Friends Receives $25,000 in Grant Funding from REI

Friends received $25,000 in grant funding through REI in support of Friends' newest statewide volunteer program, YOUR State Parks. Funding received will be used to inspire the stewardship of Georgia's array of state parks and historic sites.

Friends and REI have been longstanding partners, joined in a strong, mutual commitment to support our public lands and natural resources. The grant further enhances this partnership, allowing for a greater impact within our communities.

"REI is proud to support a program that not only engages the local community to take care of their public lands, but makes the volunteer experience fun and memorable," said Mark Gialanella, Atlanta Market Outreach Specialist with REI. "Friends of Georgia State Parks has done an incredible job in this area."

YOUR State Parks program is designed to raise awareness throughout Georgia of the needs of our state parks system and encourage citizens to become involved with volunteer efforts at a state park or historic site. Not only do these volunteer opportunities make a great difference for parks and communities, but also they engage volunteers in a fun, worthwhile experience.

The yearlong program kicks off September 29, 2012 on YOUR State Parks Day. Friends is sponsoring September 29 as a "free admission day" to Georgia state parks, giving everyone the opportunity to join a volunteer opportunity. This day also coincides with National Public Lands Day, reminding visitors of the great value of our public lands.

Participating locations will include service projects of all skill levels at most parks giving guests a great taste for volunteering. Volunteers will receive free tee shirts and be eligible for fantastic door prizes. REI Atlanta area stores will be joining the effort at Fort Yargo State Park with a massive volunteer effort to clean and maintain the park's trails.

To learn about REI's commitment to stewardship and volunteerism, visit