More than 80% of Great Parks’ 17,000 acres of land are managed as natural areas to preserve bio-diversity and promote wildlife diversity. Preserving wetlands, forests and streams provide benefits to the entire community, including improvements to air and water quality.
To expand existing efforts and increase community involvement, Great Parks created the Stew Crew. This group of long-term volunteers assists the Natural Resources division (formerly called the Stewardship Department) with conservation initiatives such as removing invasive plants, planting trees and aiding with wildlife management projects. To sign up for the Stew Crew, email us
Great Parks also practices "mindful mowing" of the parks' public areas. Reducing the amount of mowing reduces associated fuel and labor costs, which can be directed towards more detailed care of our many recreational facilities and outdoor education areas. These more natural areas also serve as woodland, meadow and grassland habitats for local wildlife.
Great Parks is a proud leader of the regional Taking Root reforestation campaign. The initiative was created in response to the ongoing threat on our region’s trees created by hostile bugs, invasive plants and destructive fungus. By planting trees, we can reduce the threat and help grow a healthy and diverse tree environment. Great Parks pledged to plant 60,000 trees by 2016 as part of the overall goal of two million for the region by 2020. On October 22, 2016, Great Parks exceeded that goal by planting its 100,000th tree.