Park to celebrate National Public Lands Day

Shenandoah National Park is planning special programs for National Public Lands Day on Saturday.

Claire Comer, park interpretive specialist, said the programs are designed to “bring public attention to the importance and specialness of our public lands.”

Among the offerings is a demonstration of monarch butterfly tagging from noon to 3 p.m. at the Byrd Visitor Center.

“A lot of people are kind of noticing the problems with the habitat and the health of the monarch butterfly population,” Comer said “It’s great to kind of bring a little bit more focus to that and provide an opportunity for people to make a hands on difference.”

Park rangers will describe how they conduct the tagging operation, which is the first in the park’s history.

Comer said that not only will the day’s events work to increase awareness and appreciation of our public lands nationwide, but also to those who dedicate time to the protection and maintenance of those lands as well.

“The thing that National Public Lands Day really celebrates is the volunteers that make that happen,” she said. “We all rely very heavily on the support of the public for that. There are thousands and thousands of individuals across the United States that volunteer their time to preserve and protect those lands.”

Also on the day’s schedule is a milkweed seed collection from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The seeds collected will be used in various applications throughout the park, most of which are centered around the restoration of natural habitat.

The day’s events will conclude at 3 p.m. with a release of monarch butterflies that were tagged earlier in the day.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com