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Friends of Metro Parks

Discover Your Parks | Outside Is In | Advocacy Issues
Ohio Legislators | Federal Legislators
Save the Gorge!

Friends of Metro Parks is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the park district in many ways, including educating visitors about important issues and connecting residents of Summit County with the rich resources of our Metro Parks. Membership dues allow Friends to support the mission and programs of the park district.

Benefits of membership:

  • Membership is tax deductible
  • Access to members-only events
  • 10% discount on all purchases at the Nature Realm gift shop
  • Free mailings of the Metro Parks publications

YOU can help preserve and promote the parks you enjoy by becoming a Friend. Membership is good for one year.

  • $15 Individual
  • $25 Family
  • $50 Sponsor
  • $55 Organization
  • $100 Benefactor
  • $250 Corporate

DOWNLOAD A MEMBERSHIP FORM and mail it in with your check.

For more information: 330-865-1027, info@friendsofmetroparks.org.

Discover Your Parks - NEW BENEFIT
Become a member of Friends of Metro Parks and "Discover Your Parks!" Get behind the scenes in your park system to experience activities and programs led by talented and knowledgeable Metro Parks staff.

Participate in "Discover Your Parks" events at no charge based on your membership level. (Current members are eligible for upgrades.)

  • At the Family level ($25), choose ONE program per year
  • At the Sponsor level ($50), choose THREE programs per year
  • At the Benefactor level ($100), choose FIVE programs per year

Your year begins the date you join or renew. The benefit applies to your family (spouse/partner and children), as listed in your membership. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.


Date and time in March-April TBD (weather dependent)
Join park biologists as they perform a prescribed burn. The practice is thousands of years old and was used by Native Americans to manage for food and wildlife. Today, park biologists use it to manage for native plant communities and the species that inhabit them. Meet with resource managers and rangers to learn the basics of fire management. Then, from a safe distance, observe walls of fire advance along a prescribed path determined by the fire crews. Work boots required and NO SYNTHETIC CLOTHING allowed on the project site. Persons with respiratory problems should consult their doctors before attending. Because this is weather dependent, those wishing to participate will be put on a call list and will be given 24-48 hours' notice of the program date. It will take place during the week at 11 a.m. at Springfield Bog Metro Park. Registration spaces for 10. Please email info@friendsofmetroparks.org or call 330-865-1027 and include your name, the name of family members joining you, your email address and phone number.

May 3, 2014, 8 a.m. (cancelled only with severe weather)
Join a naturalist and natural resource management staff for a morning of fishing and fun at Brushwood Pavilion in Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield. Bring your own breakfast if you would like. Friends of Metro Parks will provide coffee. We will hit the lake by 8:30 a.m. and wrap up by 10:30 a.m. Brushwood Lake will be specially stocked with bluegill, channel catfish, and maybe a few trout for this family-fun event. Some poles and bait will be provided. Let us know if you are bringing your own pole. Those 16 years of age and older will need a fishing license to participate. (Yearlong and one-day fishing licenses are available through ohiodnr.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.) Registration spaces for 50.

Eventbrite - Private Fishing Event

June 12, 5 - 8 p.m. (Rain Date: June 19)
Learn how to fly fish or show off your already honed skills. Instruction provided by Metro Parks staff with assistance by volunteers. Meet at Brushwood Pavilion in Richfield. Registration spaces for 30.

Eventbrite - Fly fishing

If you would prefer, you can email info@friendsofmetroparks.org or call 330-865-1027 to register for these events. Please include your name email address, phone number and number attending from your family.

You will receive an email one week prior to the event with directions and pertinent information. (Directions to the location are also available through the Eventbrite links.) 

Outside Is In
Computers. Video games. A lack of funding for school field trips. Parents who are unwilling to let their kids explore the outdoors unsupervised. This is just a partial list of the reasons children are not making a personal connection with nature.

Outside Is In is a partnership between Friends of Metro Parks, Akron Public Schools, YMCA Camp Y-Noah and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. Its purpose is to connect sixth-grade students with nature through meaningful activities in the outdoors during a 24-hour period.

One day after school, students arrive at Camp Y-Noah, where they check into cabins, enjoy a hot meal and sing camp songs. At night they participate in programs, hike and sit by the campfire with skits and s'mores. The next morning they eat breakfast and head to Firestone Metro Park, where they create nature art, go fishing at Little Turtle Pond, go on a nature hike and play nature games that encourage team building. Metro Parks naturalists and volunteers lead the activities and camp counselors and teachers assist with supervision.

The program began as a pilot in 2009 with 40 students. In 2012, almost 650 students participated and we are planning to serve up to 700 students in the spring of 2013.

The program is funded by Friends of Metro Parks. Generous support has been provided in the past by the Akron Community Foundation, Dominion Resources, the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, the Sisler McFawn Foundation, the Welty Family Foundation, the Betty V. and John M. Jacobson Foundation, ICF Foundation, the Joseph G. and Sally A. Miller Family Foundation, the Jean Thomas Lambert Foundation, the Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation, OMNOVA Solutions Foundation, the R.C. and Katherine M. Musson Charitable Foundation, the W. Paul Mills and Thora J. Mills Memorial Foundation, the Lloyd L. & Louise K. Smith Foundation, Wild4Ever, the Curtis Foundation, the Edward J. Thomas Foundation, and the Harvey and Patricia Graves Foundation.

Advocacy Issues
It is in the best interest of Friends to stay informed about the issues that affect our Metro Parks, including:

Clean Ohio Fund: The General Assembly fully funded the Clean Ohio Fund this year, approving $52 million in spending in the state operating budget. This clears the way for the Kasich administration to sell bonds. Once those $52 million in bonds are spent, the General Assembly could direct the administration to sell more bonds, because of the way Clean Ohio is structured. But for now, we're in good shape!

Deer Management: Metro Parks is charged with managing natural resources, and a balance must be maintained between a healthy deer population and a healthy ecosystem. Friends of Metro Parks fully supports the park district's deer-density reduction plan, which has received approval from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and similar methods have proven successful in other parks throughout Ohio and the United States. All harvested animals are processed and given to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank. MORE

Land & Water Conservation Fund: The Land & Water Conservation Fund should be funded, not raided. It is a bi-partisan issue, because every state in the country benefits from those funds. Congress can be encouraged to protect the programs in their districts and preserve their special places. LWCF was first authorized in 1965 and will be up for reauthorization in 2015. It has broad-based national support, but some who do not believe the government should own more land oppose it. It is important to speak up for protection of our special places and environmentally sensitive lands. These funds, in small amounts, are available to Metro Parks through ODNR grants.

Saving Ohio's Natural Preserves:Friends of Metro Parks encourages you to help save our state's Division of Natural Preserves by supporting the check-off on your state tax return. Past leaders of this division like Guy Denny and Robert Moseley are volunteering their time to save the DNAP, which no longer receives state funding. Please encourage your friends to promote the check-off, too.

Save the Gorge: A Fairlawn company that wanted to build a hydro plant in Gorge Metro Park scrapped its plans June 12, 2009. The project would have led to the construction of roads, the destruction of old growth forests, the loss of sensitive habitat for numerous rare and endangered species, poor water quality and the destruction of park views and aesthetics. MORE

Ohio Legislators

Senator Frank LaRose (R), District 27
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Senator Tom Sawyer (D), District 28
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, OH 43215
State Rep Anthony DeVitis (R), District 36
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
State Rep Zack Milkovich (D), District 35
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
State Rep Vernon Sykes (D), District 34
77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
State Rep Kristina Roegner (R), District 37
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
State Rep Marilyn Slaby (R), District 38
77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
ph:614-644-5085; 330-864-8477


Federal Legislators

The Honorable Marcia Fudge (D)
11th District
House of Representatives
2344 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
email through website
The Honorable Tim Ryan (D)
13th District
House of Representatives
1421 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website
The Honorable David P. Joyce (D)
14th District
House of Representatives
1535 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website
The Honorable Jim Renacci (R)
16th District
House of Representatives
130 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
email through website




Did You Know?

Gray Squirrels
Ah-ji-duh-mo is the Chippewa word for gray squirrel. It means "tail in the air."

Constant Chewer
Beavers have lips behind their teeth, so they can gnaw on trees underwater with their mouths shut.

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