|Valley Forge National Park was the site of this year's Tourism Cares Volunteer Day. // (c) 2011 Valley Forge National Park|
Travel Insured International reports its participation in the second Tourism Cares event of 2011, when it helped sponsor the Volunteer Day that drew 150 travel industry participants to Valley Forge National Park, on Friday, Sept. 9. The day marked the industry's observation of the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance for the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Travel industry volunteers came ready to work under the guidance of National Park Service employees who directed the day's park maintenance and improvement projects. Tourism Day volunteers came from 13 states and approximately 100 travel industry companies, according to Tourism Cares executive director Bruce Beckham. Along with Travel Insured, over 40 industry companies helped co-sponsor the day.
Valley Forge National Park deputy supervisor Barbara Pollarine praised the industry volunteers.
Jessica Hern, the Tourism Cares events manager, said the day's volunteer work was primarily targeted at removing invasive plant species killing some of the native plants of the park, erecting fences to restrict access of a rapidly expanding deer population to vulnerable park foliage, and planting a small forest of 300 trees on the edge of the park as a flood barrier against water runoff from the park's transecting Schuykill River.
One team of 32 volunteers worked on reforestation work urgently needed, according to Pollarine. "Ten years ago this park had 80 staff members and now it has 57," said Pollarine. "Part of that is due to funding cuts, and part is due to a newer sustainability approach that calls for a more natural habitat with less mowing and cutting. But volunteer programs like Tourism Cares allow us to implement projects that would otherwise take years to manage."
Approximately $22,000 worth of maintenance work had been accomplished during the volunteer day.
Tourism Cares volunteer day in Valley Forge was the organization's second event of 2011, following the "Tourism Cares for America" day on May 6th that helped restore the historic whaling village of Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. Tourism Cares will announce before the end of this year its spring 2012 project continuing the organization's mission "to preserve the travel experience for future generations."