DoD is funding 41 National Public Lands Day (NPLD) sites on military installations in 2011. The event encourages volunteers to explore and enjoy America’s natural wonders through outdoor recreation. Find out more about one of these projects below.
Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove’s first National Public Lands Day project was held on September 23, 2005. Now six years later on September 23rd we held our sixth consecutive event. We have evolved from simply planting trees to also removing invasive species in our riparian areas as well as other locations on base. We have also started planting native species to create a unique ecosystem for a variety of pollinators to bolster our endangered species habitat. This requires teams working together in different locations and planting are dependent on weather and the season. A continuation of this year NPLD will occur the first week in December when we will plant American chestnut and Chinquapin trees.
Friday morning started off dreary and a 70% threat of rain. The first group of eight was led by CE2 Justin Faison, the Command’s volunteer Conservation Officer. They planted 10 Persimmon trees in various locations to enhance wildlife habitat. Twelve brave souls gathered at the recycling center while a slight drizzle fell on them. After a brief talk of what NPLD and safety brief, Mr. Jack Markham from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic Division, explained the importance of invasive species removal and a brief synopsis of the benefits of planting native species. As the team took the field ready for battle, the weather broke making the chore tolerable. After almost three hours the weather moved in as a steady rain. This was an indicator that the day’s project was completed, with over a ton of wood chips being the final result.
A hearty well done was passed out to the volunteers and a group photo of the “brush busters” was taken. The total day’s labor is a great contribution to the Potomac River Basin and the Chesapeake Bay watershed because a few people cared. Over 50 volunteer hours resulted in 10 new trees being planted for wildlife and almost 2,500 pounds of invasive species removed and 18 people who feel better about themselves this weekend.