Gainesville’s nature parks are operated by the Nature Operations Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. We are assisted in our work of caring for the parks by the following groups:
Friends of Nature Parks
The Friends of Nature Parks are the original not-for-profit support organization which provides volunteers, supplemental funding, and advocacy for matters of concern to the nature parks. The Friends sponsors or cosponsors fund-raising events including the Fall and Spring Native Plant sales, the Youth Fiddle & Open String~Band Contest at the Cane Boil, and the Farm and Forest Festival.
The Friends Board meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Thomas Center "A", the Mary Prosen Conference Room, Room 204, located at 302 NE 6th Ave. in Gainesville. All members are welcome. There is also an annual general membership meeting which features a potluck dinner and a guest speaker as well as updates on FoNP activities.
To Join the Friends of Nature Parks download and fill out the registration form with your dues check payable to Friends of Nature Parks Nature Park and mail to Morningside Nature Center, 3540 East University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32641-6067.
Membership benefits include a subscription to The Longleaf Pine (a quarterly newsletter published by FoNP), discounts or free admission at events and programs, and knowing you are helping support environmental education and Gainesville's nature parks! Join today!
The Nature Centers Commission
The Nature Centers Commission (NCC) is a volunteer citizen’s advisory board whose members are appointed by the City Commission to assist it in administering the nature parks. The NCC always has vacancies open and looking for new members. NCC meets every 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the Thomas Center "A", the Mary Prosen Conference Room, Room 204, located at 302 NE 6th Ave. in Gainesville. Commitments are as long as someone wants to remain on the Board and need to be renewed with the Clerk’s office every year through the submittal of a form. Click here to review bylaws that provide additional information.
The Nature Centers Commission annually evaluates nominees for the Star Volunteer Awards. There are 3 possible awards that are recognized, Star Volunteer, Good Neighbor, and Green Business. If you wish to nominate a person, group, business, or organization for one of these awards, please complete the Star Volunteer Award application.