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The Importance of Friends Groups and the Public Lands Every Day Program

The Importance of Friends Groups and the Public Lands Every Day Program

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Center Volunteers work on the restoration of Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C.

How can you be a friend to your public lands? Lend a hand to support the environment you love! If you have a favorite park or public land, find out if they have a Friends Group. Join a Friends Group as a way to contribute to the quality and health of our nation’s parks and green spaces. Friends Groups support parks year-round and will come together on Saturday, September 29, for a day of service known as National Public Lands Day.  

What is a Friends Group?

A Friends Group can be a nonprofit, cooperating association or group of dedicated citizens that work to support a specific park or group of parks. They can lead volunteer projects, present education programs or help raise money for improvements. Friends Group opportunities abound—you might build a new trail, remove invasive species, host an education fair, or connect with like-minded people and serve as a voice for public lands.

Friends Groups can be any size: from large scale organizations with thousands of members to small, community-driven groups. A majority of Friends Groups started as grassroots, answering a call to action. No matter how they start or what their magnitude, these groups are important to the wellness of our natural world.

Join a Friends Group and Volunteer on National Public Lands Day

And now that National Public Lands Day is just around the corner, why not use the opportunity to connect with a group near you or start your own?

National Public Lands Day has events across the country and many of them are led by Friends Groups.

To find a Friends Group, contact the organization or agency that manages the land you wish to support. National Public Lands Day partners include the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Department of Defense, and Environmental Protection Agency.

As a National Public Lands Day volunteer you can take advantage of a fee-free coupon for one day of free entry at any participating agency.

Remember to bring your camera on September 29 to participate in the 11th annual National Public Lands Day Volunteers in Action Photo Contest. Snap some good ones of your fellow volunteers planting trees, repairing trails, enhancing native habitats and enjoying their surroundings. Entrants receive prizes and may have their photos featured on the National Public Lands Day website.

Read some examples of Friends Groups' accomplishments last year and, if you’re interested in leading your own National Public Lands Day event, go ahead and register.

Still need reasons to volunteer? Here are a few more. So what are you waiting for?