National Volunteer Week honors the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities. For 2016, National Volunteer Week was observed from Sunday, April 10 through Saturday, April 16.
National Park Week is an annual week for celebration and recognition of your National Parks. National Park Week usually coincides with Earth Day (April 22). For 2016, National Park Week was observed from Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 24.
Earth Day began when a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, called for an environmental teach-in in 1969, which was inspired by the teach-ins dealing with the Vietnam War. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and drew an estimated 20 million participants. Tens of thousands of people filled New York's Fifth Avenue, Congress adjourned so members could speak across the nation, and at least 2,000 colleges marked the occasion. American Heritage Magazine called the first Earth Day "one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy." Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 174 countries by over a half billion people, making it the most celebrated secular holiday in the world, a day on which people get outdoors, plant trees, clean up trash and lobby for the environment.
Your National Parks are living examples of the best this nation has to offer—our magnificent natural landscapes and our varied yet interrelated heritage. Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge.
This year, take a moment, an hour, a day to visit the national parks near you.
While entrance to Point Reyes National Seashore is always free, during National Park Week, April 16–24, 2016, entrance to all National Park Service sites was free. The National Park Service also offers a number of other fee-free days throughout the year.
As part of our National Volunteer Week, Earth Day, and National Park Week celebration, Point Reyes National Seashore will host or participate in a variety of activities throughout the week prior to and after Earth Day to promote sustainability, to raise environmental awareness, and to discuss actions we can take to help reduce our environmental footprint. The weeks' currently scheduled activities included:
Habitat Restoration Program Workday Date: Sunday, April 10 Time: 9 am–1 pm Location: Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center Description:HRP volunteers help protect and restore endangered plant and wildlife habitat at Abbotts Lagoon, the Lighthouse Bluffs, and other high value habitat areas at Point Reyes National Seashore. Participants were able to visit some of the most beautiful areas in the park and learned about local plant ecology while they worked alongside park staff to carry out ecological restoration projects. Contact: Ellen Hamingson, 415-464-5196, email
Experience Gray Whales Date: Sunday, April 10; Saturday, April 16; Sunday, April 17; Saturday, April 23; and Sunday, April 24 Time: 11 am to 4:30 pm Location: Point Reyes Lighthouse Observation Deck Description: Volunteer docents were stationed at the Lighthouse Observation Deck to answer questions about gray whales. Visitors were able to view gray whales through park-provided binoculars and scopes. Contact: Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center, 415-669-1534, email
Journey of the Whales Date: Sunday, April 10; Saturday, April 16; Sunday, April 17; Saturday, April 23; and Sunday, April 24 Time: 1:30 pm Location: Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center Description: Visitors were invited to join a Ranger to learn about gray whales as they migrate past Point Reyes. Learn about their habits and adaptations, and hope for a whale sighting from the Observation Deck. Program lasts 30 minutes. This program is given out-of-doors. Come prepared for windy, cold and damp weather. Contact: Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center, 415-669-1534, email
Weekend Ranger's Choice Programs Date: Sunday, April 10; Saturday, April 16; Sunday, April 17; Saturday, April 23; and Sunday, April 24 Time: 1:30 pm Location: Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Description: Visitors were invited to join a Park Ranger to learn more about Point Reyes National Seashore's natural and cultural history. Topics may cover earthquakes and plate tectonics, the Coast Miwok, Sir Francis Drake, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, or area flora and fauna. Some presentations may use the park's Science On a Sphere® to help explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Contact: Bear Valley Visitor Center, 415-464-5100 x2 x5, email
Third Thursday Weeders Volunteering Date: Thursday, April 21 Time: 9:30 am–1:30 pm Location: Please email Carolyn Longstreth in advance to get directions to the meeting place. Description: The public was invited to join the Third Thursday Weeders on Thursday, April 21, 2016, to help remove invasive plants. Volunteers worked from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, with a lunch break during this time. Volunteers were encouraged to bring warm and wind-stopping layers, rain gear if the forecast warrants it, water, snacks, clothes that can get dirty, and food for lunch and snacks. Tools and gloves were provided. Contact: Carolyn Longstreth, email
Electronic Waste (e-waste) Recycling Collection Date: Friday, April 22, 2016 Time: 10 am to 2 pm Location: Bear Valley Visitor Center parking lot Description: On April 22, at the Bear Valley Visitor Center, from 10 am to 2 pm, Point Reyes National Seashore hosted an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling collection, joining thousands of local organizers holding recycling and other events across the country to celebrate Earth Day, the only nationally and globally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating planet Earth and the protection of its resources.
Please note the following items were accepted:
All computers and related accessories and peripherals
Small printers, scanners, and faxes
Wires, cables, and power cords
Printer toner and inkjet cartridges
Cell phones, PDAs, and telephones
Small kitchen appliances
VHS, cassette, 8-Track tapes
The following items were NOT accepted:
Dry cell batteries (AA, AAA, D, etc.)
Light bulbs of any kind
Large household appliances such as refrigerators and stoves
Commercial copy machines
All e-waste was taken to ECS Refining, an e-Steward certified recycler. For more information about e-waste recycling at Point Reyes National Seashore contact Dale Dualan at 415-464-5286.
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; fire danger information; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.