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Volunteer Info

Welcome to Cleveland Metroparks volunteer-only information page. 

This page has been designed to provide Cleveland Metroparks registered volunteers with general information about volunteer activities, special events, policies and procedures.

Cleveland Metroparks Volunteer Services Mission: To promote community involvement through rewarding volunteer opportunities that supports the needs and mission of Cleveland Metroparks.

Volunteer Services Philosophy Statement: Cleveland Metroparks is committed to offering strategies that involve citizens and ensure meaningful and effective engagement of our communities.

Volunteer Services General Information:

  • Directed through the Human Resources Department
  • Individual, Youth, Group and Short-term opportunities
  • Park District and Zoo
  • 2015: 2,026 individual volunteers donated 107,213 hours
  • 2015: 3,291 community service volunteers donated 14,893 hours to group or short-term projects
  • Each site/program that hosts ongoing, individual and/or short-term project volunteers has a staff person designated as the on-site volunteer coordinator. Park managers are considered site coordinators for group projects.
/Uploads/Public/Images/Volunteer/SlideshowImages/Images/2013-volunteer-picnic.JPG 2013 Volunteer Picnic
/Uploads/Public/Images/Volunteer/SlideshowImages/Images/2013-volunteer-training.jpg Volunteer Training

As of December 2015, Cleveland Metroparks coordinates over 2,000 active volunteers! Annually, volunteers donate over 107,000 hours of time to the Park District and the Zoo. Volunteers generally assist at or in one of our numerous sites/programs which include the following:

  • Brecksville Nature Center
  • CanalWay Center
  • Eco Explorers
  • Golf Clubhouse Services (Big Met, Little Met, Manakiki, Mastick Woods, Seneca, Shawnee Hills, Sleepy Hollow & Washington Golf Courses)
  • Historical Interpretation
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Natural Resources
  • Nature Shops (Hinckley, North Chagrin, Rocky River, West Creek)
  • NatureTracks
  • North Chagrin Nature Center
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Rocky River Nature Center
  • Trail Ambassador Program
  • Trails Division
  • Visual Communications
  • Watershed Stewardship Center
  • Youth Outdoors
  • Zoo

What you get for Volunteering


Although it is understood that a volunteer’s efforts and enthusiasm are given freely, Cleveland Metroparks would like to extend benefits as a way to say “thank you” and enhance the enjoyment of each volunteer’s experience. A volunteer with Cleveland Metroparks receives additional benefits of:

  • contributing to the mission of Cleveland Metroparks/Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
  • opportunity to meet new people with similar interests
  • discount at Park District Nature Shops
  • subscription to site newsletters*
  • district-wide newsletter*
  • district-wide recognition event
  • worker’s compensation and certain liability coverages
  • site-specific volunteer social events

* In January, May and September of every year, volunteers receive the Volunteering Naturally newsletter. This newsletter is intended to contain general information that relates to all volunteers in the Park District. Some programs do offer site newsletters to volunteers at different intervals throughout the year.

Recognition System

Volunteers add additional value to services provided by staff and enable Cleveland Metroparks to provide a level of service and quality that the Park District’s visitors expect and deserve. In this way, Cleveland Metroparks has created a recognition system as a way to acknowledge the dedication to and support of the Park District and Zoo by its volunteers. The following is a listing of the types of recognition opportunities available to Cleveland Metroparks volunteers.

  • On-site and district-wide recognition opportunities (i.e. district-wide volunteer picnic, site-specific gatherings)
  • Cleveland Metroparks Volunteer Appreciation Week passes for National Volunteer Week
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Recognition system (based on cumulative hours)*
    Beginning January 1, 2014, the following cumulative hours (since starting as a volunteer) recognition system will be implemented for all Cleveland Metroparks volunteers:
    • 15 hours = name badge*
    • 50 hours = Cleveland Metroparks shirt voucher (redeemable at Cleveland Metroparks Nature Shops)
    • 75 hours = volunteer ball cap (Park District or Zoo option)
    • 100 hours = volunteer polo (Park District) or navy sweatshirt (Zoo)
    • 250 hours = $15 Cleveland Metroparks gift card
    • 500 hours = volunteer fleece jacket (Park District or Zoo option)
    • 1,000 hours = volunteer rain jacket (Park District) or white polo (Zoo)
    • 2,500 hours = choose one of four gifts
    • 5,000 hours = choose one of five gifts

*Zoo volunteers and Trail Ambassador volunteers will receive their name badge upon completion of training since the name badge is a required part of their uniform. Therefore, recognition items will begin at 50 hours for these volunteers.

*This recognition system will be based on cumulative volunteer hours – that is, the number of hours each volunteer has accumulated since the day he/she began volunteering with the Park District or Zoo. In addition, it will be dependent on the total number of hours accrued in all programs in Cleveland Metroparks.

Due to any unforeseen circumstances, Cleveland Metroparks reserves the right, as it deems appropriate, at any time with or without notice, to terminate or make any changes to the volunteer recognition program.


Cleveland Metroparks volunteers are welcome to enjoy:

  • 15% discount on any regular priced Nature Shop purchase throughout the year
  • 10% discount on programs offered through Outdoor Recreation (to receive this discount, volunteers must CALL to register. Online registration is not eligible for a discount)
  • 50% discount off rental fees at zoo facilities such as the Primate, Cat & Aquatics building and picnic facilities for special occasions. A 20% discount is available for rental of The RainForest