Florida State Parks Celebrate National Public Lands Day Events From 9/21-9/28 In 2019
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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A message from Eric Draper, Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection of Recreation and Parks, in italics, below:
National Public Lands Day Strengthens Parks, People and Communities
Around this time last year, I was in the dirt at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park pulling up invasive coral ardisia plants. I was part of a group led by Florida Conservation Corps member Kelli Greene, whose job is building enthusiasm and support for invasive plant removal projects. Kelli had tasked us with clearing an acre of ardisia. The noxious weed crowds out every other plant. It must be pulled up root-and-all, or else it will produce more red seeds that persist and quickly spread.
It was National Public Lands Day, among the most significant single-day volunteer events in the nation. I went to the event at Maclay Gardens because volunteering in parks is fun and rewarding. Our energetic team of about 20 people made jokes and had a great sense of camaraderie as we pulled up plants and bagged them for disposal.
Once I learned how disruptive coral ardisia and other invasive plants are to nature, seeing a large group of them is a disturbing sight. The reward of park volunteering is seeing a forest without any coral ardisia, or a beach free of plastic debris, and knowing that it’s a better home for native plants and wildlife.
I remember that day at Maclay Gardens well because I made new friends and had a lot of fun. This year, I hope to have another memorable experience. Florida State Parks will host many opportunities to celebrate public lands beginning Saturday, September 21st, International Coastal Cleanup Day, through Saturday, September 28th, National Public Lands Day. Park entrance is free for many events, and they offer the opportunity to meet people who are excited to make America’s parks better for everyone.
To get to know who Eric Draper is:
EX-OFFICIO BOARD MEMBER (of Florida State Parks Foundation)
Eric Draper is Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks. Florida’s 175 state parks and trails,1000 employees and nearly 15,000 volunteers provide more than 30 million unique visitor experiences on 800,000 acres of the state’s best managed conservation land and have a $3 billion annual economic impact.
Prior to being Director of the Florida Park Service, Eric Draper was President of the Florida Audubon Society. During his career he was a leading advocate for water and land conservation and Everglades restoration and is credited with helping secure billions in environmental spending and playing a lead role in most state environment policy decisions over the past three decades. In addition to his work in Florida, he spent five years in Washington DC leading grassroots environmental policy campaigns.
To get to know National Public Lands Day (Sat., Sep. 28, 2019), please refer to an excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually at public lands in the United States on the fourth Saturday of September. A signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, it promotes both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands.
Three federal agencies and 700 volunteers launched the first National Public Lands Day in 1994. By 2010, participation grew to 170,000 volunteers at over 2,000 sites across the country, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. In addition to National Public Lands Day being a fee-free day (free entry day) at many federally managed lands, volunteers who participate at federal land sites are rewarded with coupons for free entry into their favorite federal public land areas that have entrance fees.
The 2008 event featured an initiative to plant one million trees in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. This goal was exceeded, with more than 1.6 million trees planted. The 2009 event featured a preview of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which began airing the next night on PBS stations nationwide. The preview was sent to each national park on DVD and aired in their visitor center auditoriums. Other National Public Lands Day events occurred on September 24, 2011 and September 29, 2012.
This year, the National Public Lands Day would fall on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
Check out all the amenities of Florida State Parks by clicking HERE.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
~Let’s Help One Another~
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