Learn about Park Day, the American Battlefield Trust's annual event encouraging volunteers to help maintain their local historic sites.
FAQs for Volunteers
1. When is Park Day?
The official date for Park Day 2020 is Saturday, April 4, 2020. However, check the our list of participating sites at Battlefields.org/parkday when it becomes available next spring, as many sites have alternate dates. Park Day 2019 occurred on April 6, 2019.
2. Where do I register?
You must directly contact the site at which you wish to volunteer for this information. American Battlefield Trust does not register volunteers. The list of participating sites will be online in the Spring of 2020, and will be continually updated up until Park Day.
3. I don’t see the site I’d like to volunteer with listed, what do I do?
We would love to have them register and participate in Park Day 2020! Please encourage the site to register online at Battlefields.org/parkday, or contact Connor Townsend (202-367-1861 x 7216 / firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Please also feel free to share the following information with the site:
Park Day is an annual hands-on volunteer event to help Civil War, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812 battlefields and historic sites shine their brightest. Individual sites receive support from the Trust— including guidance on promotional tactics, advice on how to secure material donations from local businesses, and thank you gifts for volunteers — but have total control of project details. Popular types of activities include routine grounds keeping, fence and trail maintenance, painting, and more. Learn more about Park Day and how to register online at www.battlefields.org/parkday!
4. Can I bring my family and friends?
Yes, please! Park Day is open to all history enthusiasts, young and old. Check with your particular site to make sure the planned activities are ability appropriate.
5. How do I share about Park Day?
We’d love to see your photos and videos throughout the day and afterward! Please comment, like, and share your experience on your social media channels using #ParkDay2020 and check out some of our best photos from last year online!
T-shirts in assorted sizes are given out on a first come, first served basis to Park Day volunteers. Quantities may be limited; distributed as supplies last & may not be available at all sites.
American Battlefield Trust
6. Is there a rain date for Park Day?
Park Day is a nationwide event, and as such, the weather may vary. Individual sites may have their own rain date and weather policy. Please contact the site at which you would like to volunteer for more information.
7. How do I get a t-shirt?
The American Battlefield Trust coordinates with each registered sites for an estimate of the number of volunteers, and passes these along to be handed out at the site on Park Day. T-shirts in assorted sizes are given out on a first come, first served basis. Quantities may be limited.
FAQs for Historic Sites and Site Managers
1. Is Park Day only for battlefield parks?
Not at all. The goal of Park Day is to provide Americans with an opportunity to lend a helping hand at their community’s historic sites and museums — and hopefully, learn about our country’s history in the process. Though the American Battlefield Trust is focused on preserving America’s Civil War, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812 battlefields, we welcome all historical parks, homes, museums, forts, cemeteries, and more to join us and host a volunteer event.
2. Do I have to hold my Park Day event on the official date?
No! While the official date is April 4, 2020, you are free to hold your Park Day on any day that works best for you.
Each year, due to a variety of reasons (weather, conflict with other events, etc.), several sites hold their event on an alternate date.
3. How does Park Day benefit my site? Why should I participate?
Park Day has the potential to be an extremely rewarding and productive source of volunteer labor for the maintenance and upkeep of your site, as well as an opportunity to promote your site and its unique history. Take advantage of volunteers’ efforts where your site needs it the most, whether it’s painting, planting trees, trail building, trash pickup, or something else.
In 2019, one hundred and sixty sites throughout the country participated in Park Day, bringing nearly 7,000 volunteers and donating over 24,000 hours. We hope to further increase participation at Park Day sites again this year!
4. How do I register?
Park Day 2020 registration will open up this November. You will need to provide details about your site, instructions for volunteers, and provide a physical mailing address to receive your free Park Day t-shirts (Note: We CANNOT ship to PO boxes).
Important registration dates:
Fall 2019 - January 2020: Registration open for Park Day 2019!
February 7, 2020: Registration deadline to be listed in the American Battlefield Trust's membership magazine (sites registered after this can still participate)
February 17, 2020: Deadline for ordering T-shirts
March 30, 2020: Registration deadline, if sites wish to be listed on the American Battlefield Trust's website and officially participate in Park Day
April 4, 2020: Park Day!
May 4, 2020: Post-Event Survey Due
5. What do I get from the American Battlefield Trust when I register?
The American Battlefield Trust will provide the information you will need for organizing and hosting your Park Day event, soliciting volunteers, getting media coverage, and working with the Trust to promote the event. You will also receive templates for Volunteer Sign-in, a Site-specific Press Release and a Letter to Businesses. See also: Information to Get Ready for Park Day (PDF) »
The Trust will post your site information for volunteers on our site at Battlefields.org/parkday, where it will be available to our 55,000 members, 200,000 Facebook fans, and others.
The Trust will also provide free Park Day t-shirts in assorted sizes for your volunteers. Certain sites will also receive American Battlefield Trust maps to pass out, if applicable. The number provided will be based on the volunteer estimate you provide us by February 17, 2020.
6. How do I get Volunteers?
Park Day is all about getting volunteers from the surrounding community to come out and pitch in. You will find there are lots of volunteers in your area, willing to help. Look for them in Civil War Roundtables, local conservation groups, local history groups, reenactment groups, churches, Scout troops, and local elementary schools, high schools, and colleges. For many school-aged volunteers, it’s a great way to earn volunteer hours! Post on your social media sites. Obtaining media coverage in local newspapers and TV news is a great way to garner volunteers — and gain attention about your site afterward.
7. How do I take advantage of the volunteer labor?
Where do you need help the most? In the past, other sites have used Park Day for activities such as: landscaping, clearing brush, trash removal, erecting or repairing fences, moving, setting up or taking down artillery, installing markers and interpretative signs, tree planting, building and clearing trails, and painting.
Please be as detailed as possible about what your volunteers will be doing, and also please remember to take into account volunteers that may be children or elderly – there should be something for everyone to do!
8. Will my site get media coverage?
The Trust will release national and state-level press releases regarding Park Day. We will provide you with information and tips about how to gain other media coverage for your site.
9. Is there a rain date for Park Day?
Park Day is a nation-wide event, and as such, the weather may vary. We encourage individual sites to schedule and/or announce a rain date, as they see fit.
10. What if I didn’t have enough t-shirts?
We can’t order more, but many times other sites have extras and we can move them around as needed. Assorted sizes will be provided, per your estimates.
11. What happens afterward?
Hopefully, your site will be in tip-top shape for tourist season! Show it off by sending us your photos, videos, sign-in sheets, and any memorable stories from the day! We feature many of your photos and stories online and in our award-winning magazine, Hallowed Ground. A survey of your event will be requested as well, so we can try to continue improving for next year.
12. I took some great photos and was featured in media coverage, how do I share this with the American Battlefield Trust?
Please share your successes on our social media channels with #ParkDay2020: