CSU, Chico News

More Than 80 CSU, Chico Students to Volunteer for National Public Lands Day

Date: 09-22-2016

CONTACT: Ashley Gebb
Public Affairs
CONTACT: Emilyn Sheffield
Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management

More than 80 students from California State University, Chico will volunteer this weekend at restoration projects across the North State for National Public Lands Day (NPLD) as a recognized partner with federal agencies. From Sept. 23–25, students from the University’s Field School, the Latinas in Action student club and Alpha Phi Omega coed service fraternity will tackle 10 projects at the Red Bluff Recreation Area and other locations through the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The focus of NPLD is to instill a sense of shared stewardship and educate the public about the importance of natural resources. Thousands of volunteers across the country are expected to provide assistance in the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort to improve America’s public lands.

Now in its third year, the partnership between CSU, Chico and the U.S. Forest Service has earned the project at Red Bluff Recreation Area recognition as a signature NPLD event, which is open only to University students.

“We are very excited that it is one of the signature events. It's great to see Chico State students leading the way in our efforts to connect kids, nature, outdoor recreation and volunteerism,” said Emilyn Sheffield, an instructor with the University’s Field School program, where students dedicate their time and talent to public lands as part of their course work.

The teams’ NPLD efforts will include river restoration work at the Clear Creek Greenway in Redding, habitat and historic structure improvements at sites on the Mendocino National Forest and meadow boardwalk restoration at the Red Bluff Recreation Area. Additionally, students at the Red Bluff site will do maintenance at the group and public campgrounds to improve the visitor experience. Students will stay on site in the cabins and campgrounds throughout the weekend and participate in agency career presentations and small group sessions led by alumni who are involved with seasonal employment and career opportunities with the federal agencies.

NPLD participation from Chico State continues to grow, with this year’s attendance surpassing the 65 students who volunteered in 2015, said Sheffield, who is also a faculty member in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management.

Latinas in Action, a Chico State student organization in its second year, will join The 5 Gyres Institute and the U.S. Forest Service to host an environmental education program Saturday at Red Bluff Recreation Area in support of Every Kid in a Park. Fourth-graders and their families are invited to participate in the program, which targets reducing plastic pollution in waterways.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to support our public lands. Environmental advocacy is typically not used to seeing people of color,” said Jamile Balli, staff advisor to Latinas in Action. “These women want to enact tangible change in our community and starting with young students is a great way to do that. We see this as just the beginning.”