Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Looking back, moving forward


Volunteers at MLK Day of Service in 2018.

By Laurasia Holzman Smith
San Mateo Park Stewardship Intern

Every year, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, service is performed by people all throughout the country to honor and celebrate the fight for equality, justice, and civil rights led by King. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy staff, interns, and volunteers look forward to participating in this day of service every year, as thousands of volunteers come out to all parts of the Golden Gate National Parks. It’s truly inspiring to see all that can be accomplished when we join together as one community working for the same cause.

Looking back at past MLK Jr. service days within our San Mateo parks, we can look forward to this year and years to come. As we welcome winter, we welcome the rain, and the nourishment it provides our plants being put in the ground at this time of year. We could not do it without our amazing volunteers: families, friends, students, youth and countless individuals join us in getting our hands dirty, knees muddy, and smiles wide. With all this wonderful support, look at what we’ve been able to accomplish on MLK Day of Service:

  • 2012: 70 volunteers - 683 planted
  • 2013: 57 volunteers - 405 planted
  • 2016: 45 volunteers - 900 planted
  • 2017: 50 volunteers - 490 planted
  • Most recently, 2018: 100 volunteers - an impressive 1,167 planted

This coming day of service, on January 21, we’ll be hosting volunteers at Rancho Corral de Tierra. The program will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the plan is to put at least 1,000 plants in the ground. Maybe we can beat last year’s number!

It would be amazing to see you, your friends, and your family out in the parks, whether it be at Rancho or another site! Service has a way of bringing people together, as a means for all of us to work towards a common goal. We welcome everyone to come engage with the community of people, plants, and wildlife that surrounds us.

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