Volunteer Open House at Discovery Park

capturevolunteerResolve to begin the New Year on a positive note – become a volunteer! Our Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning Unit will be hosting a Volunteer Open House at Discovery Park Visitor Center from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12. Drop by anytime during the evening to learn about the variety of volunteer opportunities available. Current volunteers and City staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information.


Volunteer opportunities include the following:

NEW! Visitor Center Ambassadors – provide information for the public on weekends at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center.

One-day training provided on Saturday, February 11.

Training includes Discovery Park tour and history, public speaking and public engagement.

NEW! Beach Ambassadors – provide information for the public on weekends at Discovery Park beaches and potentially other Seattle salt water beaches in the near future.

One-day training provided on Saturday, March 11.

Training includes public speaking, intertidal natural history, and public engagement.

Seattle Urban Nature Guide – provide environmental education and hands-on learning experiences for school groups, the general public and at special events throughout the city.

Spring training is on Thursdays and/or Saturdays, March 23 – April 15.  Applications are due February 15, 2017.  Orientation for the spring training is Saturday February 18.

Training includes public speaking, natural history of flora and fauna, teaching techniques, team work, cultural diversity.

Junior Naturalist – provide assistance to naturalists during Summer Nature Day Camp.

Youth 13-16 years old, learn about nature and develop leadership skills while promoting stewardship at Discovery Park and in the community.

Office Assistant – provide support for environmental education projects.

Training provided for individual projects.

Database Entry – provide data entry for bird sightings records.

Experience with databases a plus, training provided for AviSys and eBird.


Volunteer with Seattle Parks and Recreation


Join Seattle Parks and Recreation at a Volunteer Information Fair to learn about our volunteer opportunities. Our volunteers coach youth sports, help us plant native trees in our parks, serve on various advisory councils and boards, and provide countless other services that allow us to have the first-rate park and recreation system that Seattle loves and depends on.

We will be hosting a Volunteer Information Fair on January 25 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Rainier Community Center (4600 38th Ave. S), and on February 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Northgate Community Center (10510 5th Ave. NE). You can find out what opportunities are available, learn more about the jobs that volunteers do, ask questions and get registered as a volunteer on site. Plus, we will be serving a free lunch!

Representatives from several of our units will also be on hand to describe their volunteer needs, including the Green Seattle Partnership, our Environmental Learning Centers, Community Advisory Councils, Adopt a Park and more.

If you have questions or would like to sign up for this event, please call Cheryl Brown at 206-615-0619.

Volunteer with Seattle Parks and Recreation

In 2015, 38,386 people volunteered for Seattle Parks and Recreation, providing more than 270,000 hours of service! Volunteers are one of our most important resources in helping us reach our goals of supporting healthy people, a healthy environment and strong communities. Our volunteers coach youth sports, help us plant native trees in our parks, serve on various advisory councils and boards, and provide countless other services that allow us to have the first-rate park and recreation system that Seattle loves and depends on.

Join us on January 25 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Rainier Community Center, or on February 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Northgate Community Center to learn about our many volunteer opportunities. Representatives from several of our units will be on hand to describe their volunteer needs, including the Green Seattle Partnership, our Environmental Learning Centers, Community Advisory Councils, Adopt a Park and more.

For questions or to register in advance, please call 206-615-0619.

Seattle Parks and Recreation seeks nominations for annual volunteer awards

dennytSeattle Parks and Recreation is seeking nominations for the Denny Awards, which honor extraordinary volunteer service to the city’s parks and recreation system. The deadline for nominations is Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. The electronic nomination form is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NSCGVXZ

The awards will be presented at a recognition ceremony to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec.6, 2016 in the Brotman Forum at the Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave.

The Denny Awards acknowledge and honor the crucial role volunteers play in supporting neighborhood parks, community centers and recreation programs throughout Seattle. The awards reflect the early commitment by the Denny family to the preservation of parkland and open space for public use and enjoyment. David T. and Louisa Denny donated land that became the first Seattle park, Denny Park, in 1884.

“Volunteers are one of our most important resources in helping us reach our goals of supporting healthy people, a healthy environment, and strong communities,” said Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “Our volunteers coach youth sports, help us plant native trees in our parks, serve on various advisory councils and boards, and provide countless other services that allow us to have the first-rate park and recreation system that Seattle loves and depends on.”

Denny Awards nominees should:

  • demonstrate exceptional stewardship of parks and/or recreation;
  • have given a significant commitment of time;
  • provide stellar leadership by supporting SPR’s goals to extend Race and Social Justice, and support Healthy People, a Healthy Environment, and Strong Communities.

In 2015, 38,386 people volunteered for Seattle Parks and Recreation, providing 270,360 hours of service, which is a donation valued by Independent Sector at $23.07 per hour or $6.2 million dollars in 2015.

For additional information, please contact Aretha Alexander, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-684-8028, or aretha.alexander@seattle.gov. A list of past award winners is available here.

Denny Award Nominations Open

Denny Awards 2015

The mayor speaks at the 2015 Denny Awards ceremony

Looking for a way to honor an awesome volunteer in your midst? Do you know a volunteer who has excelled at creating Healthy People, Healthy Environment or Strong Communities? A volunteer who has advanced the work of Race and Social Equity in Seattle?

It is time to nominate a volunteer or group who deserves recognition for their contributions to the people of Seattle through Seattle Parks and Recreation!

Mark your calendars! Nominees and winners will be honored Tuesday, December 6th at the Seattle Art Museum from 6 to 8:30 pm.

Please complete the 2016 Denny Award Nomination Form  through Survey Monkey. Also connect with us on our Seattle Parks and Recreation Volunteer Facebook page.

Download the past Denny Award winners list

Get Involved with Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 9th Annual Big Day of Play!

Big Day of Play VolunteersCome make new friends or bond with your family while volunteering! You’ll also receive service hours, food, and a zoo ticket for your time and support. Don’t forget to check out the fun activities that we offer like obstacle course inflatables, rock climbing wall, cultural music and dance presentations, and sport exhibitions for all ages!

Volunteers are needed for:

  • Event set up and take down
  • Greeting guests
  • Booth and vendor support (help monitor activities)
  • Assistance with survey and data collection
  • Recycling and waste management
  • Stage hands

Available shifts:

  • 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • 1:30-5:30 p.m.
  • 2:30-6:30 p.m.

*Plus additional training prior to event

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 9th Annual Big Day of Play will be held on Saturday, August 13th from noon-6 p.m. at the Rainier Community Center Playfields.

For more information and to sign up, please contact Cindy Sandino-Chang at cindy.sandino-chang@seattle.gov or 206-386-1919.

Green Seattle Day sees huge success


The Green Seattle Partnership touts Green Seattle Day as its biggest party of the year, and this year’s event lived up to the hype! Green Seattle Day, held Saturday, Nov. 8, saw 845 volunteers plant more than 4,600 plants across 21 parks!

The event was based out of a Seattle Parks community center for the first time and provided helpers with a warm and hardy lunch. Forterra’s Green Cities Program Director Joanna Nelson de Flores said she believes those changes helped created a meaningful neighborhood event.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw plants trees with volunteers in the Cheasty Greenspace.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw plants trees with volunteers in the Cheasty Greenbelt.

“The turnout was incredible, and there was palpable energy around supporting our urban forests that was really exciting,” Nelson de Flores said.

Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim gave a warm welcome to about 175 volunteers at Rainier Beach Community Center to launch the event, and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw was just a few miles away kicking off the Cheasty Greenbelt site with Green Seattle Forest Stewards and 150 volunteers.  Councilmember Mike O’Brian supported the day at Kiwanis Ravine.

Green Seattle Day is becoming an annual celebration and tradition for many community organizations.  Special thanks to Green Seattle Partnership program staff and forest stewards and to Parks Natural Area Crew, Heavy Equipment Crew and District staff for handling the many logistics involved.

The Green Seattle Partnership is a unique public/private partnership between the City of Seattle and the Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy). For more information on the Green Seattle Partnership, visit greenseattle.org.

The Pathway of Lights at Green Lake returns Saturday, Dec. 13

Volunteers Needed!


Seattle Parks and Recreation presents the annual Pathway of Lights at Green Lake on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 from 4:30-7:30 p.m., to take place rain or shine.


Join thousands of families, friends and neighbors for this beloved Seattle tradition. Travel the 2.8-mile path around the lake, taking in the warm glow of the luminaria, music and refreshments. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lights and candles to add to the ambiance.

Local musicians will perform at four sites around the lake:

  • The Green Lake Community Center on the east side
  • The Green Lake Small Craft Center (the Aqua Theater) on the south side
  • The Bathhouse Theater (Seattle Public Theatre) on the north side
  • The Arch on the east of side of the community center/pool.

This fun event is free, but community members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to benefit neighbors in need through the FamilyWorks food bank.  Food donation bins, as well as warm drinks and treats, will be available at the locations listed above.

Volunteers are needed to help place and light the thousands of luminaria and to clean up after the event. Individuals, businesses, community organizations and school and scout groups are welcome to participate. Setup takes place from 2:30–4:30 p.m., and the lighting of the candles takes place at 4:30 p.m. Cleanup is from 7:30- 9 p.m.

This Seattle tradition is presented in partnership with the Green Lake Advisory Council and with help from community partners, the Green Lake Masonic Lodge #149 and PCC Natural Markets.

Become a fan of the Pathway of Lights Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GreenLakePathwayofLights, to get updates about the event and find out where your favorite music group will perform.

For more information, please contact the Green Lake Community Center at 206-684-0780 or email Jeff Skinner at jeff.skinner@seattle.gov.


Winners Announced for 2013 Annual Denny Awards

Awards recognize exceptional volunteer service

Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams today announced the winners of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2013 Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most tenacious, creative and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and recreational programs.

“It is always difficult for us to choose winners,” Williams said. “All of our volunteers make valuable contributions for which we are deeply grateful. Our intention is to single out those whose work builds community, inspires others and improves lives.”

Each year, more than 40,000 volunteers donate about 350,000 hours to Seattle Parks and Recreation. Their service is valued at between $8 million and $10 million annually. Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 at the Museum of History and Industry.

Special Award

Mary Ann T.  Wiley (posthumous)

Mary Ann became a true friend and benefactor of the Seattle Japanese Garden when she signed up for guide training with the Arboretum Unit 86 volunteer group in 2003. Her enthusiasm for the garden was infectious.  She led more tours than most guides. In 2007 she and her husband Bob made the commitment to raise $500,000 which was half the private funds needed to create the Japanese Garden entry gatehouse. They did this in less than 90 days. Mary Ann died on October 7, 2013, age 83. She is survived by Bob, their two children Robert and Ann, and three granddaughters, Marene, Reagan and Tory.

Healthy Parks Healthy You Award

Jim Neff

Jim coached for Rain City Flyers since the team was organized in 1989, becoming head coach in 1994. The Rain City Flyers is a volunteer organization that partners with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide opportunities for youth to compete in track and cross-country. Jim is an amazing coach: always positive, he has an easygoing, quiet coaching style appreciated by parents and young athletes alike. His coaching builds a strong community that helps build a positive future for youth in Seattle. Thanks to Jim’s leadership, thousands of youth have learned about cross country, track and field, and most importantly, about life skills.

Wildlife Advocate Award

Birding Volunteers at Discovery Park

The birding volunteers at Discovery Park help Seattle Parks and Recreation as bird tour leaders and citizen scientists conducting a monthly Neighborhood Bird Project survey. have volunteered for over a decade; the stalwarts Neil Zimmerman and Dan Harville have volunteered since the early 1980s. The bordering volunteers combine commitment to Discovery Park, commitment to birds, the ability to contribute to science, and a sense of community developed with fellow volunteers, park staff, and members of the public who enjoy and learn from the seasonal bird tours.


Youth Community Stewardship Award

Ryther Aspiring Youth Program

Over the past seven years, the children and teens in the Aspiring Youth Summer Camp have contributed over 10,000 volunteer hours with Seattle Parks and Recreation. As volunteers, campers build a connection to the parks as they work to improve the beautiful natural settings. In the summer of 2013, over 180 campers contributed 2,200 hours of community service at Ravenna Park. Campers have contributed over 1,200 hours each summer since 2007. The young people in Aspiring Youth Summer Camp have autism spectrum disorder and other similar traits. Their experience building trails and improving habitat in the parks gives them an opportunity to give back to the community and gain self-confidence.


Making a Difference Award

Alfred Love, Jr.  

Alfred has coached in Seattle Parks and Recreation programs since 1985.  He is dedicated to working with area youth: coaching basketball and teaching life skills through sports.  Alfred has coached as many as four teams during one season.  He has volunteered at Rainier Beach, Van Asselt and Rainier Community Centers throughout his coaching career.  In 2009, Alfred created the non-profit organization Seattle Youth Recreation Foundation to enhance the experience of Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers youth. His organizations host all-season basketball and provides scholarships.

Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Award

Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View, co-founders Mary DeJong and Andrea Ostrovsky

Mary DeJong and Andrea Ostrovsky, co-founders of the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View, have led the community and Friends of Cheasty at Mt. View on a mission to reclaim, restore and re-imagine 10 acres of natural area in a 43-acre forested area that separates Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley.  Over many years, this group has tirelessly demonstrated exceptional stewardship of 10 beautiful acres of parkland and has provided significant and much-needed advocacy to benefit this greenspace. The vision of the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt. View is expansive and inclusive: in the past six years its dedicated volunteers have put in over 6,000 hours to create a healthy urban wilderness to provide a safe and welcoming place for everyone—especially urban children and youth—to enjoy.

Superintendent’s Award

Cheryl Klinker

Cheryl Klinker is committed to Thornton Creek watershed. For Many years, she has been on a mission to educate the community and share her passion about watershed restoration. Her volunteer work encompasses stewardship of green spaces and participation on several committees.  Cheryl was a member of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Naming Committee and a member of the Citizens Oversight Committee for the 2000 Pro Parks Levy.  Cheryl is an effective team member and leader with a vision for creek restoration.  She emphasizes watershed education and community building in all her work.  Cheryl is currently the chair of the Thornton Creek Watershed Oversight Council.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is extremely grateful to the thousands of people who dedicate themselves “to be good stewards of our environment, and to provide safe and welcoming opportunities to play, learn, contemplate, and build community.”  This year’s nominees include:

  • Stephanie Angelis, volunteer at Lincoln Park through Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
  • Rich Appleton, volunteer at Nora’s Woods and Leschi Natural Area
  • Jim Corson, leader for Friends of Burke Gilman Trail
  • David Dougherty, founder of the Olmsted Park Trust
  • Carol Fisher, president of Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council
  • Friends of Jackson Park Trail, advocates for and participants in the implementation of Jackson Park Trail
  • Friends of Martha Washington Park,  Committed to restoration of Martha Washington Park
  • Groundswell Northwest, volunteers bringing parks and greenspaces to northwest Seattle
  • Homeless Remembrance Project Committee, advocated for and commissioned the Tree of Life in Victor Steinbrueck Park
  • Abdullahi “Abdi” Hussein, community organizer and founder of Techno-Formation Vocational Services
  • Mat and Whitney McBride, leaders in community build project and renovation of Roxhill Park Playground
  • Michael Neguse, community organizer responsible for Ethiopian/Eritrean elder meal program and community lunch
  • Tami Oki, leader in Seattle Canoe/Kayak Club and Green Lake Small Craft Center Advisory member and volunteer
  • Judy Pickens, founder and member of executive committee for Fauntleroy Watershed Council
  • Rainier Beach Community Center Opening Event Committee
  • Karen Ritter, Center for Off-Leash Area co-steward at Lower Woodland Park Off-Leash Area
  • Julianna Ross, Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange and Magnuson Park Advisory Committee member
  • Paul Swanson, Sabey Construction and Team, re-built Georgetown Playfield picnic shelter
  • Rob Wunder, president Hiawatha Advisory Council

 The Denny Awards are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Seattle Parks and Recreation headquarters is located.

Seattle Parks and Recreation gratefully acknowledges the Denny Award sponsors and supporters:  the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Parks Foundation, Associated Recreation Council, Parker Design House, Ivar’s, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Japanese Garden, and Tom Douglas Restaurants.


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Volunteers wanted for Love Parks Day

Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation, Green Seattle Partnership, EarthCorps and six corporate sponsors, including REI, have teamed up to host Love Parks Day on Friday, July 26, at Lincoln Park. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will clean the park and remove invasive vegetation species.

The goal is to have 200 volunteers who will work with Seattle Parks and Recreation crews and Friends of Lincoln Park who have identified projects throughout this 135-acre park.

Not only will volunteers have the opportunity to invest in the future of one of Seattle’s most beautifully forested parks, but partners and sponsors will provide exclusive Love Parks tee-shirts, water bottles, lunch and snacks for those who pre-register.

In addition, everyone who volunteers gets a raffle ticket for a surprise give-away gift provided by REI. And REI staff will lead outdoor yoga to help volunteers get stretched out and ready before work begins, as well as during the lunch break.

Lincoln Park is one of the city’s largest and most popular parks. It is home to ballfields, playgrounds, trails, shoreline, and forest. To preserve Lincoln’s forests for future generations, we must act now. Invasive species like English ivy and Himalayan blackberry are choking out native vegetation and are bringing an early death to many of Lincoln’s old trees.

EarthCorps provides all gloves and tools needed to perform the work. The volunteer event will happen rain or shine, so please come dressed for the weather. It is recommended that volunteers wear long pants, bring a long sleeved shirt, and wear sturdy closed toe shoes.

We are grateful to REI, The Seneca Group, Wells Fargo, Safeco Insurance Foundation, the Seneca Real Estate Group, NBBJ, and Pacific Continental Bank for their generous support of this event.