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Providing a higher level of care for our Olmsted Parks

We restore, enhance and protect natural areas in the Olmsted Park System through our work in ecological restoration, woodlands management and horticulture. Our skilled technicians monitor and assess park environments to build data-driven enhancement strategies carried out by the Team for Healthy Parks, Park Stewards and volunteers.

Working each day for healthy and vibrant Olmsted Parks

In 2006, we launched a Woodlands Campaign in an effort to fund a crew to remove invasive species from Cherokee and Seneca Parks. The 1974 tornado removed 80% of the hardwood tree canopy and the newly opened forest floor was a magnet for invasive species, primarily bush honeysuckle planted by the Federal Highway department along I-64 and other highways.

Since that time, the Team for Healthy Parks has become an integral part of our work. They plant and manage the beautiful prairies and meadows that support our pollinators and birds. They design, plant, and maintain formally landscaped areas in all our parks. They take care of our natural trails in Iroquois, Cherokee, and Seneca Parks. They help clear the river view shed in Chickasaw Park. They oversee the planting and care of trees planted in all our parks. They monitor our parks for invasive plant species and track indicator species, like salamanders. The Team for Healthy Parks uses a data-driven scientific approach in this work, and they are our park experts.

Park Stewards are specially trained volunteers who support the work of our Team for Healthy Parks. Email for information on training sessions.

Olmsted Parks Conservancy partners with a number of universities and researchers to understand more about our parks, the species that call them home, and how people and the environment are connected.

We have worked with Kentucky State University to compare urban prairie management options and understand the impact of each treatment. We’ve worked with the University of Louisville on a variety of projects ranging from salamander studies to greenhouse gas modeling in ponds. In 2022, we joined the Natural Areas Conservancy’s Forests in Cities partnership to share data and lessons about invasive plant management, urban forestry, and community engagement.

Beyond using our parks as living laboratories, we also have staff teaching at University of Louisville and Bellarmine University. We engage in classroom visits, tours, and lead hands-on projects for students.

Park Stewards leverage and expand the work we are able to do in our parks

Trained Park Stewards are critical in keeping our Olmsted Parks maintained at a higher level. They support our Team for Healthy Parks in removing invasive species, planting trees, monitoring our woodlands, and even work on small construction projects. They are trained, have ownership over their work, and autonomy. They allow us to do so much more than we could on our own.

Land Acknowledgement

Olmsted Parks Conservancy recognizes Native American and Indigenous peoples as the longest serving stewards of the land.

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