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National Public Lands Day at Patrick Air Force Base

(left to right) Satellite High School JROTC members A.J. Stagner, Sydney Welzel and Jennifer Augustyniak dig a hole for a new tree at the Patrick campground September 27. The gentleman in the cap is Camp Host Jimmy Sullivan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dale Hawkins)

(left to right) Satellite High School JROTC members A.J. Stagner, Sydney Welzel and Jennifer Augustyniak dig a hole for a new tree at the Patrick campground September 27. The gentleman in the cap is Camp Host Jimmy Sullivan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dale Hawkins)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In an amazing show of youthful exuberance and close teamwork, 16 members of the Junior ROTC and the Civil Air Patrol helped the 45th Space Wing celebrate National Public Lands Day by planting trees and bushes at the Family Campground.

National Public Lands Day was held September 27 in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). The National Environmental Education Foundation donated $1,500 for the purchase of a variety of trees.

"The Patrick AFB camping area is a popular destination for active duty and retired military personnel due to its location adjoining the Banana River with ready access to pristine ocean beaches." said FamCamp Manager Ron Cherven.

"Our goal is to bring these kids up right", said JROTC instructor Chief Master Sgt. Bob Murphy. "If our young people are any indication" said Civil Air Patrol leader Ken Meyers, "the future of the nation is in good shape."

More than 120,000 volunteers across the nation, including those from nine federal agencies, were expected to be involved at 1,500 sites. Clean ups, fix ups and other volunteer events took place in parks, forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, cultural and historic sites and public lands. One of the goals, according to Robb Hampton, Program Director for National Public Lands Day, was to plant one million trees on public lands.

"Our nation has benefited immensely from the impressive work performed by the Civilian Conservation Corps 75 years ago," said Hampton. "The Civilian Conservation Corps is one of the driving forces that has inspired National Public Lands Day for the past 15 years, and National Public Lands Day volunteers work together to achieve the same common goals and mission. This includes planting more trees, removing invasive plants, building trails and many of the other activities that your National Public Lands Day site is working on."

National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with three federal agencies and 700 volunteers. In 2001, alumni of the Civilian Conservation Corps passed on their legacy to National Public Lands Day at a ceremony in Shenandoah National Park.