Planning for this one day and getting all the necessary supplies together was a task that the COE rangers and fulltime volunteers worked on for several months. Local businesses kicked in donations, from food items to coupons and items to be given out or raffled off. Cabela's was especially generous, pitching in over a thousand dollars of merchandise and stacks of coupons to be distributed.
Marti and I originally were going to take a bunch of kids to stain picnic tables. There are hundreds of them around the parks and time and weather takes a toll on them. Staining them with a preservative stain prolongs their useful life.
Unfortunately for us, there were several days of heavy rain preceding the event, so the tables couldn't be stained. Guess what Marti and I will be doing a lot of this winter (hopefully with the help of some other fulltime volunteers)?
That didn't keep us from being busy. We became "Gofers" and took care of all kinds of little tasks to keep things moving along.
One major project was the assembling of bluebird and duck houses.
Guided by a few fulltime volunteers, adults and kids pitched in to screw the houses together.
During the day, trails were cleaned up and marked, beaches had trash removed, new life jacket loaner stations were constructed. Trees and brush were pruned and cut back as well as barbeque grills sanded and repainted. The amount of work put in by the local volunteers was amazing!
Of course, what would all the work be without a good lunch? Marti and I did our Gofer job and cooked up several pans of baked beans and chili.
While we were cooking the beans, other fulltime volunteers were cooking up bunches of hotdogs for the hungry workers.
After lunch and before all the local volunteers departed, a raffle was held. There were all kinds of prizes awarded, from small Tervis drinking cups, to camp chairs to even a camping tent donated by Cabela's.
Everyone went away a winner. They were given a T-shirt, a coupon for a free day at any federal park, a bag of water safety goodies and the knowledge that they helped make the parks a little bit better for every one to enjoy. The rangers and the fulltime volunteers guided the day to a successful conclusion and we're already talking about what we can do next year to make National Public Lands Day even better. :c)
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