Volunteer at Parks!
Trail building. Tree planting. Park beautifying. Bumble bee photographing. Weed pulling. Wetland monitoring. Brand repping. We’ve got quite the range of opportunities for you to make a difference at Milwaukee County Parks!
Something for Everyone
Our volunteer experiences are as varied as our parks! Many of our opportunities change with the seasons, some are big projects, some are small. We’ve got volunteer opportunities that are one-day events, and others require orientation and special training. Take a look at our program areas below and see which ones are a good fit for your interests and schedule.
- Group Service Day
- Community Science
- Micro - Volunteering
- Eagle Scouts
Group Service Day
Group service days are a great way for your corporate team, church group, school or organization to give back to the Parks while enjoying a fun team building day. Group service days typically include a park or beach cleanup, a trails project or a park beautification project.
Primarily offered April – October. Minimum group size of 10. For most groups, 3 hours is the perfect amount of time. Please give at least 3 – 4 weeks notice to coordinate group service projects.
Oak Leaf Trail Inspectors
Pledge to bike or walk a line of the Oak Leaf Trail 6 times or more a year and fill out a checklist to help coordinate maintenance work by county staff. BONUS: Picking up garbage and sweeping up glass while inspecting the trail is much appreciated! This opportunity is on your own schedule.
Forked Aster Trail Inspectors
Pledge to walk a Forked Aster Trail at least 4 times a year and fill out a checklist to help coordinate maintenance work by county staff. BONUS: Picking up garbage while inspecting the trail is much appreciated! This opportunity is on your own schedule.
Help trim back plants that grow into the Forked Aster Trail in any of the 30+ trail locations. Receive a 1-hour training and bring your own tools (loppers or hand saw).
Join scheduled work days around the county to improve the sustainability of the hiking trails. Training and tools provided on-site. Task may include: trailhead improvements, new trail construction, trail closings, erosion control, and invasive species removal.
Volunteer at Wehr Nature Center
Wehr has volunteer opportunities for all and is always taking new applications. As a volunteer, you might spend a few hours a year assisting with a special event, a few hours a week volunteering as part of a group or a few hours every day feeding the animals.
How Do I Become a Volunteer?
Volunteer at Boerner Botanical Gardens
Volunteers at Boerner Botanical Gardens are needed for a variety of activities including organizing family events, running classes, staffing the gift shop, leading garden tours and providing weeding and garden support for horticultural staff.
How Do I Become a Volunteer?
Volunteer at The Domes
Volunteer opportunities at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory include staffing the gift shop, organizing fundraising events and assisting and running educational programs.
How Do I Become a Volunteer?
Bumble Bee Monitoring
Volunteers visit an assigned natural area with suitable pollinator habitat a minimum of six times from May to October and, using protocol from the WDNR’s Bumble Bee Brigade, identify and photograph bumble bee populations. Data gathered provides valuable insight to overall habitat health and suggests management strategies that will protect and attract Bumble Bee populations.
Volunteers visit assigned wetlands multiple times from March through June to gather data on sensitive wildlife populations. Volunteers attend a mandatory field training and are provided with a wetland monitoring kit to conduct aquatic funnel trapping, visual encounter surveys, frog call surveys and secretive marsh bird surveys (volunteers may participate in a combination of surveys). Data is used to guide management of these wetlands and protect the wildlife that use them.
Orientation: February with MANDATORY field training in March. Spaces limited; priority given to volunteers with prior experience.
Bird Window-Strike Monitoring
Volunteers monitor “high risk” Parks facilities and document evidence of bird window-strikes during spring and fall migration. Surveys occur daily with a 10-day cycle in spring and a 20-day cycle in fall. Data gathered will be used to retro-fit facilities and manage adjacent habitat making it safer for birds.
Orientation: April and September
Nest Box Adopters
Volunteers help to maintain nest boxes by cleaning out and opening boxes in late fall, closing them in early spring and reporting any issues to staff (i.e. broken/missing parts).
To sign up for Community Science Opportunities contact ParksComSci@milwaukeecountywi.gov
The Weed-Out program is coordinated by The Park People in cooperation with Parks' Natural Areas Program. Volunteers help control invasive species at different natural areas throughout Milwaukee County Parks. You can find active Weed-Out events for the current season at: https://parkpeoplemke.org/get-involved/programs/weed-out/. If there isn't a group at your desired park, you can certainly start one! Please contact the Natural Areas Program's Restoration Ecologist, Halley Minser (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All Weed-Out locations must have a certified coordinator which includes attending Weed-Out Coordinator Training (March) and becoming a certified commercial pesticide applicator through DATCP. The Park People provide tools, personal protective equipment, and necessary herbicide. Sorry, but no power tools allowed.
Tree planting isn't only for Earth Day! Join us in mid- to late-October for our annual reforestation event. No previous experience is required, and you can drop in for a couple of hours or stay for the whole day. On average, we plant 1,500 to 2,000 trees with multiple planting dates offered across a few weeks. Volunteers work with staff to plant 3- to 5-gallon sized, potted native trees and shrubs in pre-drilled holes. You can expect to be carrying about 15 pounds, kneeling for extended periods of time, and getting your hands dirty! We recommend wearing work clothes that will allow you the full conservation experience — mud and all! Sign up for our volunteer announcements and to be notified of upcoming events here.
Parks Street Team
The Milwaukee County Parks Marketing Team seeks individuals with a profound interest in event planning, promotions and networking. Street Team volunteers have the opportunity to attend various events throughout the year to promote the parks brand by working our booth spaces — you even receive free Parks gear! If interested, please complete the Street Team Interest Form and a member of the Marketing Team will be sure to get back to you.
***Due to COVID-19, we are not able to offer this volunteer program at this time.***
Do you like visiting your local Parks? Do you want to do your part to take care of the local environment and our shared public spaces but can’t always commit to going to volunteer events? Through the Brew Hero program, you can help by doing "mini park cleanups" anytime you want! Upload your mini park cleanup efforts to social media to earn rewards from our Brew Hero partners. Complete the pledge to learn more!
Leopold Benches, Puncheons and Boardwalks
If you are interested in a bench or trails project, contact email@example.com. All project costs must be raised by the Eagle Scout.
Other Eagle Scout Projects
Scouts looking to do a construction-oriented project — such as building a fire pit, enhancing an archery range, etc. — need to submit their projects through a Park Improvement Project Request. Project applications are reviewed by Parks planning staff and ultimately accepted or denied. The process can take 4 to 6 months depending on project scope, so plan ahead. All project costs must be raised by the Scout. The application form can be found here.