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national public lands day

Volunteers Experience the Power of Service and Healing in the Rainforest

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria, a deadly category 5 hurricane devastated Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Amidst the devastation was the El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest among the USDA Forest Service’s 193 million acres. Reliably lush and green, the forest was left denuded and nearly unrecognizable.

Forest Service Brings People Together for National Public Lands Day

Organizing the largest single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands in the country, National Public Lands Day, is no easy feat for the U.S. Forest Service. That’s 40 days of volunteer projects, BioBlitzes, fishing derbies, and educational events, all of which are registered with the National Environmental Education Foundation, the organization that started National Public Lands Day 23 years ago.

Forest Service waives fees in support of the nation’s largest volunteer effort on public lands


As the fall season slowly matriculates and the autumn equinox makes its debut, volunteers are encouraged to give back by participating in the annual National Public Lands Day.

National Public Lands Day, in its 22nd year, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers served at over 2,000 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Since it’s inception in 1994, with only three sites and 700 volunteers, the event has garnered community support year-after-year.

US Forest Service Waives Fees in Support of the Largest, Single-Day Volunteer Effort on Public Lands

As the waning, sweltering summer days transition to the cooler weather of autumn many people take the opportunity to give back by participating in the annual National Public Lands Day.

The Sept. 27 event, in its 21st year, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers at 2,237 sites worked hard, collected an estimated 23,000 pounds of invasive plants, planted about 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plans and removed an estimated 500 tons of trash.

Forest Service Celebrates Opening of Arboretum and Children's Forest

The Forest Service recently celebrated the opening of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum at the Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park in Milwaukee.

In 2012, the USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region proudly joined Urban Ecology Center partners – the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Parks and the River Revitalization Foundation – in this exciting project.

The designation as a Forest Service’s Children’s Forest adds an element of wonder to the space. As visitors explore this outdoor play space, they will discover interpretive stations to help them forge a deeper connection with nature. Only one of 22 children’s forests throughout the country, this Milwaukee forest is one of only three located within a major urban area.

Celebrate Fall Season With Free Access to Public Lands on Sept. 28

The crisp fall air provides an invigorating environment for outdoor activity.  What better time to visit and volunteer on our national forests and grasslands than on Sept. 28, for the 20th annual National Public Lands Day and second annual National Tribal Lands Day. This is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation. This year’s theme is: “Helping Hands for America’s Lands.”

National Public Lands Day is one of six fee-free days in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Get Outdoors Day, and Veterans Day Weekend. Fees are waived generally for day use, such as picnic areas, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers. Fees are not waived for concessionaire-operated facilities or for overnight use such as camping or recreation rentals.

USDA, Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Invite You to Get Involved in Conservation Efforts

America’s farmers, ranchers and forest owners have a great tradition of stewardship of our natural resources and environment. The U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other USDA agencies work in partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest owners, conservation groups, sportsmen, local communities, businesses and many others to encourage the conservation of both our public and private lands. This month – National Conservation Month – the Forest Service and NRCS are making several announcements that highlight the commitment of USDA and its partners to natural resource stewardship on public and private lands.

Later today, Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the latest round of recipients for the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants program (CIG). These grants stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches that improve the productivity of farms, ranches and forests while enhancing the environment. For example, last year the University of Delaware used a CIG grant from NRCS to assist poultry producers in improving their operations and their environmental performance, and helping them comply with federal and state environmental quality requirements.

US Forest Service Celebrates National Get Outdoors Day June 8

National Get Outdoors Day, created in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, will include a wide variety of opportunities to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun, from a rousing day of festivities in City Park in Denver to quieter observations on some national forest and grasslands.

Go Day, as it is often called, was launched June 14, 2008, through a partnership between the Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition. Built on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other efforts, Go Day connects Americans – especially children – with nature and active lifestyles.

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps Students Improve Historic Site

Each year, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in America, National Public Lands Day. Students and staff of the  Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center contributed over 250 hours of service on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests as a part of this year’s efforts.