National Public Lands Day


Staff Report, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

United States Army Reserve Command (USARC) and the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve (OCAR) have received Department of Defense Legacy Grants to enhance natural habitat at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Belvoir, Virginia respectively.

Facilitated by the National Environmental Education Foundation, the grants will fund National Public Lands Day projects at both installations.

Observed annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort to conserve, protect and improve America’s public lands. This year’s projects commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

USARC received $9,490 to complete a migratory bird sanctuary at Marshall Hall on Fort Bragg. Volunteers plan to install nearly 350 native trees, shrubs and grasses around the campus to provide habitats and food sources for birds such as the federally endangered red cockaded woodpecker, which nests in old-growth longleaf pine. The plants will control erosion, enhance the natural landscape and mitigate tree losses suffered during Hurricane Florence, which caused widespread damage across North Carolina in September 2018. USARC received grants in 2016 and 2017 to construct pollinator gardens at Marshall Hall.

OCAR received $4,220 to construct a pollinator garden that will create migratory bird habitat at Truman Hall. Volunteers will plant 200 pollinator-attracting shrubs and flowers, and they will create native bee houses. The project will serve as support habitat for Fort Belvoir’s Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge and Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, and it will support Fort Belvoir’s involvement in the Department of Defense’s Partners in Flight bird conservation initiative. OCAR received its first grant in 2017 to build a similar pollinator habitat at Truman Hall.

Both projects will be completed over the fall.

The Army Reserve is one of the nation’s leading stewards of public lands. The Command manages over 320,000 acres across all 50 states, as well as several endangered species and numerous cultural resources. National Public Lands Day events and the Department of Defense Legacy Grants bolster the Army Reserve’s abilities to improve critical natural resources and its sites for Soldiers, Civilians, Families and communities throughout the country.

See the progress of the Army Reserve’s National Public Lands Day projects on social media at and Twitter @SustainableUSAR with #NPLD2018.


by Melissa Russell, Army Reserve Communications

The Office of the Chief of Army Reserve recently put the finishing touches on a bed and breakfast … for the birds – after receiving a $4,000 Department of Defense Legacy Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation.

The project – building a pollinator and bird habitat at OCAR headquarters on Fort Belvoir – encompassed planning and coordination, as well as relocating existing shrubbery and installing approximately 130 plants in order to create a welcoming environment for traveling birds, bees and butterflies. More than a dozen staff members volunteered their time during the National Public Lands Day planting celebration. The focus of the 25th annual National Public Land’s Day was resilience and restoration.

Christine Ploschke, the sustainability programs branch chief at Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, said her team pursued the grant as an opportunity to beautify the building and increase habitat for important species.

“It was a big project for us, but coming together and making the time was worthwhile and so satisfying,” said Ploschke. “Everyone was laughing and enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon, and now every day that we come in, we can be proud of what we did and also feel good about helping our feathered friends.”

“It’s nice to hear everybody commenting on it as they walk past,” added Ploschke, smiling. “To have a tangible product like this brings to life what we typically do each day through much less interesting means.”

The sustainability programs branch provides strategy, policy and resources for the Army Reserve’s energy, environmental, water, and solid waste programs, which are then implemented by the Directorates of Public Works at five Army installations and more than 800 Army Reserve Centers.

“We set the tone for Army Reserve readiness divisions and installations,” said Ploschke, “and if we can show by example that we can find the time, submit the packet and get the work done, maybe they will be inspired to spearhead or volunteer for similar projects at their locations.”