Cincinnati Parks


Our Parks depend on support from those who use and love them. Your contribution of time is one way to help Cincinnati Parks maintain our status as one of the top urban park systems in the country. From working out in the parks with dirty hands to engaging the community for special events to administrative tasks – there are opportunities for everyone. We have one-time and ongoing opportunities available to provide you with a rewarding and satisfying volunteer experience.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Conservation & Land Stewardship

Cincinnati Parks depends on the support of volunteers in our endless efforts to combat the impact of invasive plant species and maintain the 65 + miles of trails throughout our parks system. Cincinnati Parks makes up 10% of the city's land mass, including thousands of acres of forest and woodland areas, we are faced with acres of honeysuckle, invasive vines, garlic mustard, lesser celandine and other aggressive and stubborn non-native plant species. Our mighty, but limited staff cannot not consistently attend to the aggressive nature of these plants without community involvement.

Volunteers are organized by staff and community leaders. This structured program offers a wide range of opportunity for volunteers to engage in our efforts of habitat restoration and the preservation of our natural areas. Volunteers work alongside staff and volunteers on service projects from an introductory and novice level to becoming trained and established as a Land Steward, holding a license to apply pesticide, certify volunteers in pesticide application, and managing the long-term land management plan of a Cincinnati Parks designated area. 

Horticulture Helpers

There is a tremendous need for outdoor enthusiasts to help maintain urban parks and greenspaces throughout by:

Horticulture assistance – mulching, weeding, litter removal, varying tasks depending on season
Removing honeysuckle and other invasive plants
Trail maintenance
Removing and/or replacing ground cover
Planting flowers and trees

Krohn Conservatory

Krohn Conservatory hosts a nationally recognized showcase of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Our permanent collection includes desert plants, tropical specimens, Bonsai trees, rare orchids, carnivorous plants and exotic fruit trees.

Krohn Conservatory was built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco era.  Boasting five unique floral shows annually, including the ever-popular “Butterfly Show,” which can be viewed mid-March through mid-June.  During that time, thousands of butterflies are free to fly throughout the show room in a specially-themed garden.

Volunteers support the day to day operations of the facility, help with changing out floral displays, support events and provide educational interpretation as docents, and welcome guests as ambassadors.    

Youth Service Program

Cincinnati Parks enlists the invaluable assistance of teen volunteers to serve in the Counselors-In-Training Program. Designed for teens, it’s an awesome opportunity to learn new skills in a fun, safe environment. Our Counselors-In-Training (CIT) assist group leaders during games, give guidance during crafts time, and provide an additional watchful eye during hikes and other engaging activities. A CIT may also be paired as a “buddy” with a special needs child who requires more personal attention during camp activities. This volunteer opportunity is a great chance for teens to become engaged in their community and build their leadership skills.

REQUIREMENTS:

Must be at least 13 years old
Complete the application process
Send one personal reference email
Show respect for the environment, enjoy being outdoors in all weather conditions and have a desire to interact with children

Community Events and Programming

Many Cincinnati traditions take place within Cincinnati Parks. Special events take place in parks throughout the city such as summer camps and summer concert series simply cannot happen without the support of volunteers.

Whether you prefer welcoming the public, and working a craft tables or sharing educational information about nature, you will certainly find satisfaction and enjoyment as a community outreach volunteer. 

Administrative and Leadership Opportunities

Are you interested in supporting the Cincinnati Parks, band have organizational skills, administrative talents, or would prefer to help "behind the scenes"? CincyParks welcomes the enthusiasm and support of individuals that want to be a part of our leadership teams, help administratively, and advocate for our public lands. Opportunities include:

 

  • Data entry
  • Photography
  • Cincinnati Parks Advisory Council (CPAC) membership
  • Event planning
  • Committee work
  • Multi - media support
  • Newsletter editor 

Group Service Projects

Each year thousands of volunteers participate in group projects that are vital to the preparation and maintenance of our parks. Groups of many sizes and abilities perform important conservation and beautification tasks that impact the work of our staff and help keep our Parks safe and beautiful! Examples of work include:

Invasive species removal
Trail clearance & maintenance
Mulching trees, beds & playgrounds
Planting
Construction of bridges, stairs and signage
Event assistance

Administrative, Creative & Special Interest Projects

Cincinnati Parks welcome the help and talents of a wide variety. The gifts of many talented, pragmatic, devoted volunteers enhance our parks and programming in invaluble ways.

If you have a knack for crafting, building, photography, creative writing, data entry, crunching numbers, organizing, scheduling, sewing, acting, playing, technology, or anything you'd like to share - please check out what these interesting or unusual ways volunteers help us! If you see something missing - contact our Volunteer Coordinator. 

 

Activity Shifts Start End
Cincinnati Parks Archives Library Assistance 0
Multi-Media Support Team 0
Photgraphy, Videography & Editing 1
Tree Catalog Project 0
Virtual Administrative Support 0

CIT - Counselor In Training

 

The Explore Nature! department of Cincinnati Parks enlists the invaluable assistance of teen volunteers to serve in the Counselors-In-Training Program. This is an awesome opportunity for teens to learn new skills in a fun and safe environment. Our Counselors-In-Training (CIT) assist group leaders during games, give guidance during crafts time, and provide an additional watchful eye during hikes and other engaging activities. A CIT may also be paired as a “buddy” with a child who requires more personal attention during camp activities.

Requirements for the CIT Program:

  • Must be at least 13 years old
  • Complete the application process
  • Must be able to commit to 2 - week long camps: volunteers serve every day of the week (exception Juneteenth, June 19th & July 4)
    • Half-day (9:30 – 11:30 or 9:30 – 1:30)
    • Full-day (9:00 – 3:30)

This volunteer opportunity is a great chance for teens to become engaged in their community and build leadership skills

New applicants for the CIT Program are required to follow these steps (previous CITs can skip to sign up for an orientation and select camps):

STEP ONE: Take the CIT Online Training  

  • FOLLOW THIS LINK
  • If you do not have an account on the Better Impact volunteer site, you will be prompted to create an account. Parents/Guardian must work with you to complete the application.
  • If you have a volunteer account on Better Impact with another local organization (volunteer for CMC, Cincinnati Zoo, Great Parks, ect) you will be prompted to apply for CincyParks with your established username & password.  

STEP TWO - Sign up for an interview 

  • Interviews are scheduled on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. These are usually no longer than 30 minutes and held via Teams. 

STEP THREE - Be sure your personal reference has the link to submit a reference for you. 

STEP FOUR - Register for one of the required Orientation dates. 

All CIT's that have completed the process will be given access to register for camps. CIT's must attend an orientation, and serve two week-long sessions. 

Check out the 2023 Summer Camp Schedule to see which camps you might be interested in!

Activity Shifts Start End
CIT Interviews for New Applicants 63 2/7/2023 4/25/2023
CIT Orientations 2 5/6/2023 5/17/2023

Community Event & Educational Programming

Each year, hundreds of fun and exciting events take place in our parks. Entertainment & recreation ranges from, concerts, parades, festivals, marathons, holiday bashes and fun day activities for the family. The majority of these events are produced and executed solely by volunteers! Cincinnati Parks staff works with community groups and to bring fun and safe events into the parks, and does a great job of making great things happen in our parks.
 
To keep it all running smoothly, our dedicated volunteers are asked to join in the fun to help BRING the fun. Many events call for volunteers to assist with parking directions, the "Kids Zone" with games and sometimes in a beer booth!
 
Extra hands keep the parties, hikes, story times, concerts & festivals alive!!
Activity Shifts Start End
Alms Park Allies - Community Events 2 5/19/2023 9/29/2023
Maple Sugarin' @ Caldwell 1 2/25/2023 2/25/2023

Conservation & Land Stewardship

 

Cincinnati Parks depends on the support of volunteers in our endless efforts to combat the impact of invasive plant species throughout our parks system. Cincinnati Parks makes up 10% of the city's land mass, including thousands of acres of forest and woodland areas. We are faced with acres of honeysuckle, invasive vines, garlic mustard, lesser celandine and other aggressive and stubborn non-native plant species. Our mighty, but limited staff cannot not consistently manage the aggressive nature of these plants without community involvement.

Volunteers are organized by staff and community leaders. This structured program offers a wide range of opportunity for volunteers to engage in our efforts of habitat restoration and the preservation of our natural areas. Volunteers work alongside staff and other volunteers on service projects from an introductory or novice level up to eventually becoming trained and established as a Land Steward, which can include holding a license to apply pesticide, certify volunteers in pesticide application, and becoming an integral part of implementing the long-term land management plan of a Cincinnati Parks designated area. 

The roles and requirements of this program are outlined below:

Introductory volunteer:

  • One - time or occasional service event volunteer

CPB Trained Service Person:

  • Serve on an invasive removal project a minimum of 10 hours
  • Complete a training series on invasive plants
  • Sign & submit the Cincinnati Parks Indemnification Policy
  • Volunteers must be 18 or older

Site Manager:

  • Must be a CPB Trained Service Person
  • Must hold a CPB Volunteer Management Badge
  • Appointed by the Land Steward
  • Responsible for keeping records of volunteers and pesticide application the day of their charge

Land Steward:

  • Must be a CPB Trained Service Person
  • Must hold a ODA license 
  • Appointed by the Cincinnati Parks Land Manager
  • Responsible for keeping all pesticide application records for the designated Cincinnati Parks location

To get started on the pesticide application program - follow this link to the virtual training:

http://bttr.im/j7wmh

The Pesticide Application Program is made possible by the generous contribution of our friends at the Cincinnati Parks Foundation.  

Activity Shifts Start End
Invasive Removal - Independent Service 1
Alms Park Allies - Community Work Days 7 3/18/2023 11/11/2023
Avon Woods - Invasive Species Control 2 11/18/2023 12/9/2023
Bow Hunting Program 1 7/23/2022 3/31/2023
California Woods Forest Restoration Series 12 2/4/2023 12/16/2023
Friends of French Park 8 2/4/2023 5/21/2023
LaBoiteaux Woods Community Work Days 7 4/15/2023 12/9/2023
Mt. Airy Trail Runners - Trail Work Days 4 2/4/2023 4/15/2023
Northside Greenspace - Invasive Removal Projects 8 4/1/2023 11/25/2023
Walnut Woods "Treeforestation" Project 4 2/25/2023 5/20/2023

CPAC's - Cincinnati Parks Advisory Councils

CPAC Mission:

To build and maintain public support for Cincinnati Parks by providing feedback to the Cincinnati Park Board and exchanging and sharing information and providing mutual support between park advisory councils.

 

 

 

Activity Shifts Start End
CPAC Service 1

Horticulture Helpers

 

Cincinnati Parks have a long and distinguished tradition in Cincinnati. The city is fortunate to have a thriving system consisting of 5,000-plus acres of city parklands including five regional parks, 70 neighborhood parks, 34 natural areas, five neighborhood nature centers, 30 sites managed by the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, five parkways, 16 scenic overlooks, 2 arboretums, and 65 miles of hiking and bridle trails. Within this robust "city within a park", thousands of square footage of floral displays are created and maintained by a team of horticulturists that in no small way place the finishing beauty on the special destinations of Cincinnati Parks. 

We are organizing opportunities for volunteers to support the important work of Parks horticulture staff in select parks locations. Volunteers will assist Parks horticulturists with general horticultural needs (clearing, weeding, deadheading, light pruning, watering, and planting). This a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in public horticulture and enjoys working outdoors, and is comfortable engaging with the public to answer questions about our gardens. 

Some opportunities are team based and others have more autonomy, but in all cases the work is guided by our staff. The goal is to build an experienced group of volunteers to support efforts that keep our parks beautiful and healthy. All of these opportunities require an on-going commitment, minimum of one season, but hopefully more! 

When you register, you will have a brief interview with a volunteer coordinator or someone from the horticulture team. We want to ensure a good fit for all volunteers and the team. 

Activity Shifts Start End
Ault Park Horticultural Assistance 1
French Park Horticulture Assistance 1
Geier Esplanade (Oakley Square) Horticulture Assistance 1
Hyde Park Square Horticulture Assistance 1
Krohn Conservatory Grounds Assistance 0
Mt. Airy Arboretum Perennial Gardeners 1
Olden View Garden Helpers 1
Smale Gardening Group 33 3/21/2023 10/31/2023
Washington & Ziegler Park Gardening Group 1 3/23/2023 3/23/2023

Krohn Conservatory

Krohn Conservatory Front Door

Located in the heart of Eden Park, Krohn Conservatory is Cincinnati’s nationally-recognized indoor botanical garden that attracts over 200,000 visitors annually and is home to more than 3,500 plant species from around the world, including desert plants, Bonsai trees, tropical specimens, carnivorous plants, exotic fruit trees, and rare orchids.

Open year-round with ever-changing special exhibits and programs, the conservatory is the perfect place to volunteer during any season. Krohn Conservatory offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities year-round!

General Opportunities at Krohn:

  • Horticulture Helper
  • Holiday Greeters
  • Model Railroad 
  • Butterfly Show
  • Special Events 

Learn more about volunteer programs available at Krohn Conservatory. Have a unique skill set to offer?  Get in touch. 

Want to learn more about these opportunities? Come to one of our new volunteer open house events. All are welcome! 

December 3rd, 1:00pm- 3:00pm 

January 10th, 2023 5:30pm-6:30pm

Joseph Brenzel, Volunteer Coordinator, Krohn Conservatory,  Joseph.Brenzel@Cincinnati-Oh.Gov or Call: 513.421.4086 (ex. 1017) 

 

Activity Shifts Start End
Bunny Buddies 0 2/7/2023 3/12/2023
Crafts and Education 6 2/8/2023 3/5/2023
Horticulture Helper 45 2/2/2023 6/1/2023
Showroom Monitor (Bunny Buddy) 24 2/2/2023 3/12/2023

Litter Routes & Clean Up Events

One of the biggest issues our staff faces is dealing with litter and dumping in all of our parks. Fortunately, we have dozens of volunteers that work on litter pick up in their neighborhood parks all year long. Cincinnati Parks also schedules clean up events and partners with community organizations that take initiative to host litter blitzes in our parks.

We welcome the support of individuals and groups of all sizes to address the issues of litter. 

Sign up for an scheduled event or to strike out on your own - we'll get your completely geared up and connected with district staff! 

 

Activity Shifts Start End
Litter Pick Up In YOUR Park 1

Trails

Activity Shifts Start End
Trail Maintenance 1
Trail Work Days - CORA @ Mt. Airy 3 2/12/2023 4/9/2023

Working In Parks - Independently

Activity Shifts Start End
Horticulture Assistance IN YOUR PARK 1
Riverfront Clean Up and Horticulture Assistance ONGOING 1
Tree Maintenance & Care 0

Mission Statement

"To conserve, manage, sustain and enhance parks' natural and cultural resources and public green spaces for the enjoyment, enlightenment and enrichment of the Cincinnati community."

The mission of the Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners is “to conserve, manage, sustain, and enhance parks’ natural and cultural resources and public greenspace for the enjoyment, enlightenment and enrichment of the Cincinnati community.“ Our vision is to serve as a leader in using Cincinnati parks to build better lives and better communities. The Park Board’s guiding principles are for the parks to be clean, safe, reliable, green, beautiful and enriching.

Cincinnati Parks C.A.R.E.S

Creating Economic Impacts

Advancing Conservation

Rejuvenating Health and Wellness

Enhancing Quality of Life

Sustaining Social Equity