the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)?

NEEF is a nonprofit organization that was chartered by Congress in 1990 to partner with the EPA to advance environmental literacy nationwide. NEEF works to make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to the daily lives of all Americans. NEEF is the national coordinator for NPLD and works with federal and nonprofit partners to organize and promote their NPLD events as well as offer grants and incentives for conservation activities. NEEF's interactive map is also the definitive location for Site Managers and volunteers to locate NPLD events happening near them.

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How can people stay informed about NPLD?

You can visit or bookmark our NPLD page, which is your main destination for all things NPLD. You can also sign up for email alerts there as well. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #NPLD

Email NPLD@neefusa.org with any questions or for more specific information about National Public Lands Day.

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Who participates in NPLD?

NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individuals to help restore the country’s public lands at the federal, state, and local level. Participating federal agencies include the US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA Forest Service.

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What are the benefits of hosting an NPLD event?

There are many reasons for public lands sites to consider hosting an NPLD event. With its status as the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands, NPLD receives considerable attention and press at the local and national level. Its prominence serves as a catalyst to attract new volunteers and visitors to your public land. Once a person is introduced to your park as a volunteer, they will want to return again and again as a visitor.

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I am not with a federal public land. Can I still hold an NPLD event?

Yes! Any state, local, or regional public lands can host an NPLD event. School grounds and community gardens can also participate. There is no limitation on the size or the managing agency of the public land. As long as the land is held in the public trust (not private land) and accessible to the public, it can be an NPLD site.

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This is my first time hosting an NPLD event. Are there resources to help me as I plan my event?

Yes! The NPLD page is loaded with helpful resources, tips, and ideas for leading an NPLD event, including our Site Manager Promotional Toolkit.

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Are there a minimum number of volunteers required to register an event for NPLD?

No! Events range from small family trail clean-ups to 500 person mega-events that mobilize entire communities. You can even host a virtual event!

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How can I register my event?

You will need to create an account as a Site Manager, which is free and easy to do. Simply visit the Site Manager page and follow the instructions to create an account and register your NPLD event. With an account, you can create, edit, publish, and save events, making them easy to reuse annually. You will be able to include event details, photos, and all important contact and sign up information about your event. You will also receive important information about NPLD planning from NEEF.

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Where should interested volunteers go to find my event online?

Volunteers should use NEEF's interactive map, which is the definitive location for volunteers to locate NPLD events.

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What should I do if I forgot my username/password?

Send an email to info@neefusa.org and include your full name, place of employment, and email address so we can retrieve your username and reset your password.

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What do volunteers do on NPLD?

Volunteers connect with nature through service by giving their time to our nation's public lands. This includes everything from planting trees and native vegetation, building and refurbishing trails, removing trash and invasive plants, repairing bridges, restoring historic structures, monitoring endangered species, restoring habitats, attending virtual hikes and ranger talks—you name it!

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What's in it for volunteers?

National Public Lands Day is a fantastic opportunity to get off the couch and out into beautiful natural settings. Volunteers can participate as a family or with school, community, or national groups such as the Student Conservation Association, Outdoor Nation, Boy Scouts of America, or Girl Scouts of the USA. The event is a great opportunity to get kids outside and help erase the “nature deficit” among the next generation. All volunteers will get the satisfaction that comes from preserving and protecting their favorite public places, along with the physical exercise and family togetherness of a day full of enhancing, planting, and beautifying.

However, even if you are not able to physically attend an NPLD event, you can still connect to iconic parks, national forests, marine estuaries, and other public lands sites through one-of-a-kind virtual events such as ranger talks, virtual hikes and dives, and online citizen science projects that are both entertaining and educational.

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What kind of work projects apply towards NPLD?

Any project that benefits public lands can be registered for NPLD. The majority of projects are focused on habitat restoration, such as tree plantings, trash or invasive plant removal, bird or bat house construction, trail maintenance, fence removal, and gardening. Historic sites typically host beautification projects including trash pick-ups, painting, sculpture renovation, and other needed projects.

Some public lands do not have the ability to host volunteer events. In these cases, they usually hold some sort of education programming, both virtual and on-site. Examples include hikes, talks on public land issues, fishing derbys, festivals, classes on water quality testing, and geocaching programs.

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Who supports NPLD?

While NEEF is the national coordinator, Toyota Motor North America is the national sponsor of National Public Lands Day.

NPLD has seven federal agency partners: US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA Forest Service. Other participants include more than 250 state, county, city, university, and school partners, as well as many parks and recreation departments.

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Why is Toyota participating?
Toyota Motor North America has been the national sponsor of NPLD for over 20 years. Each year, Toyota encourages its employees to get involved in NPLD at the nation’s parks, forests, rivers, beaches, shorelines, and other public lands. Since 1999, more than 4,000 Toyota employees and their families have volunteered at more than 470 different sites on National Public Lands Day, donating the equivalent of more than $5 million in volunteer time.

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