Interior Secretary Ken Salazar surprises volunteer marsh grass planters with visit - Times-Picayune

The 55 volunteers who signed up to plant marsh grass in the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday did so without knowing that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar would stop by the St. Tammany Parish site to plant a few clumps of grass himself.

"I chose to be here in Louisiana and in this place," Salazar said, noting that 2,200 other locations across the country also were part of Saturday's observance of National Public Lands Day.

The annual event is billed as the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort aimed at improving and enhancing public land. While volunteers gathered at six other sites in Louisiana, the Big Branch undertaking was designated as the "signature site" for the day, which involved more than 170,000 volunteers nationwide.

Read the Times-Picayune story here.