"A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit."  -Greek Proverb


 Lincoln Parks & Recreation has many volunteer opportunities: coaching youth, special events, parks and trail clean ups, and landscape maintenance. Choose from activities for individuals, organizations and businesses, as well as one-day events or monthly VIP (Volunteers In Parks) activities. Find out more about volunteering by emailing parksvolunteers@lincoln.ne.gov.

Typically Parks and Recreation department has approximately 2,500 volunteers putting in a approximately 25,000 hours of service every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the value of one volunteer hour is $25.43. This equates to over $500,000 of savings for the Department’s annual operating budget. 

Parks and Recreation volunteers not only impact our bottom line by providing important services, they get a great sense of community pride for supporting Lincoln’s greatest resource—our City Parks and Recreation system.

We ask that all volunteers complete an volunteer application and other appropriate forms, which helps us track your hours, skills and interests. If you are part of a group, only one leader will need to complete an application on behalf of the organization.

Thank you for donating your time to help Lincoln Parks and Recreation!

Volunteer Application & Waiver

Adopt a Park/Trail Application

Adopt-A-Park and Adopt-A-Trail Guidelines(PDF, 675KB)



Group Volunteer Projects 

Staff from Union Bank & Trust helped plant hundreds of trees in our parks.

Are you a part of a larger group that wants to volunteer? Great! 

Our team works with yours to get some work done in Lincoln's parks, trails, and recreational areas. Larger projects like this take some time to organize so make sure to plan ahead! 

Group Leader Application

Group Volunteer Waiver and Registration(PDF, 187KB)


Parks & Trails Opportunities

Friends clean up their adopted trail.

Location: Parks & Trails in Lincoln.

Contact Phone: 402-441-7847
Contact email: parksvolunteers@lincoln.ne.gov
More Information on Parks Trails

Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail

Pick up litter in  pre-determined park or along an entire trail section for 1-2 hours per week. Perfect for groups, businesses, neighborhood associations, individuals or families. On-site recognition provided. 

Adopt a Park/Trail Application

Landscape Maintenance

Perfect for neighborhood association groups, families, organizations or corporations who wish to provide tender loving care to landscape plantings throughout Lincoln. You will receive training on landscape maintenance, then work 1-2 hours a week throughout the growing season. On-site recognition provided.

Hyde Observatory

New volunteers are scheduled with an experienced partner as their guide through the night sky. No one knows it all, and one can hear a request for assistance from as many experienced volunteers as new ones. It is all part of the fun.

Hyde Observatory

Other Opportunities

If you are interested in other opportunities not listed here, please fill out the Volunteer form and return it to Lincoln Parks and Recreation at 3131 "O" Street, Suite 300 and we will be in touch with you. 


Recreation Center Opportunities

More Information on the Recreation Centers

Community Service 

Our recreation centers depend heavily on volunteers. Most centers accept volunteers for the following areas: hobby and special interests, homework assistance, food security, facility care, program support and special events

Therapeutic Programs, Recreation for People with Special Needs: Assist individuals so they may actively engage in the activities. Your support and encouragement will help them improve their physical, cognitive and social skills through recreation, play and activities. Year-round opportunity at various locations.

Special Olympics  LPR-EDAY-fb.jpg
Lincoln Parks and Recreation’s Lincoln Shooting Stars Special Olympics team practices for competitions in basketball, bocce, bowling, golf, flag football, roller skating, swimming, track & field, and volleyball. We also offer the Young Athletes program for ages 2-7. Coaches, assistants, peer helpers, scrimmage players, time keepers, and general supervision. Year-round opportunity at various locations. Volunteers are needed for coach assistants, Unified Partners, practice assistants and general supervision. Year-round opportunities at various locations. 


Public Pools Opportunities

Locations: Various pools in the city.
Contact Phone: 402-441-7960
Contact email: parks@lincoln.ne.gov
More Information on Pools

Swim and Dive Teams: Assist the swim or dive team coach with practice, run drills, develop skills, supervise practice. Seven-week, Monday through Friday, summer program at most public pool locations.
Swim or Dive Meets : If you can carry paper, write, staple, time, or sort, we have a volunteer opportunity for you at one of our eight weekly or two All-City meets each summer. Swim meets Saturday mornings or Wednesday evening; dive meets Thursday evenings. 

Team Sports Volunteer Opportunities

Locations: Various parks and recreation centers
Contact Phone: 402-441-7892
Contact email: athletics@lincoln.ne.gov
More Information on Team Sports


Volunteer coaches are vital to the success of our youth sports programs. Coaching a youth team usually requires only an eight-week commitment. Practices normally begin two weeks prior to the start of games and then a six-week season. Coaching opportunities are available for:

NFL Flag Football: Grades K-6. Games are played on week night evenings in early fall and late spring. Practices are scheduled by the coach.
Youth Basketball : Grades: 1-8. Games are played on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings in the winter. The team sports staff work with coaches to arrange a convenient practice time and location.

Public Gardens Opportunities


Contact Phone: 402-441-8267(402) 326-9045
Contact email: Cynthia L. Poehling at cpoehling@lincoln.ne.gov

Garden Gab at Sunken Gardens

These are weekly "Learn and Do" sessions with the Public Gardens staff which cover different weekly topics on the growing culture of plants used in our gardens from May through October. Following the sessions, the newly learned skills are then put to use at Sunken Gardens, Hamann Rose Garden and the Rotary Strolling Garden. Those attending are encouraged to wear proper garden clothing which should include gloves, knee pads and other personal safety equipment. All garden tools are provided. 

Garden Docents

Volunteers are needed to provide information and lead guided tour groups through Sunken Gardens, Hamann Rose Garden and Rotary Strolling Garden typically June through October. Docent training is available.  

Wake up the Beds

Wake Up the Beds is an annual event that invites the public to help install annual plants in the Sunken Gardens. This event takes place in Mid - May after the last frost free date. This is appropriate for both individuals and groups. Volunteers are asked to bring a trowel, gloves and clothing appropriate for gardening. This event is limited to the first 60 volunteers who call. 

Put the Beds to Bed

Put the Beds to Bed is an annual event that invites the public to participate in preparing the Sunken Garden annual flower beds for six [6] long winter months. The turning of soil and compost materials typically occurs the first Saturday of November. After last seasons annual plants have been removed, volunteers will hand spade the soil and apply a fresh layer of compost.

Hamann Rose Garden Spring Clean-Up

 Volunteers are encouraged to participate in “Learn and Do” rose garden spring maintenance program in April. Rose Garden Demonstrations will include: 

  • Proper spring pruning of Hybrid Tea Rose and Miniature Rose bushes. 
  • Rose Garden maintenance techniques are discussed and shown for season long care. 
  • Tools of the trade and their maintenance techniques. 


Community Service

Volunteers help pick up debris in our parks.

Location: Administrative Office
Contact Phone: 402-441-7847
Contact email: parksvolunteers@lincoln.ne.gov
Volunteer opportunities are available at Recreation CentersPioneers Park Nature Center, and Parks for individuals, groups, businesses and organizations looking to fulfil community service requirements for:

  • Class Requirement
  • Diversion Service
  • Scouts

Events Volunteer Opportunities

Recreation Centers Help make our events even more special with your volunteer service. Carnivals, Halloween, festivals and large group activities all may benefit from your help. Occasional need at various locations.
Pioneers Park Nature Center  sponsors several special events. These could not be presented without volunteer help. They give volunteers an opportunity to give assistance with a one-time-only commitment. Need is greatest for festivals in spring and fall. For more information, call, 402-441-7895

Uncle Sam Jam 
(City of Lincoln’s annual Independence Day celebration)
An all-day free event at Oak Lake Park, the celebration features a live performance by Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, choreographed to fireworks. Volunteers are needed to park cars, pickup litter and for crowd control.
For more information, 402-441-7847.

Office Volunteer Opportunities

Location: Administrative Office
Contact Phone: 402-441-7847
Contact email: parksvolunteers@lincoln.ne.gov

  • Data entry
  • Other clerical work
  • Maintaining archive information


Forms and FAQ's

 Online forms to fill out now

Download and send it in

Please fill out all forms and return to specific location of interest or: 
Mail or in person: 3131 "O" Street, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68510 
E-mail: parksvolunteers@lincoln.ne.gov