After learning about the park and other green areas around Northeast Ohio, many might feel the need to get involved.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a volunteer program where you can become a steward — a person that helps protect the park through events, programs and outreach. It’s a partnership with the National Park Service and allows people to help with cleaning out invasive species, adopt a trail to help maintain them and plant trees or other native species.
Kent State University also has a partnership with the park through the residence halls and other student organizations called “Super Service Saturdays.” Students and staff can come for a few hours on one of the scheduled Saturdays and assist with whatever the park needs. A few years ago, I went with a group for four hours to help create a trail that’s now apart of the towpath. We got rid of all of the almond olive, dead plants and other dangerous obstructions for visitors. It was a great way to get to know the park, the people who work there and to learn more about the environment.
If you can’t commit a lot of time but still want to help in someway, the park also hosts drop-in restoration days. There’s also opportunities for visitors to assist in different ways, like helping with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad or getting involved in outreach programs with different neighborhoods in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.
The park isn’t the only place where you can volunteer — watersheds across Northeast Ohio also have those opportunities. The Cleveland Metroparks Watershed actually has a program to become an official steward for the watersheds.