Maryland native Robb Hampton didn’t realize his true calling until he attended Arizona State University, where he was exposed to the beauty of the outdoors and the public park lands of the western U.S. After a stint with the National Parks Service, Hampton landed at the National Environmental Education Foundation as a program coordinator, eventually heading the National Public Lands Day initiative. National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands in the U.S., began in 1994 and is held on the last September of each year (this year’s event falls on September 24). Approximately 180,000 volunteers are expected to participate at more than 2,000 public land locations around the nation. Events range from small-scale community meet-ups with 10 or so participants to massive clean-ups involving thousands of volunteers. “There are a lot of unique projects that, at the end of the day, we’re really trying to bring the community into their local public lands to learn why what they’re doing is important,” Hampton says.

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