National Public Lands Day was, to say the least, exhausting. It was also fun, collaborative, and satisfying to see the incredible amount of work we accomplished. In total, we had around 130 volunteers, plus crew leaders and staff, working that day. Our park hosted the event at Coldwater Spring, one of the few pieces of land actually owned by our park. The site has been through a lot, most recently acting as an office site for the Bureau of Mines until it was decommissioned and purchased by the park. Over the last few years, park efforts have focused on restoring the land to natural prairie. Next spring will be the prairie’s first burn! It’s growing up so fast 🙂

Our volunteers continued these efforts to enrich the prairie, planting pollinators and shrubs at four sites in the park. We also offered an interpretive educational option for when people wanted a break, and wrapped up with some prairie seed collection for the native plant nursery project CVA Kelly is heading up. Thousands of plugs were planted throughout the day, and countless seeds collected.  It was inspiring to see how much the group of volunteers was able to accomplish!

My role for the day was to photograph and create social media posts. I had so much fun running around, seeing what all of the groups were doing and getting to know the quirks of each site. By the end of the day, I was definitely ready to be done, but overall we had a great day and got a ton of work done!  

Volunteers help plant memorial oak trees at Coldwater Spring.
Volunteers help plant memorial oak trees at Coldwater Spring.
Anna from Mississippi Park Connection, our charitable partner, explaining how to properly plant trees.
Anna from Mississippi Park Connection, our charitable partner, explaining how to properly plant trees.
Volunteers plant shrubs on the hillside.
Volunteers plant shrubs on the hillside.
A family of volunteers collects native prairie seeds to be used in prairie nurseries.
A family of volunteers collects native prairie seeds to be used in prairie nurseries.
Ranger David sharing some of the history of our work area, circa 1837.
Ranger David sharing some of the history of our work area, circa 1837.