Great Parks takes great pride in connecting communities to nature.
This is accomplished through partnerships with like-minded organizations, by sharing similar visions with community leaders, being active within communities and by inviting the community into nature. Our sponsorships play a substantial role in providing special events, programs and park features for all park guests to enjoy. Many of these sponsorships have been strong for years, and they have made it possible for Great Parks to provide such great services.
Great Parks Advocates
Partnerships can evolve into something greater. These individuals have worked with Great Parks throughout our history where they’ve created lasting legacies in Hamilton County and beyond. Great Parks Advocates have championed for conservation of natural spaces and worked to protect wildlife,
John Ruthven (1924–2020)
A longtime cherished friend of Great Parks, John Ruthven was a Cincinnati artist, naturalist and author. Ruthven’s friendship with Great Parks began in 1973 during a levy campaign. The park district commissioned a watercolor painting of a chipmunk titled “The Future’s In Your Hands.”
Often called “the 20th Century Audubon,” Ruthven dedicated his life to preserving wildlife through art. His artwork has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and White House, as well as the Cincinnati Museum Center, and, of course, Great Parks of Hamilton County.
Great Parks honored Ruthven in March 2019 with the Conservation Award, recognizing his role as a leader in conservation in Cincinnati and thanking him for being a lifelong friend of the park district.
Charley Harper (1922–2007)
Cincinnati artist and conservationist, Charley Harper was a longtime friend of Great Parks and is best known for his stylized wildlife artwork. He self-described his style as “minimal realism,” where he used geometric shapes and clear lines to make the subject instantly recognizable.
Harper donated his original artwork “Space for all Species” to Great Parks in 1980 to commemorate the park district’s 50th anniversary. Harper was commissioned again in 1990, where he created his original piece “And One To Grow On” to celebrate Great Parks’ 60th anniversary. His artwork has been featured by the National Park Service, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Nature Center and Great Parks of Hamilton County.
Harper Meadows Picnic Area in Winton Woods is named in his honor.
Murray Seasongood (1878–1983)
As mayor of Cincinnati from 1926–1929, after a visit to the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, Murray Seasongood championed for a county park district during his time in office. On March 6, 1929, City Council passed the resolution; and in July 1930, the first Board of Park Commissioners was appointed. Thanks to Mr. Seasongood’s valiant efforts, the Hamilton County Regional Park district was established, and is now Great Parks of Hamilton County.
Seasongood Nature Center in Woodland Mound opened in May 1990 and is named in honor of Murray and his wife Agnes Seasongood.
A special thank-you to the organizations that continue to partner with Great Parks year after year and help us make nature inviting to/for everyone.