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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9/26/02
02/89

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-9289

LENDING A HAND TO AMERICA’S LANDS ON NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

WHARTON STATE FOREST 1 OF 500 NATIONALLY TARGETED FOR SPECIAL EFFORT ON SEPT. 28

(02/89) HAMMONTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will kick-off National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, September 28, at Wharton State Forest, as local residents lend a hand on the largest one-day volunteer event for public lands held each year.

Volunteers will pitch in at Batsto Historic Village, Atsion Recreation Area and surrounding areas in Wharton State Forest, helping to maintain trails, improve streams and waterways, repaint bridges and assist staff with clean-up efforts.

“This day is the perfect opportunity to contribute to the improvement of our public lands and to give something back to our state and our community,” said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. “Governor McGreevey and I are committed to protecting our parks and open spaces and expanding the number of parks New Jersey families can walk to from their homes.”

This 9th annual NPLD brings thousands of volunteers throughout America together to refurbish and restore the country’s public places. These are the lands and facilities they use for recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment. They encompass parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs belonging to, and enjoyed by all Americans. This year’s NPLD theme is “Explore America’s Backyard.”

At least 70,000 volunteers are expected at 500 sites for NPLD 2002. The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, which has managed and coordinated the annual all-day effort from its start in 1994, estimates that the volunteers’ work, along with community contributions of food, tools, and equipment, will result in more than $8 million of improvements.

By educating volunteers at work sites across the country, NPLD maintains the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, an army of 3 million Americans who in the 1930’s countered the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the American chestnut blight by planting more than 3 billion trees, building bridges and 800 state parks, and fighting forest fires.

Since its inception, NPLD has dramatically demonstrated Americans’ concern for their public lands. The first event was sponsored by three federal agencies and attracted 700 volunteers to three sites. Last year, nine federal agencies and 85 state and local partners supported the efforts of 65,000 volunteers at 375 sites.

For more information regarding how your community can take part in activities at Wharton State Forest contact, Jeanne Ford at (609) 561-0024 or visit the National Public Lands Day web site at www.npld.com.

 

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