Looking for a volunteer opportunity that will make a difference for future generations? How about digging in to plant prairie and meadow grasses in Illinois? Restoring structures and grounds at the Fort McHenry historic site in Baltimore? Or planting trees around an urban tree house in Wisconsin?
Thousands of Americans are expected to volunteer to join in those and hundreds of other activities on Saturday, Sept. 20, as part of the 10th annual National Public Lands Day, the country's largest volunteer, hands-on effort of its kind.
Volunteers in every state will provide the event's “Helping Hands for America's Lands.” This year's activities will focus on improving and preserving this country's habitats — the forests, mountains, prairies, plains, rivers, wetlands, and urban places that are home to a rich diversity of animals, birds, and plants.
Volunteers will plant trees, sow seeds, clean up streams and waterways, and clear weeds and overgrown brush.
In addition to restoring habitat, National Public Lands Day volunteers will be installing signs, improving trails and campgrounds, and building facilities. For example, at Kentucky's Barren River Lake, volunteers in boats will clean up shores; they will construct fish habitat at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas.
In Texas' Crossbar site, they will cut salt cedar and stack brush for wildlife use; and they will weed the gardens at the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia.
Sponsored for the fifth consecutive year by Toyota Motor Sales USA, National Public Lands Day is expected to attract thousands of volunteers to more than 500 sites in all 50 states, including national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs managed by government agencies, but belonging to everyone.
Toyota this year launches an additional three-year commitment to sponsor National Public Lands Day. Sponsorship of national and regional environmental preservation projects is just one of many areas in which Toyota has proven environmental stewardship.
Toyota operates under a Global Earth Charter that makes caring for the earth a priority. The company created the world's first mass-produced, clean-running gas/electric hybrid car, the Prius, which has received numerous environmental awards, most notably from the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation.
“Thousands of Americans demonstrate each year how much this country's public lands mean to them by contributing millions of dollars worth of work, time, and supplies on National Public Lands Day,” said Kevin Coyle, president of the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, which has managed and coordinated the effort from its start in 1994.
“This day-long event embodies the national focus on volunteerism, and represents the country's commitment to preserving its public places for generations to come. We hope even more Americans can join us this year.”