'Take Back the Prairie Day' set in Fergus FallsOn September 24, more than 170,000 Americans are expected to volunteer to help restore the beauty and vitality of our public lands as part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD).
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
On September 24, more than 170,000 Americans are expected to volunteer to help restore the beauty and vitality of our public lands as part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD).
Since 1994, this annual event brings together thousands of volunteers from coast to coast to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use for recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment. Last year over 150,000 Americans participated at sites in all 50 states.
In Fergus Falls, the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC) is hosting “Take Back the Prairie Day” to assist in this national effort. Volunteers of all ages are invited to gather at the PWLC from 9 a.m. to noon to participate in this “hands-on” initiative to improve the prairie and oak savanna habitats.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for family, friends, and co-workers to come together to improve our national lands,” stated Matt Conner, visitor services manager at the PWLC.
The first step in taking back the prairie is to decide which activity to sign up for:
--Buckthorn Buster (cut and haul buckthorn)
--Prairie Planter (plant greenhouse plants outside)
--Weed Whacker (tackle invasive species)
--Seed Selector (harvest native seeds)
RSVP appreciated but not mandatory. Volunteers should call 998-4481 to sign up for the team of their choice. Individuals, groups, families, neighbors, youth, co-workers, relatives -- everyone is welcome.
Volunteers assist from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and then everyone meets at the barn for a complementary cookout (including hotdogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers) provided by the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. A nature-themed open mic also begins at 11:30 a.m., so bring your instruments. Come ready to share or sing-along to favorite songs, or read your favorite nature essay or poem.
Conner added, “Please bring gloves and hand tools if you have them. Some tools and gloves are available if needed, but we anticipate a big crowd and want to make sure we have plenty of materials for those who do not have their own.”
The following PWLC partners and supporters make this local event possible: Friends of the PWLC, Girl Scout Troop Dakota Horizon, and Federated Church (live appearance of Mr. Buck Thorn!). Other groups are encouraged and invited to participate.
Starting with only three sites and 700 volunteers, NPLD has grown over the years. Last year, 170,000 volunteers worked at over 2,080 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories. NPLD volunteers:
Removed an estimated 450 tons of trash
Collected an estimated 20,000 pounds of invasive plants
Built and maintained an estimated 1,320 miles of trails
Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
Contributed an estimated $15 million to improve public lands across the country
Eight federal agencies, nonprofits and state, regional and local governments participate in the annual day of caring for shared lands including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, of which the PWLC is part.
NPLD keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the "tree army" that worked from 1933-1942 to preserve and protect America's natural heritage.
For more information about NPLD, visit: http://on.fb.me/usfws.PWLC for a video and http://www.publiclandsday.org/.