Parks Beautified on Public Lands Day
About 200 volunteers gathered Saturday (Sept. 29) at Fort Boonesborough State Park in Kentucky to help beautify the park in honor of National Public Lands Day, according to the Richmond (Ky.) Register.
Eighteen different groups were formed and they all went to work at various spots throughout the park.
Some were picking up trash along Highway 627, others were busy planting trees (100 blue spruce and 60 other full-size trees) in the park’s campground area.
“I hope the shade trees make for a more pleasurable stay in our campground,” said Bryan Cole, park supervisor, who was in charge of overseeing Saturday’s event.
The Fort Boonesborough Foundation purchased $1,000 worth of trees for planting during the Lands Day project that also will include bridge repair and the installation of more benches throughout the park.
A few of the groups will work on constructing an outdoor classroom.
“We want to include as many people as we can and I think the outdoor classroom will serve as a springboard for that,” Cole said.
The majority of Saturday’s volunteers were Toyota employees, but there also was a strong representation of several local organizations including 4-H Clubs, employees of Toyota South in Richmond, teens from Madison and Clark counties‚ Teen Drug Court program members, the Eastern Kentucky University of Kentucky’s chapter of the Wildlife Society and Phi Sigma, the Fort Boonesborough Foundation, the Kentucky chapter of the American Chestnut Tree Foundation and Eastside Baptist Church.
Toyota has been the National Public Lands Day national sponsor since 1999 and thousands of Toyota employees have participated in volunteer efforts.
“Each year we select a different site,” said Dan May, public relations director for Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Ky. “We find an area where we might have an impact. The main drive is our Toyota team members.”
The Grand Canyon in Arizona, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park in West Virginia and Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument in Washington are but a few of the other national parks that will benefit from National Public Lands Day.
The national day of volunteering started in 1994 with the support of three federal agencies and about 700 volunteers.
The effort has grown to include nine federal agencies, and in 2006, about 100,000 volunteers assisted with the beautification of national forests.
The national annual effort not only is beneficial to Mother Nature, but also those who volunteer to help, said Robb Hampton, director of National Public Lands Day.
“In today’s technology-driven society, children are forsaking sunshine and wildlife for computer games and cartoons,” he said. “This weekend allows them an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy nature while spending time with family and friends.”