Joining in the clean-up.

Joining in the clean-up.

HARRISBURG PA – State parks in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties, and 44 others throughout the rest of Pennsylvania, will observe Saturday (Sept. 26, 2009) as National Public Lands Day with a variety of volunteer activities aimed at making these natural jewels cleaner, greener and more accesible.

Volunteer work sessions have been scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at

  • Valley Forge National Historical Park, 1400 N. Outer Line Dr., King of Prussia PA;
  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, 2 Mark Bird Ln., Elverson PA; and
  • Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, 2910 New Holland Rd., Reading PA

John Quigley, acting secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, on Wednesday (Sept. 23, 2009) praised volunteers as “the cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forestlands,” and noted that last year during the same event more than 120,000 volunteers worked together across the country “to refurbish and restore public places.”

In Valley Forge, organizer Ernestine M. White said volunteers could participate in several park preservation projects including trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, planting native trees and shrubs, painting, and river clean-up.

At Hopewell Furnace, organizer Frank Hebblethwaite said activities would include trail clean-up and living history demonstrations. As part of the site’s living history program, he said, “we expect to offer demonstrations of molding and casting, blacksmithing, brick oven baking, spinning, knitting, and other fabric arts.”

At Nolde, organizer Dan Hewko said work there would involve trail maintenance, invasive plant management, and boundary line maintenance. He encouraged volunteers to wear sturdy shoes; work gloves and hand tools, he added, would be provided.

Prospective volunteers were advised to call participating state park offices before Saturday, Sept. 26, to pre-register and inquire about inclement weather plans, starting times, meetings places and other details.

National Public Lands Day this year marks its 16th year as the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands. The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, which has managed and coordinated the annual, day-long effort from its start in 1994, estimates that the volunteers’ work, along with community contributions of food, tools, and equipment, represent more than $8 million of improvements.

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