Grants totaling $150,000 will be used towards volunteer and educational activities that restore America’s forests, promote healthy activity and teach participants how to protect the sustainability of local public lands.
This year’s “National Public Lands Day Department of Defense Legacy” award from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), with funding support from the Department of Defense (DoD), sought projects to strengthen environmental and cultural resource enhancement activities at participating military installations. NEEF partnered with the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program for 2019 to offer funding of up to $9,500 each for NPLD related service projects at 13 military installation sites. By advancing environmental stewardship while focusing on cultural restoration projects that involve DoD members, their families, retirees, and veterans, the military takes an active, hands-on role in caring for their environment. Through this partnership, NPLD provides an opportunity for military personnel to lead stewardship efforts on installations.
Projects emphasize cultural and natural habitat restoration with many sites encouraging service members, their families, retirees, and veterans to connect with nature and enjoy the many health and “quality of life” benefits it provides. NEEF will also incorporate messaging and resources about cultural and natural habitat restoration to the more than 1,000 sites that typically participate in NPLD in order to maximize understanding and commitment to these efforts.
Grants were awarded to the following recipients:
- Arizona Army National Guard located in Arizona will be creating an educational history of the city of Mesa, Arizona and the Arizona Army National Guard to engage community members through a historical lens and perform restoration projects in the surrounding area.
- Fort Bragg Endangered Species Branch located in Fort Bragg, North Carolina plan to develop a wildlife and culturally significant native plants garden at the Fort Bragg Hunting and Fishing Center. The purpose of this garden will be to provide local military personnel, civilian, and native tribal communities with a self-guided interpretative area demonstrating some of the cultural values and history of these plants through the use of interpretive signage.
- Public Works Department NSA Hampton Roads located in Norfolk, Virginia plans to update their existing pollinator garden to plant native pollinator species, mulch, and build upon the garden at Portsmouth Annex to ensure a healthy and vibrant habitat for pollinators and our military patrons to visit. The project will plant native vegetation and establish oyster gardening practices to include oyster castles in an effort to positively influence the Lafayette River ecosystem, a target river for the Chesapeake Bay Program in an attempt to accomplish the revitalization of an overgrown pollinator garden and to help stabilize an eroding shoreline while providing suitable habitat for oysters and other marine life along the shore.
- NAVFAC Hawaii located in Hickam Field, Hawaii have proposed an educational program and restoration project for the Loko Paaiau fishpond to identify and remove invasive plant species in the area selected for a traditional Hawaiian structure, construct a stone foundation for the traditional Hawaiian housing structure and to remove approximately 8345 pounds of trash (3785 kg). The educational program will ensure long-term preservation and cultural knowledge.
- Fort Belvoir Directorate of Public Works located in Fairfax County, Virginia works to preserve cultural resources for future study and public education. They will host an event performing restoration and trail maintenance on The Belvoir Manor site trails.
- Hurlburt Field AFB located in Okaloosa County, Florida will host a volunteer event to perform environmental restoration and trail building and maintenance on the Grace Brown Nature Trail.
- DoD/MCIEast/MCB Camp Lejeune/G-F/EMD/ECON located in North Carolina will host an event to perform critical habitat restoration and natural disaster clean-ups in The Pollock’s Point Wildlife Viewing Area to provide the public with an enjoyable place to learn and recreate.
- 733d Civil Engineer Division, Environmental Element located in Fort Eustis, Virginia will host an event with a major focus on trail building, extending their current trail by 100ft.
- Fort Drum Military Installation located in Fort Drum, New York will host a dual purpose event with the effort of restoring the historical landscape of the LeRay Mansion Natural and Cultural Resources district and creating a community space for soldiers.
- Camp Ripley, Minnesota Army National Guard located in Morrison County, Minnesota will host an event dedicated towards public outreach, environmental restoration, along with the collaboration of the American Indian tribes to promote natural resource conservation in tandem with cultural appreciation.
- Texas Military Department located in Austin, Texas will conduct a public education and outreach campaign on environmental conservation.
- Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach located in Seal Beach, California will host a volunteer event on site with the objective of restoring native vegetation to several acres of upper saltmarsh habitat and adjacent upland habitat.
- Army Natural Resources Program located in Wahiawa, Hawaii will host an event focusing on the removal of invasive plant species and native habitat restoration.