Great Blue Heron in a Monet

Good morning everyone! Today is National Public Lands Day (who knew), a volunteer happening for our shared outdoors. “Last year, 139 national park sites held NPLD events, joining more than 2,200 sites across the country to celebrate the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. More than 175,000 volunteers got their hands dirty on the last day of September to clean, restore, and enhance the lands we all share and enjoy.”

What is National Public Lands Day, you ask?

NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. It proved to be a huge success and became a yearly tradition, typically held on the last Saturday in September. Since the first NPLD, the event has grown by leaps and bounds.

Last year NPLD volunteers:

  • Collected an estimated 23,000 pounds of invasive plants
  • Built and maintained an estimated 1,500 miles of trails
  • Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
  • Removed an estimated 500 tons of trash from trails and other places
  • Contributed an estimated $18 million through volunteer services to improve public lands across the country

If you want to pitch in, click here find out what’s scheduled near you. You can help plant seedlings, clean up litter, maintain trails, and the like. And get outdoors.

You can go to any National Park today for free (list) even if there aren’t any organized projects near you. Those who do volunteer get a free pass to use another time as a thank you.

The organizers set up a year round website, as well. Why limit the fun to the last Saturday in September?

What’s your favorite public space? I’ve been to many of the National Parks over the years, I think Zion is mystical, Yosemite’s glorious, and Yellowstone is out of this world. What’s in your neighborhood? And what’s on your bucket list?

H/T Kim Bellware

Photo by zenbikescience under Creative Commons license