Happy late National Public Lands Day! Over the last couple of months, I have been organizing a National Public Lands Day (NPLD) event with our partner, Public Lands Interpretive Association (PLIA). PLIA's Event Coordinator, Reyna Butler and I prepared for the celebration by outreaching at local farmer markets, posting flyers around town, inviting local schools, sharing it with several newspapers, and posting it on all social media platforms.
The Kaibab National Forest’s NPLD event was held at Kaibab Lake Campground, a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and of course camping. Twenty-six volunteers collected ten trash bags full of invasive yellow sweet clover and four bags of trash from the lakeshore. We also had a “seed bomb” station where volunteers learned about the importance of native habitats and made seed bombs to take home. They consisted of natural clay, soil, and native seeds that was provided by Northern Arizona University Greenhouse Research Complex. This activity was a big hit for the volunteers. If you’re interested in recreating these at home, the instructions are linked down below.
For those that might be unfamiliar with NPLD, the holiday was established in 1994 and is the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. It is held on the fourth Saturday of September and is a “Fee-Free Day.” On this day you can enter your favorite national park for free or waive the standard amenity fee for other public lands. This year’s theme was “More Ways to Connect to Nature.” The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) organized several seminars called "Nature for All" to assist NPLD facilitators in creating a more inclusive, welcoming, and accommodating event. I found the seminars to be a great resource beyond event planning. They discussed tribal relations, accessibility, and cultural values pertaining to the outdoors. These discussions are important to reflect on how we as land agencies and individuals interact with visitors. It is crucial to remind oneself that not everyone will use these spaces the same way. An action we can all take is ensuring everyone has access to nature and the opportunity to gain the physical and mental benefits of our public lands.
Seed bomb info: https://bit.ly/seedbombsdiy
Agency: U.S Forest Service
Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)
Location: Kaibab National Forest