DOD Grants

2021 National Public Lands Day Department of Defense Awards


See awardee list.

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

The 2021 NPLD DoD Awards will provide up to $7,000 to selected installations to implement natural and cultural resources management, restoration, and/or enhancement projects on or around this year's National Public Lands Day on September 25, 2021

For 2021, DoD is asking applicants to think creatively! How can DoD Natural and Cultural Resources Managers lead NPLD events that accommodate our current reality? We seek proposals that enhance broader strategic or programmatic objectives, particularly for cultural resources. Applications for the 2021 NPLD DoD Awards are due by 11:59pm (EST) on Friday, July 9, 2021.

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


Applicants must be:

  • A Department of Defense installation site that are 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;
  • Registered for National Public Lands Day.

Applicants must propose a project that:

  • Takes place on September 25th (project dates that take place 2 weeks prior and 4 weeks post NPLD are acceptable);
  • Describes a needed and well thought out project that can be completed by November 30, 2021.
  • 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 physical distancing friendly.
    • Improve or enhance broader strategic or programmatic objectives in natural and cultural resources conservation on the DoD installation; (engage installation natural and/or cultural resources managers if you do not know what these program objectives are)
    • Involve or benefit the broader community; and
    • 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, recipient must have successfully completed past project(s) on time, achieved goals, and was responsive in communications with NEEF, including submitting a satisfactory Final Report.

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

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


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 item, 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.

Funding for signage will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may be allowable provided the signage is installed by the volunteers during the event. Funding requests for tools and signage should be balanced against other project needs.

*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 25, 2021. 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 November 30, 2021.

Application Due: by 11:59pm (EST) on Friday July 9, 2021

Awards Announced: Mid/Late August

National Public Lands Day project: September 25, 2021 (or alternate date)

National Public Lands Day project completion deadline: November 30, 2021

Final Reports Due: January 11, 2022


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 2021 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