ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Volunteers participated in events at five U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the Albuquerque District in observance of National Public Lands Day.

"While this year's turn out for NPLD events were not near the volume of numbers in the past (quantity), the quality of work was outstanding," said Albuquerque District commander Lt. Col. Larry Caswell.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. It began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers and became a yearly tradition.

Last year, more than 7,500 volunteers served 34,000 hours on USACE-managed lands, removing 51,000 pounds of trash, cleaning 1,100 miles of roadways and shoreline, improving 320 acres of habitat, and engaging 218 partner organizations.

This year within the Albuquerque District, USACE, NPLD events were held at Abiquiu, Cochiti, Conchas, and Santa Rosa lakes in New Mexico, and at John Martin Reservoir in Colorado.

Thirty-two volunteers turned out to assist with both shoreline and campground cleanup, as well as the creation of a new pollinator garden and pathway, Sept. 28, 2019. The volunteers also assisted with the installation of a new ADA accessible playground and went out on a boat to do shoreline pickup.

EspaƱola, New Mexico, radio station KDCE did a remote live broadcast during the event. Additionally, in partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Center, a live-animal presentation was held the evening of Sept. 27, in the campground.

"It turned out really good," said John Mueller, Abiquiu Dam project office manager.

Approximately 15 volunteers led by park rangers Juan Sanchez and Wesley Myers, turned out Sept. 28, 2019, to plant cottonwood poles in 10 trench holes at locations beside the swim beach.

The Albuquerque District's deputy district commander, Lt. Col. Robin Scott and Mark Yuska, chief of the district's Operations Division also participated in the tree planting.

"We had about 20 volunteers plant over 150 trees on the swim beach. We were so grateful to have such a great group of people come by and create shade for recreation and habitat for our wildlife!" said Sanchez.

Volunteers and staff cleaned up more than 1.6 miles of shoreline, removing 10 tires and 500 pounds of trash, Sept. 28, 2019.

"It was overall a productive day," said Nadine Carter, lead park ranger.

Forty volunteers, including students and staff from the local high school and middle school, came out to help clean up the shoreline and roadsides, Sept. 21, 2019.

The volunteers "walked 1.5 miles along Highway 91 to the cattle guard and resumed clean up at the shoreline and boat ramp and Juniper Park recreation areas," said park ranger Paul Sanchez. They collected about 1,000 pounds of trash.

"A special thanks goes out to our students and staff at Santa Rosa High School and Middle School as well as New Mexico State Parks, Community sponsors and all the volunteers that help make this a successful event. We are proud of our community and we will continue the National Public Lands Day tradition for years to come. Thank you!" said Sanchez.

Sanchez also mentioned their special guest, "Ranger Bob" Mumford. Ranger Bob retired as a park ranger at the Albuquerque District's Santa Rosa Lake Project in 2012 and continues to reside in Santa Rosa.

"Ranger Bob has always had a special place in his heart for our youth and was very happy to participate and walk side by side with our Santa Rosa High School and Middle School students to conduct a road side and shoreline clean up," Sanchez said.

One volunteer joined two Albuquerque District park rangers at the reservoir to install key components for the upcoming disc golf course.

"It was great to make real progress on this project this year!" said lead park ranger Christopher Gauger.