Milwaukee County Parks
 

Volunteer Opportunities

Milwaukee County has confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and more cases have been identified in the U.S. It's important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread. Find out more about COVID-19 and our ongoing response.

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.

Ways to Get Involved

Here's how you can get started as a Milwaukee County Parks volunteer:

  1. Browse the opportunities below. If you see something that interests you, follow the steps outlined on each tab to get started.

  2. Not quite sure which program is right? Sign-up to be on our general volunteer email list! We send periodic notifications of volunteer orientations, service days, or general calls for volunteers.

  3. Park Friends Groups are another great way to volunteer. Find more information here.

  4. If you have questions, reach out to parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov.

  • Group Service Day
  • Trails
  • Gardens
  • Community Science
  • Conservation
  • Events
  • 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.

Trail Maintenance

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).

Trail Building

Join scheduled work days around the county to improve the sustainability of the hiking trails. Training and tools provided on-site. Task may include: trail tread 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 6 times from May to October to identify and photograph bumble bee populations using protocol from the WDNR’s Bumble Bee Brigade. Data gathered provides valuable insight to overall habitat health and suggests management strategies that will protect and attract Bumble Bee populations.

 

Orientation: April.

Wetland Monitoring

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 to sign up.

Weed-Out®

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 the Park System. 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, Katlyn Pluer (katlyn.pluer@milwaukeecountywi.gov).

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

Tree planting isn't only for Earth Day! Join us in mid-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 1,500-2,000 trees per with multiple planting dates offered across a few weeks. Volunteers work with staff to plant 3-5 gallon sized, potted native trees and shrubs in pre-drilled holes. You can expect to be carrying about 15 lbs., kneeling for extended periods of time, and you will probably get 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 to be notified of upcoming event: https://www.cognitoforms.com/MilwaukeeCountyParks1/IndividualVolunteerSignUpForm.

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, plus 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.

 

Brew Hero

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, please contact parkstrails@milwaukeecountywi.gov. All project costs must be raised by the Eagle Scout.

Other Eagle Scout Projects

Scouts looking to do a construction orientated project such as building a fire pit, enhancing an archery range, etc. need to submit their projects to the Park Improvement Project request process. Project applications are reviewed by Parks planning staff and ultimately accepted or denied. The process can take 4-6 months depending on project scope, so plan ahead. The application form can be found here: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Make-a-Difference/CommunityProjects. All project costs must be raised by the Eagle Scout.

Other Eagle Scout Projects

Scouts looking to do a construction orientated project such as building a fire pit, enhancing an archery range, etc. need to submit their projects to the Park Improvement Project request process. Project applications are reviewed by Parks planning staff and ultimately accepted or denied. The process can take 4-6 months depending on project scope, so plan ahead. The application form can be found here: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Make-a-Difference/CommunityProjects. All project costs must be raised by the Eagle Scout.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARKS

9480 Watertown Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 257-PARK (7275)

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