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.
Learn More about Winter SWEAT '21

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

The B.I.R.D. Program at Warner Park Nature Center is a unique combination of bird research and public education. Park visitors can watch bird banding in action, participate in bird hikes, and engage in citizen science! Warner Parks has a long history of bird research beginning in the 1920s with Tennessee Ornithological Society bird surveys, Amelia Laskey’s Eastern Bluebird nest box research, and our Warner Park Bird Banding Station - ongoing since 1982.

Today, the BIRD program’s 16 research focal points include projects such as fall and spring migration banding, summer MAPS research, Eastern Bluebird Nest Box Project, Hummingbird Migration,Breeding Bird Survey, Purple Martins, Barn Swallows, Motus and participation in eBird, iNaturalist, Project FeederWatch, Bird Geoscape, and more.

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, and to Ben and Tara Armistead for their generosity in establishing the Sandy Bivens Bird Garden.

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.

A very special thank you to the Hays Foundation for their generosity and support of the Urban Naturalist Program.

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