This Saturday, join the nationwide volunteer effort to better the great outdoors of the U.S. It's the 17th edition of National Public Lands Day, and it's the perfect opportunity to teach your Scouts about the importance of the open spaces near you.
Though most people think of state and national parks when hearing the term "public lands," event organizers want you to remember that "school yards, city and county parks, neighborhood playgrounds, bike paths, and walking trails" are all public lands.
In other words, your pack, troop, or crew won't have to travel far this Saturday to find the perfect spot for a project.
Last year, about 2,500 Boy Scouts from 127 troops volunteered on 46 public land sites across the country, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation, which hosts the event. This year could be even bigger.
You can plan your own small-scale event on a unit level. Or check out the work sites near you by exploring this interactive map.
If you are close to a national park, there's more good news: entrance on National Public Lands Day is free. It's one of several fee-free days at national parks across the country.
What kind of project should you plan? The possibilities are unlimited, but the NPLD Web site offers a few suggestions:
- Install bird boxes.
- Plant trees and native vegetation.
- Improve wildlife habitat.
- Clean up trash.
- Collect native seeds.
- Repair stream banks.
- Clean or build trails.
- Remove invasive plants.
- Paint picnic tables and renew campgrounds.
- Weed plant nurseries.
- Take photographs.
The Boy Scouts of America is built around enjoyment of the outdoors. Through events like National Public Lands Day, Scouts can help ensure that these critical outdoor spaces will be here to stay.