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Elachee marks Public Lands event with day of activities
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National Public Lands Day

Where: Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive in Gainesville

When: Check-in 8 a.m., work from 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 24

More info: 770-535-1976

Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville is gearing up for the annual National Public Lands Day activities Sept. 24.

According to the National Public Lands Day website,, NPLD is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the country. Volunteers will take part in cleaning up and beautifying projects at various public lands sites all over the U.S.

Cynthia Taylor, natural resource manager for Elachee, has been hard at work for the last several months planning and coordinating the center's involvement in NLPD.

Taylor said  it will be an active day outside, with a variety of volunteer opportunities for just about anyone who is interested.

"It's a great way for people to give something back," Taylor said. "No one should feel intimidated or like there is nothing that they can really do because we have activities and projects that anyone can take part in."

Some of the bigger projects scheduled include building trails, pulling invasive plants, monitoring water quality and installing stone steps at Elachee.

Taylor said that NPLD is a kickoff event for a conservation project that will take place at the center over the next several months.

Elachee Nature Science center has teamed up with outdoor retailer REI to get the project going this year. Taylor said REI will be providing goodies for participants, and that early arrivers will receive T-shirts.

The city of Gainesville has even got behind the event, issuing a proclamation asking citizens to do their part in honoring nature on National Public Lands Day.

Taylor said they expect to see around 100 volunteers Saturday. According to the NPLD website, 170,000 people took part last year in all 50 states and most U.S. territories.

"It's a lot of fun. And you get to see results at the end of the day, which makes it very rewarding," Taylor said.

Taylor said that volunteers are asked to preregister at the REI event page, which is accessible through Elachee's website. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the center afterward, in addition to bringing water in recyclable bottles.