National Public Lands Day (NPLD) comes but once a year — a holiday dedicated to volunteerism and improving the nation’s public parks.

Organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the event mobilizes volunteers on the fourth Saturday of every September to maintain local, state and national parks from sea to shining sea.

No stranger to hard work, Toyota has participated in NPLD for over two decades. Employees roll up their sleeves to help preserve the country’s natural sanctuaries, and the company donates grants for park restoration. In fact, this year Toyota announced a $200,000 grant to help sustain biodiversity in parks around the country.

“This grant will help parks to effectively reduce invasive plants and increase habitats for threatened native wildlife,” said Kevin Butt, environmental sustainability director for Toyota Motors North America. “It ties in with our biodiversity goals and aims to conserve habitats for future generations.”

From clearing waterways to building bird colonies, see how the Toyota family got their hands dirty across the nation for National Public Lands Day.

Banding Together

Red-shirted Toyota team members join with blue-shirted NEEF representatives, along with many other NPLD volunteers, at Rock Creek Park near the nation's capital.

All Hands on Deck

Team members from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, move sod to help build a terraced beach alongside a lake at Tombigbee State Park in Tupelo, Mississippi. A whopping 535 volunteers endured intense heat to tackle multiple projects, the last in the plant's five-year commitment to help restore the park.

Nurturing Nature

Cincinnati Region team members Ron DuSheid (left) and Tom Tapp help remove honeysuckle plants at Lake Isabella in Loveland, Ohio. In all, more than 30 volunteers also painted fences, landscaped and beautified the area in front of a boathouse, as well as removed leaves from wildlife viewing areas.

Weed Whacker

Market Representation Analyst Sarah Braine was among 25 team members from the New York Region and Lexus Eastern Area who gathered at Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey, to pull weeds, trim shrubs and prepare the landscape for winter.

Water Works

Debby Byrne (left) and Abril Galang, engineers at Toyota R&D in Ann Arbor, Michigan, were among 50 volunteers who, in just two hours, removed more than 80 pounds of trash from the Huron River near the Gallup Park Livery.

Cut to the Chase

The Chicago Region's Sam Zangri helps remove an old wire farm fence under the guidance of a Kane County Forest Preserve official. In all, 63 members pitched in at two NPLD locations in Northern Illinois.

Budding Artist

The daughter of Michael Zamora, team member at Toyota Financial Services in St. Louis, gets into the NPLD spirit — not to mention plenty of yellow paint — at Cuivre River State Park in Troy, Missouri. Some 60 volunteers from Bodine organized the event and joined forces with the local Boy Scouts to remove trash and invasive plants, paint campground gates and collect seeds.

Paint the Town Red

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Team member Lisa Rainey (on ladder), along with Ashlee Moyer (left) and Abigail Edwards, who are daughters of her colleagues, spruce up a shelter at Camp Appalachia in the Teays Valley about 15 minutes' drive from the West Virginia plant. More than 30 team members and their family members also helped power wash a basketball court, paint the inside of a pool, remove old beds from cabins and reseed lawns.

Cuckoo’s Nest

Team members Herbie Keene (left) and Leslie Namie from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, assemble a purple martin bird colony, one of several activities taken on by the volunteer force of 60 people at Hays Nature Preserve near Huntsville, Alabama.

Growing Pains

The Portland Region's Adam Fogg (left) and Grant Herbert, son of team member Brian Herbert, position a cage meant to protect young trees as they take root and grow in advance of the harsh winter weather to come. They were joined by more than 30 of their colleagues at Oxbow Regional Park in Gresham, Oregon.

Originally published on November 15, 2019

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