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

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 

Community Events and Educational 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. 

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

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
Multi-Media Support Team 0
Photgraphy, Videography & Editing 1
Technical Writing/Graphic Design 1
Tree Catalog Project 0
Virtual Administrative Support 0
Volunteer Librarian- Cincinnati Parks Archive 0

CIT - Counselor In Training

COUNSELOR IN TRAINING PROGRAM (C.I.T.) 2024

Applications for the 2024 CIT program are closed. Check back in January 2025 for details.

Program Changes for 2024:

New CITs: Sign up for one week initially; additional weeks based on camp director approval.
All CITs: Limited to three weeks initially, with more weeks available from June 21, 2024.

Why Become a C.I.T.?

  • Earn volunteer hours
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Enhance your resume
  • Positively impact campers by assisting with games, crafts, and hikes

Requirements:

  • Age: 13+ before camp starts
  • Commitment: At least one week (M-F)
  • Schedule: Half-day (9:30 AM – 11:30 AM / 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM) or Full-day (9:00 AM – 3:30 PM)

Application Steps:

  1. Create a Better Impact account: [https://bttr.im/0lxi1 ]
    • Please be sure to include correct date of birth, emergency contact information, and t-shirt size.
  2. Complete CIT Application Supplemental Questions: [http://bttr.im/tarjr ]
  3. Submit a Community Reference: [https://explorenature.regfox.com/cit-personal-reference ]
  4. Sign-up for an online interview: [https://bttr.im/k5gj6 ]

More Information:

Watch the testimonial video: [https://youtu.be/lC0tFg_POtk ]

CONTACT: 

Joe Brenzel, joseph.brenzel@cincinnati-oh.gov or call/text 1(513)-787-0398

General Questions: parks.ne@cincinnati-oh.gov or call 513-321-6070

Activity Shifts Start End
CIT Interviews for New Applicants 3 2/25/2025 2/25/2025

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 3 9/27/2024 9/27/2024
Birthday Bash at Sawyer Point - Event Support 2 6/29/2024 6/29/2024
Hollowest Fest at Mt. Airy Forest!! - Event Support 1 10/26/2024 10/26/2024
McEvoy Park CPAC Community Events 8 7/7/2024 12/1/2024
Music at the Esplanade @ Smale Riverfront Park - Event Support 10 6/22/2024 8/24/2024
On Point at Sawyer Point - Event Support 3 8/9/2024 8/10/2024
Pickleball Tournament Support 4 6/27/2024 7/1/2024
Riverfront Rollers! Sawyer Point Roller Skate Rink Community Events 7 7/6/2024 10/26/2024

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 Volunteer Site Leader, 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:

  • Minimum of 10 hours logged at a supervised Cincinnati Parks conservation site (all sites are listed in this section of the portal)
  • Complete the online Pesticide Application Training  
  • Successfully pass a TSP Qualifier event and pass the 
  • Submit the Cincinnati Parks TSP Indemnification Policy
  • Volunteers must be 18 or older

Volunteer Group Leader:

  • Must be a CPB Trained Service Person
  • Is coordinated by the Volunteer Site Leader 
  • Responsible for submitting a Volunteer Group Service Report and pesticide record for the day of their event

Volunteer Site Leader:

  • Must be a CPB Trained Service Person
  • Appointed by the Conservation and Land Managment (CLM) team
  • Continues to attend trainings held by CLM in order to stay abreast of what is happening at our conservation sites 
  • Serves as the primary point of contact between the Parks CLM team and a Cincinnati Parks Advisory Council (CPAC) 

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
Alms Park Allies - Community Work Days 1 10/12/2024 10/12/2024
Ault Park Invasive Removal - Sponsored by APAC 3 7/20/2024 11/16/2024
Better Impact Administrator Training 3 7/16/2024 9/17/2024
Better Impact Info Sessions 3 7/9/2024 9/10/2024
California Woods Forest Restoration Series 6 8/9/2024 12/21/2024
Friends of French Park Habitat Restoration 2 7/13/2024 8/10/2024
Invasive Removal - Independent & Group Service Report 1
LaBoiteaux Woods Community Work Days 7 9/14/2024 12/7/2024
Mt. Airy West Conservation Work Days 8 8/18/2024 12/15/2024
Northside Greenspace - Invasive Removal Projects 5 7/13/2024 11/23/2024
TSP Qualifier Events 3 10/5/2024 12/7/2024
Volunteer Group Leader Training 2 6/22/2024 8/10/2024

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
Better Impact Administrator Training for CPACs 3 7/16/2024 9/17/2024
Better Impact Info Sessions for CPAC's 3 7/9/2024 9/10/2024
CPAC Service & Event Report 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
Fort Washington Way Bridges 5 7/17/2024 11/20/2024
French Park Horticulture Assistance 1
Geier Esplanade (Oakley Square) Horticulture Assistance 1
Hyde Park Square Horticulture Assistance 1
Krohn Conservatory Grounds Assistance 0
Lytle Park Gardening Group 18 6/24/2024 10/28/2024
Mt. Airy Arboretum Perennial Gardeners 1
Mt. Echo Horticulture Help 1
Olden View Garden Helpers 1
Sawyer Point - Yaetman's Cove 22 6/27/2024 11/21/2024
Smale Gardening Group 1 3/1/2024 11/30/2024
Yeatman's Cove & Sawyer Point Grounds Assistance 1

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 
  • Greeter 
  • Floater
  • Special Events
  • Crafts and Education
  • Butterfly Show Door Guards

Want to learn more about these opportunities? All are welcome! 

Questions? Contact:  Deborah Lawhorn, Volunteer Coordinator, Krohn Conservatory

deborah.lawhorn@cincinnati-oh.gov

513.421.4086 

 

Activity Shifts Start End
Butterflies in Space, Door Guard 172 6/21/2024 8/18/2024
Butterflies In Space, Evening Door Guard (Photography Nights) 0 7/8/2024 8/5/2024
Butterfly Show Orientation!! 2 6/25/2024 7/14/2024
Horticulture Helper 121 6/21/2024 12/31/2024
Krohn Crafters 0

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
OBLITTERATORS- Sponsored by the Cincinnati Parks Foundation ! 6 7/21/2024 12/15/2024

Trails

Activity Shifts Start End
Trail Maintenance 1

Working In Parks - Independently

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

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