We rely on the help of volunteers like you to achieve our goal of cultivating vibrant parks, green spaces, and trees in GR.

make a big difference with your group—big or small!

If your group would like to help create more vibrant parks in our community, it’s easy! Check out our calendar of upcoming volunteer projects, or organize a private volunteer project for your employees or group by emailing claire@friendsofgrparks.org.

volunteer to grow our urban forest

One of our areas of focus is the Grand Rapids tree canopy (a.k.a. our urban forest). You can volunteer at a planting event or become a Neighborhood Forester and help lead projects. If you’d like to take it a step further, gather some neighbors and apply for a mini-grant to plant trees in your area!

volunteer to beautify your neighborhood park

Become a steward of a neighborhood park! Attend a planned beautification project with Friends, or adopt a park that you care about and lead repeating projects at the space. Email claire@friendsofgrparks.org if you, your business or group would like to adopt a park.

Volunteer manual


Volunteers must complete a waiver before participating in a volunteer project. If you sign up for a project online, you can fill out the form there. If not, we will blank printed forms available at the event. *Note: All volunteers under the age of 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent and/or guardian. Any volunteer under the age of 18 without a signed waiver will not be able to participate.

What to Bring

Be prepared to get dirty!  This means wearing clothes you don’t love.  Volunteers frequently work with oil-based paints, woodchips, and dirt so put your gym clothes to use! All volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes.

Volunteers should bring a snack and water. Friends does its best to provide a water source for volunteers but this is not always possible. Bring bug spray and sunscreen if you are prone to mosquito bites or sunburn.


Weather will be monitored closely for all projects but can be unpredictable at times.  Please use your best judgment if you do not feel safe traveling.  Some projects may be canceled due to weather restrictions.  Tree plantings will happen rain or shine (unless there is thunder and lightning).  Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will notify volunteers if an event must be canceled due to inclement weather.

Tobacco and Drug-Free

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks promotes tobacco-free living in collaboration with Kent County Health Connect.  Smoking is strictly prohibited at all Friends of Grand Rapids Parks volunteer projects.  All Friends of Grand Rapids Parks volunteer sites are also drug-free zones.  While participating in Friends-related activities, a volunteer may not use, possess, distribute, sell or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Conduct & inclusion

All are welcome to volunteer!  Friends of Grand Rapids Parks provide equal opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sexual preference, age, or disability.   Volunteers are expected to follow all instructions given by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks staff or team leader at volunteer project.