National Public Lands Day (NLPD) is an important awareness campaign and day of service created by the National Environmental Education Foundation’s (NEEF), an organization that was chartered by Congress in 1990 to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and advance environmental literacy nationwide. NEEF's vision is bold: By 2022, 300 million Americans will actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the wellbeing of the earth and its people. To achieve its vision, NEEF offers scientific, unbiased, factual information through its own communications platforms, as well as a network of trusted professionals and affinity communities that, with their relationships and credibility, amplify environmental messages to national audiences. Through the promotion of volunteer service on NPLD as well as grant support to local organizations, NEEF helps ensure people of all ages and abilities connect with public lands for recreation, hands-on learning, and community-building—now and in the future. 

Last year, NPLD’s 25th anniversary saw over 110,000 volunteers working 450,000 hours at over 1,100 sites nationwide. In a post-event survey, it was determined that volunteers collected 198,772 pounds of trash, planted 12,431 trees, and removed over 500,000 pounds of invasive plants. NPLD events are open to people of all ages and abilities. To encourage people to join in the fun, NPLD is also a fee-free day for national parks and most other federal public lands, state parks, and other local places. 


This year, AORE is working to help NEEF make the 26th annual NPLD even bigger and better than previous events! In conjunction with NLPD, we will hold AORE's 4th annual AORE National Day of Service on September 28th in order to give back to our public lands, which mean so much to us personally, the programs we deliver, and the people that we serve. This association-wide event was created as a way of connecting the AORE community around this vital NPLD initiative and rallying our collective capacity to make an impact.

AORE has chosen to help promote National Public Lands Day because NEEF’s mission and vision supports our own. AORE generally advances policies that promote the preservation and conservation of the natural environment. Our association is particularly interested in the protection of public lands and waters where members provide outdoor recreation and education activities. Protecting public lands and waters helps to ensure that these places continue to be desirable destinations and effective learning and personal development settings for AORE's member programs. In this respect, protected public places are essential to the success of organizations that provide outdoor recreation and education programs.


AORE members and affiliates will join hundreds of thousands of people on September 28th for on the largest single-day volunteer effort dedicated to America’s public lands. Member programs across the country will be planting trees, building and maintaining trails, pulling invasive species, picking up trash, and much more in an effort to enhance and improve the public lands we all enjoy so much. This day helps to connect people to public lands and their communities, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health. Many events even go beyond volunteering to include recreational and educational activities, like hikes, bike rides, paddling, bird watching, and water quality testing.

Event Details:

Who: Anyone willing to volunteer to help better our public lands
What: AORE's National Service Day (in support of NPLD)
When: September 28th, 2019 --- All day!
Where: Any location on public lands.
Why: Because our public lands give so much to us, let’s join together for one day and give back to them.
How: Register for AORE's National Service Day to indicate your involvement so we can follow your volunteer efforts and promote them! Also list your NLPD events on our website using this form, which will ensure other AORE members can locate them and sign up!

Event FAQs:

Does this count as an activity for the Campus Challenge?

How do you know who is participating?
Visit our website and register for AORE's National Serivce Day so we know that you have committed to giving back to our public lands on September, 28th. Then take photos and tag any photos on social media with #AORESerivceDay. We will send out a post-event survey to all participants to gather feedback on how to make this important day even better for next year.

How do I find an event?
Then visit the National Environmental Education Foundation for more information on volunteering, to post/promote your own NPLD service project, and to find/participate in projects near you. You can also check AORE event listings for NPLD opportunities or contact your local public lands offices and see if they have put a NPLD event together independently.

Can I put an event together? How big does it have to be?
YES! Work with a local public land manager in your area. The event can be as big or as small as you want.

What are examples of events?
Some options include participating in trail builds, trail maintenance, invasive species removal, restore historic structures, restore habitat, beach cleanup, tree planting, campsite maintenance, and/or trash removal.

How do I promote this event?
Access a full marketing toolkit from NEEF to help promote your event. Please remember to tag any of your social media with #AOREServiceDay. And sign up for AORE's National Service Day on our website so that we can see all the awesome work you are putting together!

This article was written by Sandra Townsend, one of the Outdoor Program Coordinators at the University of Idaho. She has been an AORE member for the past seven years and is now serving in a volunteer leadership role as a part of AORE's Environmental and Sustainability Committee this year. She is overseeing the AORE’s National Service Day efforts around NPLD in 2019.