Friends of the Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc.

Friends of Santa

Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. is the volunteer branch of the Lorain County Metro Parks and a separate organization.  Friends of Metro Parks works closely with the park staff to assist with programs, animal care, plant care, special events, gift shops and much more.  There are opportunities year round and at many of the parks.  The park staff is a hard working group of employees dedicated to giving the citizens of Lorain County the finest possible park system and Friends support them in their endeavors.


The Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. was formed in 1983 and is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees consisting of 11 members elected by the general membership.  Each member serves a three year term.  Officers are elected by the Board of Trustees following the annual meeting of the general membership which is held the end of June each year.  There are over 400 members who support the metro parks through volunteering or financial support.

Mission Statement

The Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. is an independent, non-profit organization that supports the Lorain County Metro Parks through volunteer staffing, materials, and financial assistance. Members are provided opportunities in volunteering, education and social activities.


Members of the Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. are people who show their support for the Lorain County Metro Parks through their membership in this organization.  Those members that choose to volunteer with the Lorain County Metro Parks have the opportunity to serve their fellow citizens.

Friends of Metro Parks - Lakeview ParkA Friends membership entitles you to the full participation in all education and social events sponsored by Friends of Metro Parks.  Members also receive the Friends Talk newsletter which is published every four months and is available either by mail or on the Lorain County Metro Parks website.    The newsletter gives you the opportunity to stay up to date on news and new volunteer opportunities.  You also receive 10% off on purchases at the Nature Nook gift shops.  

To become a member of Friends, you must attend a Volunteer Orientation and pay the appropriate membership fee.  Orientations for new volunteers are held every other month at the Carlisle Visitor Center (January, March May, July, September and November).  Call (440) 458-5121 to register for the next orientation or for more information about volunteering.

Individual (18 years of age and up) $10.00
Juniors (under 18 years of age) $1.00
Teen Corp (13-17 years of age) $30 (includes t-shirt and social events)
Seniors (65 years of age and older) $5.00
Organization $25.00
Business and Industry $50.00


Note: Juniors Membership- Member is only eligible to volunteer with a parent.
We hope you will start a rewarding adventure in Volunteering as a member of Friends working with the Lorain County Metro Parks.


Friends of Metro ParksAs a volunteer, how, when and where you serve is up to you.  The Metro Parks offers Friends countless opportunities.  Working with Park Staff and often representing the parks makes us proud of their trust in our abilities, and aware of the responsibilities that we are given. We know that you will enjoy exploring the many facets of volunteering that are available.  Below is a quick overview of the opportunities available for volunteers with Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. Click here for Friends of Metro Parks in Lorain County, Inc. Volunteer Information Sheet and inquire about volunteer opportunities.

► Conservation Corps

Assist in the development and implementation of the Natural Resource Management Plan and other conservation projects throughout the Metro Parks.  Tasks usually include planting seedlings, building birdhouses and grooming trails.

► Columbia Reservation

A wide range of opportunities exist including assisting with natural resource and other projects within the park, hike the trails and answer peoples questions about the park, programs and area wildlife, and assist with park programs.

► French Creek Nature Center

A wide range of volunteer opportunities exist, including answering phones, greeting the public, animal care and more! If you are interested in the arts, members of Friends can also assist with theatrical and concert productions with TrueNorth Cultural Arts which is located at French Creek.  You can assist with the concession stand, box office, ushers or in the art gallery.

► Friends Talk Newsletter Staff

Every four months, Friends communicates with its membership through FRIENDS TALK. Enthusiastic volunteers are needed to write articles, contact corps leaders for information and help pick up and deliver the newsletter.

► Kopf Family Reservation

Assist with programs and trail monitoring at this metro parks located in Avon Lake.

► Lakeview Park

Volunteer opportunities at this park include assisting with programs and special events, helping with the maintenance of the rose garden and assisting and answering questions at the Rose Desk located in the Rose Café.

► Miller Nature Preserve

Miller Nature Preserve is a bustling place to volunteer.  If you enjoy greeting visitors, answering phones and working in a gift shop, volunteer in the Nature Nook Gift Shop.  If you are a plant lover, learn more about the tropical plants displayed inside and outside by helping out in the conservatory and outside gardens doing plant care. There are also opportunities to assist with programs.

► Nature Nooks

Friends operate three different gift shops throughout the park district (Carlisle Visitor Center, Miller Nature Preserve and Schoepfle Garden Visitor Center) and one small gift cart (Splash Zone). You will assist park visitors with park information as well as with any purchases they make.  Opportunities also exist for managers and inventory control assistance.

► Public Information Corps

Be a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the Metro Parks as you greet the public and answer questions about the parks and Friends at various special events such as health fairs, festivals, and Lorain County Fair!

► Raptor Center

The Metro Parks maintain an excellent Raptor Center at Carlisle Visitor Center to house birds of prey which have been permanently injured.  These birds are used as educational ambassadors for their species.  After extensive training, volunteers assist with the care of the Raptors.

► Sandy Ridge Reservation

Friends lend a hand as tram drivers during the summer months, building hosts handing out literature and answering questions, and conducting public programs including hikes and indoor programs.

► Schoepfle Garden Visitor Center

The Schoepfle Garden combines formal European-style gardens with nature trails along the Vermilion River.  Volunteers can enjoy an indoor experience working the desk in the visitor center and Nature Nook gift shop.  Other opportunities include assisting with programs, helping in the Children’s Garden with the carousel, driving tram or working with the horticulturalist with weeding, pruning and planting.

► Teens at the Parks Corps

Teens (13 -17 years old) are welcomed to volunteer and gain experience and knowledge of nature and our parks.  Teens volunteer at a variety of events as well as bringing the park mascot – Chip E Munk – to the public and also performing puppet shows.  They have opportunities to enjoy social events, special projects with park staff and events planned just for teens. Download an application here.

► Train Corps

It’s not a train per se, but “Choo” is our drivable tram that runs along our Children’s Nature Discovery Trail at Carlisle Visitor Center.  Open for special events and summer weekends, assistance is needed in driving and assisting passengers on and off.

► Tram Drivers

Tram drivers drive an electric tram along paved sections of selected trails for those who might not otherwise be able to enjoy the park.  Along the ride, volunteers provide information on points of interest for public tours and requested programs.  We currently provide trams at Black River Reservation (by appointment only), Sandy Ridge Reservation, and Schoepfle Garden.

► Special Events

Lorain County Metro Parks has several major events throughout the year and each event presents different opportunities to volunteer and is a fun time to interact with visitors and other volunteers. It doesn’t matter which corps you work with regularly, all are welcomed to volunteer for these events!

Maple Sugaring and Pancake Breakfast February/March, Carlisle Visitor Center
Summer Concert Series June-August, Vermilion River Reservation
Lorain County Fair August
Halloween Fair October, Carlisle Visitor Center
Hay Wagon Rides September/October, Carlisle Visitor Center
Breakfast With Santa December , Carlisle Visitor Center
Holiday Lights December , Carlisle Visitor Center
And more!  

► Vermilion River Reservation Corps

The Carriage Barn is located at the Vermilion River Reservation. Volunteers serve an important role as office support greeting visitors, answering questions and staffing the reception desk.  Volunteers can also assist with programs.  The Benjamin Bacon Museum is located here as well and tour guides are always needed.

► Wellington Reservation Corps

There are many opportunities to volunteer at this park including helping with paddle boat rentals, answering questions about the park and assisting with park programs.

► Wildlife Observation Area

Located at the Carlisle Visitor Center, this volunteer opportunity has you greeting the public, handing out binoculars and answering questions about our local birds.  In addition, you will be working in the Nature Nook gift shop that is a part of the viewing area.  If you enjoy gardening, the park staff is always in need of help to make the observation area a joy to view and a place to view wildlife. 


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