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Reasons to Volunteer on Public Lands

Reasons to Volunteer on Public Lands

Get ready to do some good for our publically owned environment this summer—and all year long.

volunteer Volunteers at Kenilworth Park Aquatic Gardens help to restore, protect and maintain these shared lands for everyone to enjoy.

This year, more than 170,000 Americans are expected to volunteer at more than 2,000 public lands sites on or around Saturday, September 29. Traditionally, the last Saturday of September has served as a day for Americans to improve parks, refuges, recreation areas, trails, community gardens and historic sites throughout the country.

What did volunteers accomplish last year?

  • The removal of 500 tons of trash: that’s slightly heavier than a 747. 
  • The removal of 23,000 lbs of invasive plant species: that’s about how much a school bus weighs.
  • They built and maintained 1,500 miles of trails: that’s about the distance between San Diego, California and Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • They planted 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, among other projects.
Why not take on a fun challenge and try to up those already impressive numbers from last year? After all, one-third of America’s land is publicly owned. And if that’s not enough of a reason to get out and volunteer at a National Public Lands Day site, here are some more great reasons to volunteer:

Connect With Nature

Service projects will get you outside, appreciating your natural environment. Whether you’ve been getting outdoors on a regular basis lately or not, use this as an excuse to breathe some fresh air, enjoy the scenery, and get to know the flora and fauna.

Have a Positive Impact on Your Community’s Health and Restoration

You’ll connect with other members of your community and like-minded individuals and inspire each other to work on future projects that could be beneficial to the environment. You may even inspire friends and family who were previously uninterested to help out, ultimately growing the community of volunteers.

Become a Volunteer of the Year

Mark Thien, co-founder of the Nashville Clean Water Project, was named the 2011 Volunteer of the Year, for spearheading a large scale eco-recovery initiative at J. Percy Priest Lake on September 24, 2011. Why not aim high?  Read about four other award winners.

Take Strides Toward a Healthier Country

Volunteering at a Public Lands Day Site stimulates outdoor recreation and reminds volunteers, their family members and friends of all the nearby places to hike, bike, climb, swim and explore. It’s one step towards reducing childhood obesity, diabetes and other health conditions—and helping people engage in healthier lifestyles.


For more information, read these FAQs or check out Volunteer.gov.

Want to register your own NPLD event? Register Online.