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Preserving Capitol Hill's Green Spaces
Golf Day of Service Provides Much Needed Maintenance


John Deere provided equipment to help volunteers complete turf management and beautification during the "Day of Service."" The National Parks Service has invested millions of dollars into turf preservation, but the organization has struggled with keeping up with it. Other donated materials included hand tools, rakes and vests for volunteers.


In addition to installing new turf on bare spots, volunteers performed other tasks such as aerating to keep soil and turf healthy. Each year there are millions of visitors to the green spaces in Washington D.C. that the NPS maintains.

On April 23, volunteers from the Golf Course Superintendents of America along with a few from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, among others, gathered in Washington D.C. to provide landscape services to the green spaces managed by the National Parks Service in Capitol Hill.

Chava McKeel, the director of government affairs for the GCSAA, organized the day of service. She was inspired by the NALP's annual day of service at Arlington National Cemetery, which has been held for the last 20 years. She has participated in the landscape maintenance for the cemetery for the last five years and she wanted to organize a similar project in conjunction with the National Parks Service.

More than 180 volunteers from GCSAA and partners of the organization were divided into 18 teams to perform landscape maintenance throughout the Capitol Hill. They performed tasks such as over seeding, aerating and cleaning out stormwater drains, among other tasks.

Sponsors of the event included: Rain Bird, Site One and Bear Company. They donated tools, equipment, turf and supplies for the volunteers. John Deere donated lawn mowers and heavy machinery to help accomplish the project.

Volunteers working on turf maintenance were tasked with identifying bare areas and installing new turf to help protect the multi-million dollar investment of the NPS.

"There's such a huge footprint of traffic, millions of people walk on the mall, the most widely used lawn in the country and it has to be maintained so you don't lose all that turf," McKeel said.

The NPS and all visitors to the National Mall will benefit from the day of service. It provides some much needed relief to the NPS, a department that is stretched thin, McKeel said. The amount of service provided in one day was equivalent to four months of their budget.

The GCSAA will continue to host the day of service and hopes to expand the project to include areas surrounding the Washington Monument.

"Very humbling to be doing the work they do day-to-day right on the National Mall. We love it and we are going to keep going back," McKeel said. "I would encourage more people to come and be part of this next year."

Link to volunteer

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April 22, 2019, 3:58 am PDT

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