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NEWS | Oct. 12, 2023

Army Reserve Hosts National Public Lands Day Event

By Ashley Bradford, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (OCAR) hosted a National Public Lands Day (NPLD) community event at Fort Belvoir’s Truman Hall on Friday, 29 September. Nearly 25 Army Reserve personnel from various directorates and branches, along with family members, volunteered to weed, plant, and mulch the overgrown pollinator gardens at the building’s entrance. The revitalization of the garden, as well as its initial install in 2017, was funded through a National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) grant.

Army Reserve Soldiers, Civilian employees, and Families joined forces to weed a total of three pollinator gardens (850 square feet), plant three crepe myrtle trees, 20 butterfly milkweed, 20 purple salvia, four coneflowers, and finished the project by distributing fresh mulch. The spruced-up pollinator gardens will provide habitat and a food source for bees, butterflies, and migratory birds and will also support water conservation initiatives because the plants will require minimal irrigation once established.

Army Reserve Environmental Program staff manned an informational table to provide volunteers with natural resources educational materials. Additionally, milkweed seed bombs and plants, reusable insulated grocery bags, and reusable wheat straw lunch boxes were available for volunteers to take home to promote waste reduction and conservation, and to increase pollinators throughout the Fort Belvoir community. Volunteers were also able to sign-up for future weeding and/or watering opportunities to ensure ongoing maintenance. Thanks to the 2023 NEEF grant, additional tools and supplies were procured to maintain the pollinator gardens year-round.

Observed annually on the fourth Saturday in September, NPLD is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort to conserve, protect, and improve America’s public lands. Nationwide NPLD projects focus on initiatives such as pollination protection, climate adaptation and installation resilience, habit restoration, or natural and cultural resources management, restoration, or enhancement.

For more information on the Army Reserve Environmental Program and natural resources conservation, visit or follow us @sustainableusar.