National Public Land’s Day draws volunteers to Prairie Oak Savanna
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jennifer Johnston-Kerr, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fish and Wildlife intern, hauls away a large log section after select trees were cut down on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sept. 23. (Photo Credit: Erika Larson, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works ) VIEW ORIGINAL
National Public Land’s Day draws volunteers to Prairie Oak Savanna
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kalen Davis, left, and Walter Hicks, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fish and Wildlife interns, look on while Dennis Buckingham, internship coordinator, explains the mechanics of felling a tree Sept. 23 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. (Photo Credit: Erika Larson, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works) VIEW ORIGINAL
National Public Land’s Day draws volunteers to Prairie Oak Savanna
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Darin Kerr, left, Amanda Campos, middle, and Kalen Davis, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fish and Wildlife interns, hand pull invasive scotch broom with weed wrenches in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord training area Sept. 23. (Photo Credit: Erika Larson, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works ) VIEW ORIGINAL

 JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – In celebration of National Public Lands Day, the Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental internship program and volunteers worked in one of the training areas in the Prairie Oak Savanna on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sept. 23 to create an important gradient edge, connecting deep forested areas and wetlands to the open prairie.

“Our goal today is to create a corridor through the oak woodland to connect forested (areas) and wetlands to prairie habitat,” said Dennis Buckingham, coordinator of the JBLM Fish and Wildlife environmental internship program. “This will allow the wildlife, especially birds, an easier path between the different habitats, which will promote biodiversity, population growth and a healthier forest.”

Natural Public Lands Day, which falls on the fourth Saturday in September, is the nation’s largest single-day volunteering event for public lands. Since 1994, it has brought volunteers together in government-owned green spaces and protected areas of undeveloped landscape that are a part of the public domain.

There are over 640 million acres of publicly owned lands, which include open spaces such as parks, conservation areas, refuges, preserves, forests, monuments, historic sites, battlefields and other various recreational areas. National Public Lands Day is the one day out of the year when volunteers can continue upholding the promise made by the Civilian Conservation Corps that worked endlessly from 1933 to 1942 to preserve America’s natural heritage.

Like thousands of volunteers across the country, JBLM Fish and Wildlife’s goal is not only to provide restoration and needed upkeep to the training lands, but also to celebrate the connection between people and green spaces, inspire environmental stewardship and encourage use of these spaces for education, health benefits and recreation, Buckingham said.

Efforts like these support the installations’ training lands sustainability goals to assist in the recovery of all listed and candidate federal species in South Puget Sound Region, he said, noting the initiative also maintains JBLM’s ability to meet current and future military missions -- without compromising the integrity of natural and cultural resources both on the installation, and regionally.

“With support from JBLM Fish and Wildlife, Forestry, their interns and committed volunteers, it is possible to keep these green spaces healthy and available for future missions and future generations,” Buckingham said.

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