National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is a national annual observance that typically falls on the last Saturday in September. It focuses on volunteer conservation of public lands (lands held by central or local governments).
Organized each year by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), National Public Lands Day promotes the connection between people and the environment by inviting everyone to get outside. Public lands in the United States include parks, forests, and wildlife management areas. Most of them are open for recreational use.
The Nations largest volunteer event, the event was first held in 1994 when 700 volunteers worked at three sites. The initiative turned out a huge success and became an annual tradition.
By 2014, participation grew to about 175,000 volunteers at more than 2,000 sites throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. NPLD focuses on caring for public lands across the country, educating the citizens about the natural resources and environment. Whether it be from damage caused by natural disasters and extreme weather, human activities or the host of other factors that impact upon our public lands threatening the health and well being of the people and wildlife who depend upon them, public land managers, volunteers, and others who steward these special places work tirelessly to restore these areas, make them more resilient to future threats, and ensure that people and wildlife continue to enjoy them for years to come.
It is supported by federal agencies, state, regional and local governments, and non-profit organizations. NPLD volunteers collect invasive plants, build and maintain trails, plant trees, shrubs and other plants, remove trash from trails and other places. They also donate money through volunteer services to help improve public land sites.
Every year sees a different theme applied to assist focus. The theme for 2018 focused on resilience and restoration with the theme for 2019 due to be announced shortly.