2021 Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Programs Handbook

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COVID-19 has changed the way we operate, including how we manage our volunteer programs This volunteer handbook provides information about volunteer policies and general information about our various volunteer programs. As information, best practices, and policies related to COVID 19 continue to evolve, so do our volunteer programs and volunteer requirements. All information in this handbook is subject to change. We appreciate your support and patience as we work through this together.

For the latest information and administrative orders for Milwaukee County, please visit: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/COVID 19

At the time of publishing, all volunteers are required to abide by Milwaukee County Administrative Orders relating to volunteers, and they must also complete a COVID-19 Volunteer Waiver. https://www.cognitoforms.com/MilwaukeeCountyParks1/COVID19VolunteerWaiver


Introduction: Welcome and Thank You • Mission, Vision Values • Organizational Information • Volunteer Program Expectations

Appendix A: Scout Projects

Appendix B: Student Interns

Section 1: How to Use the Volunteer Programs Handbook

Section 2: Volunteer Requirements and Volunteer Program Policies

Section 3: Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Programs • Park, Beach, and Trail Cleanups • Group Service Days • Community Science • Conservation and Restoration • Brew Hero • Adopt-A-Spot • Boerner Botanical Gardens • Wehr Nature Center • Mitchell Domes • Community Outreach • Community Service Hours

Section 4: Friends Groups

Section 5: Volunteer Recognition

Section 6: Others Ways to Get Involved

Section 7: Important Contacts, Forms, and Resources

Section 8: Sponsor Our Volunteers OLUNTEERS PRACTICING SAFETY 2020



LETTER FROM DIRECTOR Dear Parks Volunteers, On behalf of Milw dedication, and ongoing stewardship of our thriving parks system. More than ever, volunteerism and local stewardship of our parks are becoming increasingly important. Whether through a Friends Group, through a corporate service outing, or as a Brew Hero volunteer with your family, we extend our warmest appreciation for your service. Each year, volunteers host signature events, maintain Forked Aster Nature Trails, remove acres and acres of invasive species from our natural areas, and help keep our parks tidy and welcoming by picking up litter. This is just a very short list of all the amazing things our 7,000+ volunteers accomplish each year. As you will see from flipping through this handbook, Milwauk community, and we have just about as many opportunities for volunteers to get involved, too. Stemming from Milwaukee County’s vision – by achieving racial equity, Milwaukee County will be the healthiest county in Wisconsin – Milwaukee County Parks and our volunteers play an important role in heightening the quality of life in our County. Each and every one of you helps build and shape our community. There is no task too small! In fact, we envision a future where every resident in our community spends just 10 minutes each month doing tiny acts of stewardship to keep our parks welcoming to all. And or you to really dig in, too. I hope you find an opportunity that fits your lifestyle, and even if we can’t be right there alongside you, I hope you know that your contributions, time, and service are valued. Again, thank you for all that you do! Sincerely, Guy Smith Director, Milwaukee County Parks • Fun • Inclusive • Green • Resourceful • Your Backyard

MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARKS VISION To foster equitable connections through our land

MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARKS MISSION To steward a thriving park system that positively

additional volunteer procedures not outlined in this handbook.


VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MISSION To instill a mindset of public space stewardship



These programs are designed to be accessible for most people. difference without a big commitment.

INTERMEDIATE VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS These programs may include strenuous labor, the use of special tools, and/or specialized training.

ADVANCED VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS These programs require specialized trainings, advanced techniques,

SCHEDULED SHIFTS These programs require volunteers to commit to set schedules.

tasks on their own schedules.


REMOTE OPTIONS These remotely.



VOLUNTEER - A volunteer is anyone, who without compensation, performs a service for civic,

charitable, educational or humanitarian reasons, at the direction of and on behalf of the County.

INTERN - See Appendix B. GROUP VOLUNTEER - Persons serving as volunteers as part of 3rd party hosted group service days, such as a school group or a corporate service day. INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEER - Persons participating in any volunteer program at their own discretion and not as part of a group. Members of a family participating in volunteer programs together are still individual volunteers. of the gr

y vice day.

GROUP COORDINATOR - A volunteer serving as a coordinator for a group of volunteers. Examples may

include the main point of contact for a corporate group, school group, Scout Troop, or the main point of contact for a Friends Group hosting a volunteer day with many volunteers.


oversight for all volunteer programs for Milwaukee County Parks.

VOLUNTEER SITE COORDINATOR addition to their core job duties. Examples may include a Volunteer Coordinator at Wehr Nature Center, with

Milwaukee County Parks If you would like to file a complaint, provide feedback or suggestions, or otherwise contact the Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer program, please email us at parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov


A volunteer is anyone, who without compensation, performs a service for civic, charitable, educational, or humanitarian reasons, at the direction of and on behalf of Milwaukee County. We thank you, and all volunteers, for the personal investment you make in our organization and its mission. We strive to provide support,

and recognition to our volunteers.

❒ Be assigned appropriate tasks according to ability, skill, interests, availability, and training. ❒ Receive training (sometimes in the form of written guidelines) and oversight for the tasks accepted.

❒ Receive a description or volunteer scope for the volunteer program you are participating in. ❒ Be treated as a fellow team member who contributes to Milwaukee County’s goals through your volunteer work.

❒ Make suggestions about your assignment and the Milwaukee County volunteer program ❒ Expect that Milwaukee County be a good steward of your time. ❒ Be treated with a spirit of friendliness and cooperation. ❒ A safe and inviting environment to work in that is free of harassment and discrimination.

❒ Know your duties and stay on task. ❒ ❒ ❒ Contribute suggestions to improve the volunteer program. ❒ Be on time for scheduled meetings and volunteer assignments. ❒ Honor your commitment and come when scheduled. ❒ 11

All volunteers completing tasks on Parks land must complete the Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Agreement annually. Volunteer agreements and waivers are required by volunteers serving with or on behalf of a Friends Group.

The Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Agreement (includes waivers and handbook acknowledgment) is available online at: Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Agreement Volunteers can submit the Agreement directly online, can complete the form on a smart phone, or can print, sign, and scan a paper copy. Send scanned copies to parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov or mail paper copies to: ATTN: Engagement Manager Wauwatosa, WI 53226


you are expected to obey safety rules and to exercise caution in all of your volunteer activities. You are asked to report any unsafe conditions to your Volunteer Site Coordinator immediately. Any accident, which results in injury, regardless of how insignificant, must be reported promptly to your Volunteer Site Coordinator or the Volunteer Program Coordinator.


USE OF MOTORIZED EQUIPMENT Volunteers may not operate motorized equipment, including but not limited to: chain saws, lawn mowers, and ATV’s.

It is the responsibility of the Group Coordinator to ensure all volunteers participating in the group service day at Milwaukee County Parks 1) receive this Handbook, 2) complete the Volunteer Agreement referenced above, and 3) comply with the policies and guidelines outlined therein. It is the responsibility of the Individual to 1) Review this Handbook, 2) complete the Volunteer Agreement referenced above, and 3) comply with the policies and guidelines outlined therein.


Volunteers under 18 years of age must have a parent/ guardian signature on the Volunteer Agreement, and volunteers under 14 years of age must be physically accompanied by a parent/guardian during the volunteering session.


You the volunteer and Milwaukee County share responsibility for establishing and maintaining a safe work environment. Milwaukee County will attempt to ensure a safe work environment and to comply with federal, state, and local safety regulations. In turn, 12

USE OF A MILWAUKEE COUNTY VEHICLE Volunteers may not drive County vehicles. Milwaukee ed to provide transportation for volunteers except in extreme emergencies.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE MANUAL OF OPERATING PROCEDURES The Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services provides Administrative Manuals of Operating Procedures (AMOP) which guide the operation of the County government

Milwaukee County is firmly committed to providing a positive environment free of discrimination and bias. Each volunteer is personally responsible for maintaining such a environment. Milwaukee County prohibits any actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s race, sex, sexual preferences, ethnic background, age, religion, or physical condition. Any conduct or action, whether overt or subtle, which creates an offensive or hostile work environment is prohibited and will be grounds for termination of the relationship. Milwaukee County prohibits any harassment between volunteers, employees, or other non employee on the basis of sex. No volunteer, male or female, should be subjected to unsolicited or unwelcome sexual overtones and conduct, either verbal or physical. Any volunteer who believes he or she is a victim of sexual or discriminatory harassment is encouraged to let the harasser know that his or her behavior is unwelcome. In addition, volunteers who believe they have been harassed must immediately report the matter to their Volunteer Program Coordinator.

VOLUNTEER CONDUCT Although it is not possible to list all the forms of behavior or conduct that are considered unacceptable in the workplace, the following are examples of infractions or conduct that may result in the termination of the volunteer relationship:

❒ Misconduct or insubordination possession of County property

❒ Misuse of agency funds, equipment, or materials

❒ Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

❒ Possession, distribution, sale, transfer, or use of alcoholic or illegal drugs in the workplace

❒ Disruptive activity in the workplace ❒ Negligence or improper conduct leading to the damage of property

❒ Repeated failure to follow a supervisor’s

❒ Violation of safety or health rules ❒ Abuse or mistreatment of public, volunteers, or employees

❒ Sexual or other unlawful harassment or discrimination

❒ Violation of Milwaukee County anti discrimination policies

❒ Possession of dangerous or unauthorized materials, such as explosives or firearms, in the workplace

❒ Excessive absenteeism without notice ❒ Releasing confidential information

reasonable request or to carry out a reasonable job assignment 13


LEARN MORE ABOUT... • Park, Beach, and Trail Cleanups

• Brew Hero • Adopt A Spot • Boerner Botanical Gardens • Wehr Nature Center • Mitchell Domes


Clean-ups are the most popular volunteer option at Milwaukee County Parks. Due to high demand for trash Here are simple steps to help you plan and host your own clean-up!

❒ Select a Park, a Beach, or a section of Oak Leaf Trail - HERE ❒ Select a Date and Time that works for your group. ❒ Submit the Clean-up Registration Form at least 2 weeks ahead of your clean-up date: HERE

❒ Gather your supplies! Gloves and trash bags are the essentials. If you plan well in advance, we can provide you with trash buckets and trash grabbers to borrow. A) Our partners at Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful are also a great resource for getting clean-up supplies: CLICK HERE

❒ Make sure all volunteers complete the Milwaukee Volunteer Agreement: HERE

❒ Receive confirmation from Milwaukee County Parks. Confirmation will include directions about where to consolidate trash, or other guidelines to follow.

❒ Host your clean-up! ❒ Optional: Take photos and post on social media @mkecountypark and #loveyourparksmke.


NOT SURE WHERE TO GET STARTED, or need help selecting a park? You can reach out to parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov prior to submitting your clean-up registration form.

We love hosting group service days! Corporate groups, associations, schools, or other groups looking to host a service day with Milwaukee County Parks should plan to reach out at least 1-month in advance to start planning. Note: group service days do not include trash clean-up. Please refer to page .


GOALS Think about the goals for your group service day: Are you looking to give back to a specific neighborhood? Is environmental conservation a priority? Are you looking to host a fun, team-building day outside? Your goals for hosting a service day will help guide you in the planning process.



Think about the time frame, dates, and locations (use our PARKS MAP!) that would work for your group. We generally prefer to host service events on weekdays (MF), and find that about 3 hours is the right amount of

• Trail maintenance • Invasive Species Removal • Pool Clean-Ups • Bumble Bee Surveys • Gardening/Landscaping •

s, or both to accommodate your group. For very large groups, Saturdays are an option, though availability may be limited.

OPTIONS Think about the various options available for group service projects and consider the interests of your group.

REQUEST FORM Complete this form to request a group service project:


WE WILL WORK TOGETHER We may not be able to accommodate all group service requests, and not all project options are available at all parks. We will work with you to figure out the best options!

LARGER GROUPS Groups of 40 or more should reach out at least 6-weeks in advance to coordinate.

YOUTH VOLUNTEERS Groups with volunteers under 14 years of age require the parent or guardian of each youth volunteer be present.














VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT BOERNER · Community members who wish to volunteer at Boerner Botanical Gardens (BBG) are welcome and needed. · Some volunteer opportunities are year-round. organization that supports Boerner he Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens, Inc. (FBBG)

since 1984

· This is an FBBG community initiative begun in 2010, and the first such program for Boerner. · This initiative engages community members & corporate teams who provide needed assistance, in-garden to · Volunteer hours are available weekdays and weekends.

· Volunteers assist with our year-round student and adult education programs, garden walks/guided tours and special events. · Volunteers hours can be during day and/or evening hours, depending on class/event.



Established in 1974, Wehr Nature Center is a 220acre nature preserve located in the southwest corner of Milwaukee County in Whitnall Park. Over five miles of nature trails take visitors through woodland, wetland, prairie, and oak savanna. The Visitor Center hosts year-round, naturethemed educational programming to over 100,000 visitors. The Center houses a collection of live amphibian and reptile education animals as well as numerous nature exhibits and a Nature Gift Store. Just outside the Visitor Center are labeled discovery gardens featuring prairie, woodland and other plant varieties; a natural play space for kids; an accessible boardwalk trail; and an accessible deck on Mallard Lake. Volunteers have always played an integral part of accomplishing Wehr’s mission working side-byside with staff to “inspire current and future generations to explore and value the natural world.” Volunteers have always allowed Wehr to build its capacity to reach this goal. Volunteers are a crucial part of our workforce. Volunteer opportunities are utilized in such a way that they are mutually beneficial to both the Center and the participants. Personal growth among volunteers is fostered by providing skilled supervision, training, and opportunities to learn new skills.

· Help with annual special events like Cider Sunday, Halloween Haunts, Maple Sugar Days, and Mother’s Day Native Plant Sale · Be a nature teacher working with school field trips and in-school programs ·

with the Wheel ‘n Chip Society

· Track nature happenings with the Phenology Group · Remove invasive species · Prepare program materials · Feed and care for Wehr’s education animals with Critter Care · Help with office work · Get involved with the Friends of Wehr · Work on special service projects created to match volunteer requirements and the Nature Center needs · Much more! Opportunities range from annual events to ongoing tasks that happen weekly or monthly. Check out the online Opportunity Directory for complete descriptions HERE

HOW DO I BECOME A WEHR VOLUNTEER? It’s easy! The first step to becoming a volunteer (individual or group leader) is to complete an online application here or connect with Mary Gaub at mary.gaub@wisc.edu to make an appointment.



The Friends of the Domes (FOD), established in 1989, is a private non profit 501(C)3 support group for the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Over the years the FOD has provided critical support for maintaining and expanding the 3.2 million dollar plant collection at the Domes, as well as for the many animals living in each dome. The Friends have funded significant facility and grounds improvements, provide funding for the changing floral shows in the Show Dome, and operate the Domes Gift Shop. As of 2019, the FOD now facilitates all Domes education programming for families, adults, schools and scouts both inside the Domes and soon to be brought outside into Mitchell Park! Our annual fundraising events listed below bring in significant revenue to help fund these efforts and are dependent on volunteer help to make them happen.





New Year’s Eve Family Celebration

Education Center Leader

Park Stewardship and Cleanups


Field Trip Volunteer

Outdoor Gardening

Information Booth

Stations Adult and Family Workshops Sharp Literacy Workshops



HELP REPRESENT THE PARKS! Do you want to help represent Milwaukee County Parks and share our message? Would you be interested in sharing information about projects underway or gathering feedback from the community? New in 2021, we are looking for a few dedicated volunteers to assist with our community outreach e Community outreach volunteers must be able to commit to at least 1 weekend day (usually a Saturday) each month from May October, have reliable transportation, and be interested in connecting with diverse communities in Milwaukee County.

If you are interested, please send your resume and a reason statement to: parkspartnershipsmilwaukeecountywi.gov

The We Care Crew formed out of a need to respond to the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. The coalition brings together dozens of local government agencies and nonprofit organizations to bring important resources to communities who need them the most. In 2020, we hosted 8 bike drives to provide alternative activities for the summer and delivered 5,000 resource bags and over 15,000 masks to Communities of Color and COVID 19. If you would like to get involved, keep an eye on the We Care Crew website for 2021 resourcing events: wecarecrewmke.com


At Milwaukee County Parks we are limited in our ability to supervise community service hours. We do not track community service hours for you. If you would like to complete your service hours with Parks, we recommend you: Reach out to us directly at parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov to discuss your specific community service requirements. Participate in existing volunteer program , such as Brew Hero or Weed OutÂŽ, to complete your hours. Use text messaging to communicate service hours and progress with the Parks Volunteer Coordinator (requires a cell phone with text messaging). At the end of your service, it is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that any required paperwork is submitted to the Parks Volunteer Coordinator for completion.



AT MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARKS, WE ARE GRATEFUL Friends Groups are integral to the success of a thriving Milwaukee County Parks system. While Friends Groups Park, trail, or other amenity. Some groups improve their parks by volunteering to help maintain the Park on a regular basis while others might conduct targeted fundraising campaigns to finish a specific project. Many groups also conduct signature events and programming to engage the community, bring new volunteers to Park and its amenities by bringing the community together to have their collective voices heard. One way to describe Friends Groups is as the “eyes, ears, and hands� of a park.

Being part of a Friends Groups is a great way to connect with neighbors, build community, all while improving our Parks. If joining a Friends Group sounds like a good fit for you, you can view the list of groups, or you can learn more about Friends Groups, including how to get started, by checking out our Friends Group Field Guide


about starting a new Friends Group, and for other ways to get involved, contact our partners at The Park People. https://parkpeoplemke.org 414-273-7275 director@parkpeoplemke.org



WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS! We wish we could do more to share our thanks and gratitude. We plan to host new volunteer recognition events and hope to bring on more community partners to help support our growing volunteer programs. Some of our partners, such as Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens, Friends of the Domes, Friends of Wehr Nature Center, The Park People, also host and Milwaukee Parks Foundation their own volunteer recognition events.

❒ Share your photos on Instagram using #loveyourparksmke and @mkecountypark . We might share your photo or give you a shout out!

❒ Share your story with us: loveyourparksmke.com. Share why you love your parks and why volunteering is important to you! You can write your story or make a video, and we will share it with our online community.

❒ Stickers and social time! We try to give out what swag we can, and we hope our volunteers enjoy the camaraderie - in person or virtual - of our many volunteer programs.





Do you love trees? To help plant trees, we have introduced our Community Tree Program. Donations must be submitted by April for fall plantings. Space is limited: Learn more online.

WHY DO YOU LOVE YOUR PARKS? Submit your story to: loveyourparksmke.com/#VideoAsk



Send your finished collages to parkspartnerships@milwaukeeountywi.gov. Or post on social media @mkecountypark and #loveyourparksmke. 32



IMPORTANT CONTACTS, FORMS, AND RESOURCES IMPORTANT PARKS CONTACTS • Engagement Manager: Lindsay.Frost@milwaukeecountywi.gov • Parks Volunteer Programs (general): parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov • Parks Community Science Programs: parkscomsci@milwaukeecountywi.gov • Parks Trail Programs: parkstrails@milwaukeecountywi.gov • Wehr Nature Center: mary.gaub@wisc.edu • Boerner Botanical Gardens: Shirley.Walczak@milwaukeecountywi.gov • Mitchell Domes: Doris.Maki@milwaukeecountywi.gov

IMPORTANT VOLUNTEER PARTNERS • The Park People: director@parkpeoplemke.org • Weed Out ®: https://parkpeoplemke.org/contact 2/ • Friends Groups: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Make a Difference/Friends • Milwaukee Parks Foundation: https://www.mkeparksfoundation.org/contact • Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful : https:// www.kgmb.org/bigcleanmke/ • Milwaukee Riverkeeper: https://www.milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/connect/volunteersign up/ • Friends of Wehr Nature Center: mary.gaub@wisc.edu • Friends of the Domes: carriekelroy.fod@milwaukeedomes.org • Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens: dkoepsel@fbbg.org


IMPORTANT VOLUNTEER FORMS AND RESOURCES • Milwaukee County Parks Volunteer Agreement: MilwaukeeCountyParksVolunteerAgreement • Volunteer at Boerner Botanical Gardens: VolunteerOpportunities • Volunteer at the Domes: Volunteer at the domes • Volunteer at Wehr Nature Center: Volunteer Host a Group Trash Clean up: CleanUpRegistrationForm • Host a Group Service Day (non trash clean up): GroupServiceDayRequest • Become a Brew Hero - our signature micro volunteering program! BrewHeroRegistration • Volunteer Interest Form - Not sure where to get started? That’s okay! Complete our interest form, and we will alert you to opportunities that align with your interests! IndividualVolunteerSignUpForm • Milwaukee County Volunteer Handbook: VolunteerHandbookAcknowledgement.pdf

OTHER PARKS FORMS • Report an Issue See an issue at a Park? Please submit an Issues Report Form online: IssueReport • Special Events Request Form - Interested in hosting an event other than a volunteer project? You will need to submit a special events application: SpecialEventsRequestForm • Park Improvement Projects - Interested in implementing a project such as installing new requires the partner to submit a robust application, raise funding, and manage the implementation of the project. parkscomsci@milwaukeecountywi.gov



SPONSOR OUR VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS! Milwaukee County Parks is looking to expand our volunteer programs and grow the good our volunteers can do across the Parks System! Currently seeking in kind and financial donations to support our volunteer programs. Here are some goals we’d like to achieve:

❒ Co-host volunteer workdays with Parks or Friends Groups and provide food, beverages, or other support for volunteers.

❒ Stock volunteer supply kits specific to different project needs so volunteers across the Parks system have the tools they need (examples: trail crew supply kits, gardening supply kits, trash clean up kits, and more!)

❒ Host annual volunteer recognition events ❒ Provide volunteers with branded t shirts, badges, and other rewards

❒ Purchase and outfit a custom volunteer mobile so we can easily store and move all the supplies we need throughout our parks system!

sponsorship packages. Please reach out to our Engagement Manager at Lindsay.frost@milwaukeecountywi.gov Or 414-897-2188 to connect about sponsorship options!

Are you a scout looking to do a project in a Learn more about options available for scout Projects! REFORESTATION PROJECTS WILDLIFE HOUSES & BIRDHOUSES Contact our Natural AreasT eam at: parkscomsci@milwaukeecountywi.gov

LEOPOLD BENCHES TRAIL PUNCHEONS or TRAIL REPAIRS Contact our Trails Team at: parkstrails@milwaukeecountywi.gov *Some trail projects may require additional approval including stamped design plans.

OTHER SCOUT PROJECTS All other projects must be approved through our Park Improvement Project review process. You can learn more on-line HERE. Milwaukee County Parks may not be able to host all Scout projects. Some projects also require significant planning, funding, and internal approvals. It is the responsibility of the Scout to plan accordingly. If approved, Scouts must cover all expenses related to implementation of their projects and must follow project scopes and standards provided by Parks staff. All Scouts completing projects must also be registered as volunteers of Milwaukee County Parks. For information about group projects, Scouts can refer to Group Service Days (page 17). Contact: parkspartnerships@milwaukeecountywi.gov


In accordance with the Milwaukee County “Use of Volunteers� Administrative Manual of Operating Procedures (Procedure # 05.06), unpaid interns are placed as volunteers and must adhere to volunteer policies outlined in this handbook. Paid student interns are not volunteers.

PAID STUDENT INTERN - A paid student intern is a student whose services are designed to provide work experience related to his or her major field of study at the direction of the of the County. A paid student intern is placed in a program in cooperation with an educational institution and receives compensation for the internship. Paid student intern processes are covered in the Unclassified Workforce policy of the Department of Human Resources. UNPAID STUDENT INTERN