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Natural Tunnel invites volunteers to join National Day of Service projects

Wes Bunch • Sep 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

DUFFIELD — Natural Tunnel State Park is inviting area residents to observe the upcoming National Day of Service and Remembrance by spending a few hours this Saturday working as a volunteer.

Now in its 12th year, the National Service Day was established to commemorate the victims and first responders who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Natural Tunnel is joining Virginia’s 35 other Department of Conservation and Recreation state parks in hosting the volunteer day on Sept. 7.

“In the hours, days and weeks after 9/11, Americans came together to serve others,” DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton said. “Each year we gather to remember that dark chapter of our nation’s history, and to shine a new light of volunteerism and community as we build and rebuild in service to others.

“As Virginians look for ways to help and give back, Virginia State Parks are important parts of their communities. They are the natural venue in which to gather and serve while both helping and enjoying the natural world.”

Megan France, volunteer coordinator for Natural Tunnel, said local Girl Scout troops have already agreed to join the Scott County park’s volunteer effort for Saturday. France said anyone else interested in working for the day still has time this week to sign up.

“We’re providing an opportunity for cleaning up our trails,” France said. “We’re also working that day with the local Girl Scout Council and there will be several Girl Scout troops here participating in the cleanup as well.”

By working at the park, France said the volunteers will be able to give back to their communities by making improvements that all visitors can enjoy.

“When people volunteer they’re not just helping out the park, but the community and region too,” France said. “It’s not just improving the looks of the park, but also working on projects that regular visitors and guests from outside the region can enjoy for years to come.”

The service day also gives first-time volunteers the opportunity to learn about doing other types of work at the park, France said.

Despite being one of the smaller state parks in Virginia, France said Natural Tunnel offers a number of volunteer positions that range from working outdoors to helping provide local or historical information to visitors.

“We’ve had a lot going on in a small area,” France said. “So there is a lot of stuff to do and there are a lot of volunteer opportunities we can provide. People like to come for either historical, or geological reasons, or just to get outside and be with other people. So we always need a wide variety of volunteers to help us out.”

After undergoing orientation, France said volunteers will be able to choose which area of the park they would most like to work in.

“Our volunteering here is really flexible,” France said. “We like to work with the volunteer as much as we can to go ahead and provide an experience for them that is positive. We do not place individuals where they don’t want to be placed at.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities at Natural Tunnel State Park, call the park’s main line at (276) 940-2674 or contact France at (276) 940-1643 or megan.france@dcr.virginia.gov.

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