Volunteer

The American River Parkway Foundation enlists the assistance of thousands of volunteers each year. These volunteers play a vital role in the conservation of the American River Parkway. Throughout the year, volunteer opportunities exist through River Clean Ups, Invasive Plant Removal, Trail Maintenance, Habitat Restoration and all of our many programs and events. Below are just a few ways you can become involved.

Volunteer Opportunities

Clean Ups
Join us for the Great American River Clean Up in September, Spring Clean Up in April, or any of our monthly River Clean Ups throughout the year. Help remove unwanted debris and waste from the Parkway and River.
Learn More

Sustainable Saturdays
Want to get started right away? Looking to fulfill school community service requirements? Sustainable Saturdays and our other, open volunteer days are great one-time volunteer opportunities.
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Invasive Plant Patrol
Invasive plant patrol volunteers work in various habitats throughout the Parkway to remove non-native species, including red sesbania, yellow star thistle, Spanish broom, and more, that inhibit native vegetation and wildlife.
Join a group of adventurous volunteers who help remove tens of thousands of invasive plants each year!
Email our volunteer coordinator for more information at: volunteer@arpf.org

Mile Stewards
An integral part of the health of the Parkway is the Adopt-A-Mile program.
Learn More

Special Events Volunteer
Each of the Parkway Foundation’s staple events has plenty of volunteer needs.
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Internships
The Parkway Foundation offers seasonal, unpaid internships supporting ARPF staff across various programs that offer hands-on experience in the environmental science field. Previous interns have worked with Invasive Plant Management, Wildfire Restoration, GIS Mapping and more.
Email our volunteer coordinator for more information at: volunteer@arpf.org

Corporate Volunteering
The Parkway Foundation regularly works with businesses to put on volunteer events across various programs. These are great team-building opportunities!
Email our volunteer coordinator for more information at: volunteer@arpf.org

Administrative Assistance/Native Plant Garden
The Parkway Foundation also has year-round opportunities for volunteers to help in the office and in the 1-acre Native Plant Garden at the office.
For more information, please email volunteer@arpf.org or fill out the Volunteer Interest Form below.

Interested in volunteering at ARPF? Follow this link to let us know!

ARPF Volunteers can report hours online using this link! Thanks for your volunteer service!

Volunteer Waivers:

Youth Waiver of Liability

Denise Nelson | Invasive Plant Patrol

Meet longtime Invasive Plant Patrol volunteer, Denise Nelson. Since she began volunteering with the Parkway Foundation in 2012, Denise has spent 229.5 hours removing invasive plants and trash from the American River Parkway!

Tell us briefly about yourself, and describe your connection to the Parkway. What does the Parkway mean to you?
I am a library media teacher at a local elementary school.  When I turned 50 my doctor said to take walks for my health.  I live close to the river, a natural walking destination.  I visit the trails along the American River Parkway frequently, often taking pictures of wildlife, plant life, sunrises, and the mesmerizing, ever-changing river.  It is a place to stop, listen and watch.  It is a place of serenity where one can easily make friends of other river visitors or spend solitary time contemplating life, with exciting moments of discovery, like a killdeer’s nest or a family of otters passing by.

What initially drew you to ARPF?
I first heard about the American River Parkway Foundation at a presentation given by Bill Griffith.  I have always been interested in wildlife and nature, perhaps because I was raised in the Yukon Territory, so I was drawn to the topic of “Wildlife along the American Parkway”.  But Bill Griffith didn’t just show us slides of the wildlife that he’s seen over the years along the parkway – he also mentioned sesbania, an invasive plant that he and other volunteers had been working to remove, and he described it, including its red flowers.  On my walks along the river I had just recently observed a beautiful plant with red flowers so I was curious enough to attend my first Parkway meeting to learn about the plant.  Since that initial presentation and then the Parkway meeting, I have joined the ranks of “weed warriors,” giving myself more motivation to walk along the parkway on weekends and during school breaks, observing the wildlife, and removing sesbania.  I have been at it for over five years now and have included star thistle in my removal efforts.  I also help remove trash left by others not quite as careful to preserve the natural beauty around us.

Why have you continued volunteering?
I continue to volunteer because I am fascinated by what I might see next at the river, and I want to help maintain this valuable resource for future generations as well.  There are so many things to do along the parkway: walking/hiking, bird watching, fishing, biking, picnicking, photography (there is a group that does dragonfly photography), running, dog walking, kayaking/rafting, swimming/wading, sunning… right in the midst of our urban lives.  I am thankful for this treasure and want to give back, and I encourage others to help care for this resource that is here for all of us.  There are many ways to volunteer: removing invasive plants, cleaning up trash or flood debris, helping at events such as “Ride the Parkway”, burn restoration, planting, data entry in the office…  One can commit to as little as a few hours once a year or as much as a daily maintenance of a trail section; every volunteer effort adds up to keeping our American River Parkway a prize of our region.

Do you have a favorite Parkway memory or experience?
Some of my favorite memories by the river involve finding nest sites, usually because the babies are so noisy calling for food.  I also enjoyed watching grebes bring food to their eager babies and was amazed that such little creatures could swallow a crawdad whole.  Every season there is more to see and learn.

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