UW Combined Fund Drive

August 30, 2023

Celebrate National Public Lands Day

Every fourth Saturday of September since 1944, outdoor enthusiasts have come together to spend a day volunteering in and celebrating our nation’s green spaces. This year, National Public Lands day falls on Saturday, September 23. 

Public lands and waters are fee-free for the day and there are TONS of volunteer opportunities – find an event near you.

National Public Lands Day is organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation and this year the event celebrates 30 years of care and community

This year, more than 70,000 people are expected to join in volunteer projects: trail maintenance, park and river clean ups, tree planting activities, invasive species removal projects and more.

In celebrating our connection with nature it is important to recognize mistreatment of public lands. Just in Denali National Park, Yosemite and Grant Teton National Parks, visitors have been linked to generating as much as 100 million pounds of trash.

Litter is obviously unsightly, and it also poses an inedible, toxic hazard to animals and can leach chemicals into the soil. Leftover food, or feeding wildlife, can increase animal conflicts with visitors as well as contribute to wildlife malnourishment or death if fed the wrong food.  

National Public Lands Day connects volunteers of all ages and abilities, fostering community, teamwork, and the enjoyment of public lands for education, recreation, and well-being.

Being conscious consumers and visitors is a great way to celebrate National Public Lands Day. Whether it’s replacing your plastic water bottle with a reusable one, switching to biodegradable products, or volunteering to pick up litter, there are many ways to help protect the parks and trails you enjoy.  

Interested in celebrating National Public Lands Day? Here are a few ideas: 

Local volunteer opportunities

  • The National Park Service (charity code 0329915) is National Public Lands Day’s largest provider of spaces and volunteers.  
  • Help the Washington Trails Association (charity code 0315053) maintain trails in Washington. 
  • Join the Greenway Trust (charity code 0314995) with a variety of tasks from salvaging native plants to clearing vegetation.  
  • Looking for more ways to volunteer in your area? Input your zip code here!   

Learn More

Corazón Latino: A national non-profit organization that seeks to generate social, environmental, and conservation initiatives that foster natural resource stewardship. They focus on engaging underrepresented communities through innovative, culturally relevant, and linguistically appropriate tools and programs.

Disabled & Outdoors: Started in 2018 as an Instagram page for members of the Disability community to share their experiences, challenges, and successes while spending time in the outdoors, Disabled & Outdoors has grown to more than 6,000 followers. They currently work to make the outdoors more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.

Pride Outside: A nationwide group working to promote relevant, inclusive opportunities outdoors for the LGBTQ+ community.

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC): The USDAC is a people-powered department — a grassroots action network inciting creativity to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.

Rangering in the Tenth Decade: Betty Soskin is a National Park Service ranger at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. She is the country’s oldest full-time national park ranger.


Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively working to transform our communities through meaningful connections to our natural spaces:

Help protect Mt. Rainier, the North Cascades and Olympic Nat’l Park at Washington’s National Park Fund (charity code 0340920).

Ensure there’s a park within a 10-minute walk of every resident with The Trust for Public Land (charity code 0315042).

Protect and restore your state parks with the Washington State Parks Foundation (charity code 0315070).

Join Conservation Northwest in connecting habitat, protecting wildlands, and restoring wildlife (charity code 0320835). 

Create a connected system of safe and accessible green spaces with Seattle Parks Foundation (charity code 0315031).

Enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities and families and helps them to get out and enjoy the great outdoors with Outdoors For All (charity code 0320849). 

Contributed by Nicole Reeve-Parker