On Saturday, November 2, thousands of people are expected to converge upon dozens of parks for Austin Parks Foundation's increasingly popular It's My Park Day event.
Volunteer activities range from tree mulching and habitat restoration to trail maintenance and cleanups at parks, trails, and greenbelts throughout the city, including the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Shoal Creek, Balcones Park, Bouldin Creek, and Mount Bonnell.
There are opportunities for almost anyone to participate, says APF senior program manager Kathleen Barron. “We encourage project leaders to have a variety of different kinds of activities, some that are labor intensive and some that are a lighter lift, and things that kids can do. There are tons of projects for families. We can accommodate just about anybody,” she says.
The 15-year-plus tradition offers a unique opportunity to get to know Austin’s vast park system while assisting in essential tasks.
“People get introduced to places they didn’t know about,” says Barron. “People enjoy it so much and feel so good about the work they do. You see a tangible, visible impact after three hours.”
In 2019, APF will complete its most large-scale renovation projects ever in a single year, and It’s My Park Days help make that possible by freeing up time and money normally spent on basic up-keep. The spring 2019 edition drew more than 3,000 volunteers who worked on nearly 100 projects and contributed more than $200,000 worth of labor.
Volunteers can sign up for specific park projects here, and those who pre-register receive a free T-shirt designed by local artist Mila Sketch. After your volunteer shift, head to one of the many restaurants, breweries, and businesses offering specials for IMPD volunteers. Participating organizations include ShakeShack, P. Terry’s, Taco Ranch, MezzeMe, Peached Tortilla, and Galaxy Café, and, new this year, area breweries including Independence Brewery and Oskar Blues Brewery are hosting volunteer appreciation parties.
Founded in 1992, Austin Parks Foundation (APF) works to make Austin’s public parks, trails, and green spaces better through volunteerism, innovative programming, advocacy, and financial support. It’s My Park Day is its flagship volunteer event.