TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – The Toledo Metroparks system is searching for volunteers to help keep parks safe and clean.
The Volunteer Trail Patrol has been around since 2003, and consists of almost 230 volunteers, but they still need more people to commit to helping the nine parks in the Toledo area.
"These areas are extensive and we couldn't have a ranger out there all the time," said Lori Miller, coordinator of volunteer services.
Volunteers provide extra sets of eyes on the trails of Toledo Metroparks. They go through CPR, naturalist and "core" training. They patrol 50 hours in an assigned park their first year, then a park of their choosing any year after that.
"They just do a phenomenal job, they're ambassadors for Metroparks," Miller said. "They're trained on how to interact and give positive feedback…They are not rangers, but they help the rangers [and] the maintenance staff."
Volunteers are also there to provide guidance to visitors, as well as education and an extra sense of security.
The Volunteer Trail Patrol has had such a positive impact on park-goers that many of them are answering the call to volunteer themselves.
"I walk and ride the trail a lot, and I've always wondered about these guys that are out there volunteering," said Margie Kanary. "I think it makes people feel comfortable when you have somebody out there patrolling…I think helping out there while I'm getting my exercise would be a lot of fun."
There are two more informational meetings scheduled for those interested in volunteering:
- Sunday, January 13 at 3 p.m. at Pearson, Packer-Hammersmith Center
- Monday, January 14 at 7 p.m. at Oak Openings, Lodge
The meetings will provide the opportunity to learn about volunteering and fill out an application. Training takes place in March and April.