Philly Forest Stewards

Skilled volunteers are needed to keep Philly's natural areas
clean, green, and thriving. 

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation manages more 5,600 acres of natural lands, including lush forests, meadows and wetlands. Philly Forest Stewards are our newest & most skilled volunteer force, helping to care for these beloved public spaces. 

Working closely with Parks & Rec staff, these long-term volunteers adopt a section of Philly's natural lands. Forest Stewards work year-round to control invasive plants, care for young trees, monitor restoration sites, remove litter, and help preserve Philly's much-needed natural lands.

Learn more about Philly Forest Steward and how to apply in our FAQ below!


Philly Forest Stewards FAQ

Can I apply to be a Philly Forest Steward?

Yes! At this time, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is accepting a limited number of Forest Stewards. However, anyone 18 and older can apply to become a Phily Forest Steward.

Ideal candidates will:

  • have prior education or experience in natural lands stewardship. Examples include (but aren't limited to) successful completion of Master Watershed Steward, Master Naturalist, or similar training programs; or regular participation in Second Saturdays
  • have a strong interest in supporting Philadelphia's natural lands and sustainability goals 
  • enjoy working independently, outdoors, in all seasons
  • be able to commit to adopting your area for (at least) a full year

What are the benefits of becoming a Philly Forest Steward?

By becoming a Forest Steward, you'll:

  • learn more about our local plants and ecology
  • develop & broaden your skills in land management. Forest Stewards receive special access to stewardship trainings & projects.
  • connecte with the the trails and hidden features of your park
  • know you're helping to preserve Philly's much-needed natural lands

What are the expectations of Philly Forest Stewards?

Though priorites vary at each project site, Forest Stewards typically help control target invasive species, care for young trees & shrubs, monitor restoration areas, and keep sites free of litter. 

All Forest Stewards must agree to: 

  • Participate in the program for a minimum of one year
  • Volunteer at least 12 times annually
  • Adhere to tasks & priorities specified by Parks & Rec staff
  • Sumbit a regular report of activities
  • And treat all other volunteers and park users with courtesy and respect


Where do Philly Forest Stewards work?

Each Forest Steward adopts a specific section of Philly's natural lands. We now have Forest Stewards caring for sites all over the city, from the lakes of FDR, to the woods of the Wissahickon, and many green spaces in between. 

Interested applicants should check out our project map for priority sites in need of volunteers. Or let us know if you already have an area in mind.

Okay, I applied! What happens next?

Parks & Rec Staff will review your application. If accepted,

  • you'll be contacted to schedule an initial site visit with a Parks & Rec Stewardship Coordinator. 
  • Together, we'll identify goals & strategies to best care for your adopted area.
  • You'll receive guidance on appropriate stewardship techniques, and be equipped with the necessary tools to complete your tasks
  • Then, you're all set to start working in your adopted area!

Are there other ways to get involved?

You bet! Join us on on the Second Saturday of every month for open volunteer projects, aimed at preserving Philadelphia's natural lands. Second Saturday workdays rotate to a different park every month, and offer hands-on experience in ecological restoration.

Or visit our events page for more opportunities to connect with natural lands restoration projects across the city.


Are you ready to become a Forest Steward?

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"It is fulfilling to contribute to the betterment of our urban forests... Forests provide countless benefits and ultimately make people happy.” -Philly Forest Steward volunteer