On September 22nd 400 Scouters were welcomed by the Trust for the National Mall as they converged to volunteer their time and effort to a variety of Mall-related service projects. The day also marked the National Environmental Education Foundation’s celebration of the 25th Annual National Public Lands Day. Known as the largest single-day volunteer effort, this year’s theme of resilience and restoration was inspired by a pressing need to address the effects of a spate of natural disasters and extreme weather that have taken a terrible toll on both public lands and those who depend upon them.
With over 35 million visits and 3,000 permitted events annually, the National Mall is the most visited National Park in the country. This level of use in “America’s Front Yard” puts an enormous strain on available resources, so volunteer efforts make a massive difference; a difference that is estimated to save the National Park Service nearly $1 million in annual labor costs. Scouts engaged in river clean up, painting park benches, and spreading mulch.
Participating Scouts also received a commemorative patch, lunch, and a few other goodies courtesy of event sponsors.
Service is at the core of Scouting, and with National Parks serving as the backdrop to many Scouting adventures, outings such as this one bring participants ever closer in their relationship to the parks.