April 24 2020

Five Rivers MetroParks Appreciates Its Volunteers!

April is National Volunteer Month, and MetroParks has thousands of people to thank who help the organization protect the region’s natural heritage and provide outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature.

“Our volunteers are a critical part of the MetroParks team,” said Jenny Hymans, MetroParks manager of volunteer services. “Families, retirees, teachers, community groups — so many people from all walks of life volunteer, and we are so honored they spend time with MetroParks as a way to give back.”

Last year, more than 1,500 volunteers contributed their time in the parks, at events and during days of service, such as Adopt-a-Park and Make a Difference Day.

MetroParks volunteers by the numbers (2019):
  • 957 long-term volunteers, who participate on a regular basis, gave more than 26,728 hours.
  • 1,900 volunteers who participated during a single event or on a short-term basis gave more than 20,412 hours.
  • Together, volunteers contributed 47,141 hours — valued at approximately $1.13 million, leveraging Five Rivers MetroParks’ resources and saving taxpayer dollars.

From caring for horses at the Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center to patrolling waterfronts for harmful discarded fishing line, MetroParks volunteers are in every park, at almost every MetroParks program and event, in local classrooms teaching children about the natural world, and much more.

In 2019, MetroParks volunteers accomplished some amazing things:

New Last Year:
  • A new Fiber to Fashion volunteer opportunity was created in 2019. This group produces new clothing and materials to use at Carriage Hill MetroPark’s Historical Farm. These volunteers also demonstrate skills and projects they work on during programs and events.
  • You may have seen some new faces at the 2nd Street Market. New Market Ambassadors answered questions, gave directions, provided information about vendors and more.
  • The Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center welcomed 41 new volunteers last year. Crucial to the operations of the Riding Center, 66 volunteers dedicated more than 3,196 hours in 2019.

In the Parks & More:
  • Volunteers who support staff at MetroParks’ headquarters completed several administrative tasks, including entering survey data, inputting thousands of waivers, completing record transfers, creating new filing systems and more.
  • Naturalists, tour guides and garden educators inspire a love for nature by helping park visitors explore the natural world.
  • Woodland wildflower volunteers propagate a variety of native plants at Cox Arboretum MetroPark for habitat restoration projects in parks and conservation areas. Last year, these volunteers planted more than 800 native flowers and grasses at Hills & Dales MetroPark.
  • Volunteers in the Edible Landscape Garden at Cox Arboretum MetroPark helped park staff plant, grow, harvest and donate 1,872 pounds of produce to The Foodbank.
  • A youth development program for children in west Dayton, Adventure Central — located at Wesleyan MetroPark — relies on volunteer support to help students with everything from homework to serving meals. More than 150 volunteers spent more than 14,648 hours serving 100 youth in 2019.
  • MetroParks Volunteer Patrol (MVPs) are trained to help cyclists and hikers on the trails and ensure maintenance issues are reported to park staff. In 2019, MVPs served more than 2,000 hours on the trails.
  • MetroParks volunteers also played an integral role in two conservation projects that won first place in the 2019 Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Awards of Excellence.
    • MetroParks’ Fishing Line Recycling Program won in the Environmental and Interpretive Category. A crucial part of this program’s success is due to the dedicated volunteers who spent 207 hours collecting 15 miles of fishing line from recycling bins and waterfronts last year.
    • Additionally, MetroParks’ Eastwood MetroPark Tree Sinking project won in the Natural Resources and Conservation category. Last year, 700 holiday trees were sunk into Eastwood Lake to help bolster fish populations and improve the lake’s aquatic habitat. Eight volunteers assisted with bundling and sinking these trees.

Events:
  • From set up to tear down, the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience would not happen without volunteers. MetroParks’ two-day celebration of all Dayton has to offer as the outdoor adventure capital of the Midwest, 206 volunteers gave more than 1,025 hours to make this event a huge success.
  • Adopt-a-Park is MetroParks’ annual Earth Day celebration, when thousands of people from throughout Montgomery County spruce up parks, riverfronts and other greenspaces. Last year, 1,325 volunteers helped with 39 projects, serving 4,063 volunteer hours. They collcted 2,473 pounds of recyclable material and cleaned 30 acres of parks, 27 acres of trails and 29 miles of waterways.
  • Make a Difference Day happens every fall, when people help with projects in the parks before winter. Last year, 207 volunteers served at 17 projects throughout Five Rivers MetroParks, contributing 675 hours of service and cleaning up 420 pounds of litter.
  • Master Recyclers are a group of dedicated volunteers who help keep many MetroParks’ events waste free and talk to the public about the importance of recycling. In 2019, they helped divert approximately 85% of waste from the landfill at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience, most of which was composted at Cox Arboretum MetroPark. Additionally, they attended other large events to provide Daytonians with tips on how to live more sustainably.

MetroParks invites you to join us in giving a big thank you to all its amazing volunteers.

Whether it’s a year, a month, a week or even a few hours, there’s a place for you as a MetroParks volunteer. While volunteer opportunities have been cancelled through at least June 7 to slow the spread of COVID-19, learn about future volunteer opportunities by visiting MetroParks’ website and sign up for the monthly volunteer email.

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