Annual Programs

S.W.E.A.TB.I.R.D.Urban NaturalistPen Pals
In partnership with Warner Park Nature Center, Metro Parks, and others, Friends of Warner Parks provides funding for programs that have a profound impact on the lives of thousands in Middle Tennessee each year, each with something unique to offer.

SWEAT – Special Work, Education And Trails

Young adults trade sweat equity for environmental education in this summer work/learn/earn program. SWEAT members make improvements to the Warner Parks’ hiking trails, organic gardens, footbridges, landscaping, and facilities. In return, they gain valuable knowledge and team-building experience in organic gardening methods, trail maintenance techniques, use of landscaping tools, the natural history of native plants and animals, impact of invasive species, and natural area management. SWEAT is made possible through the generosity of Friends of Warner Parks members and donors, Bonnaroo Works Fund, Enterprise Solutions, the Memorial Foundation, the Louie M. and Betty M. Phillips Foundation, and REI. Click here to hear from one of our past SWEAT leaders.

Bird Information, Research And Data Program (B.I.R.D.)

The Nature Center is one of a few places in the country where observers can watch bird banding in action- and also participate! Bird research has been ongoing in Warner Parks since naturalist Amelia Laskey began her bluebird nesting box program in 1936. Today, Park staff and volunteers conduct extensive banding and bird counts and take part in Project FeederWatch, a survey of winter bird populations across North America conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Contact the Nature Center at 615.862-8555 to learn more about becoming involved in the B.I.R.D. program.

A very special thank you to the Barbara J. Mapp Foundation and the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation for their generosity and support of the B.I.R.D. Program. Thank you also to Susan O'Neill for her generous support of the renovation of the WPNC Library and new BIRD Education Center.

Urban Naturalist Program

This program is a new year-round initiative connecting urban youth ages 8-13 with the natural world through after-school nature clubs, our summer P.E.N. Pal Program, and new Urban Bird Camp, and includes the hiring of a part-time Urban Naturalist whose primary objective is to develop programs that: get urban youth outside and excited about the natural world and biodiversity; help urban youth develop a level of comfort being in the outdoors; promote a connection to and appreciation of nature and wildlife, and foster a feeling of responsibility in caring for and protecting the environment.

Public-Private Partnership at Play

The program was developed in response to the 2017 Metro Parks Master Plan goal to expand outdoor education and environmental education for youth, and the 2019 Warner Parks Priority Guide to bolster nature center staffing. From there, FOWP sets out to acquire funding to accomplish these goals, successfully, thanks to friends like you! 
Urban Naturalist and B.I.R.D. have since joined forces to offer Urban Bird Camp where youth develop bird identification skills, observe bird banding, and participate in ongoing national research.

People Exploring Nature (P.E.N.) Pals

For 31 years, the People Exploring Nature Program has partnered with Metro Parks, bringing economically disadvantaged youth to Warner Parks for a unique environmental educational experience: overnight camping in the park!

The program serves 150+ campers each year from twelve Metro community centers and is often the first outdoor overnight experience for students. Activities include river exploration, arts & crafts, nature hikes, ropes courses, campfire singing, wildlife programs, and so much more, instilling within each participant positive social skills, expansion of critical thinking, and deeper respect for the natural world.

P.E.N. Pals partners with the Harpeth River Conservancy, Metro Parks Outdoor Recreation Program, Hume Fogg Academic High School (50 volunteer students who have provided 450+ hours of service), and community centers across Davidson County.

Thank you to our generous program funders at Suntrust Foundation, The Joyce Family Foundation, and Piedmont Natural Gas.
Community Center Partners
Hartman Park
Old Hickory
Paradise Ridge