Support Organizations & Links

Gainesville’s nature parks are operated by the Nature Operations Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. We are assisted in our work of caring for the parks by the following groups:

Friends of Nature Parks

The Friends of Nature Parks are the original not-for-profit support organization which provides volunteers, supplemental funding, and advocacy for matters of concern to the nature parks. The Friends sponsors or cosponsors fund-raising events including the Fall and Spring Native Plant sales, the Youth Fiddle & Open String~Band Contest at the Cane Boil, and the Farm and Forest Festival.

The Friends Board meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Thomas Center "A", the Mary Prosen Conference Room, Room 204, located at 302 NE 6th Ave. in Gainesville. All members are welcome.

There is also an annual general membership meeting which features a potluck dinner and a guest speaker as well as updates on FoNP activities.

To join the Friends of Nature Parks download and fill out the registration form with your dues check payable to Friends of Nature Parks Nature Park and mail to Morningside Nature Center, 3540 East University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32641-6067.

Membership benefits include a subscription to The Longleaf Pine (an e-newsletter published by FoNP), discounts or free admission at events and programs, and knowing you are helping support environmental education and Gainesville's nature parks! Join today! 

The Nature Centers Commission

The Nature Centers Commission (NCC) is a volunteer citizen’s advisory board whose members are appointed by the City Commission to assist it in administering the nature parks. The NCC frequently has vacancies and may be looking for new members. NCC meets every 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the Thomas Center "A", the Mary Prosen Conference Room, Room 204, located at 302 NE 6th Ave. in Gainesville. Interested citizens may apply by submitting a form available on-line from the Clerk of the Commission.  Terms are for three (3) years but commitments are as long as someone wants to remain on the Board.   Board members must re-apply and be re-appointed by the City Commission every three (3) years in order to remain on the board.

Seeking nominations for the annual Star Awards

The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with the Nature Centers Commission (NCC) is seeking nominations for the Star Awards for citizens who have made outstanding efforts to promote environmental awareness in 2019.

Nominations must be received before October 31, 2019 for service provided between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 in the categories of Star Volunteer, Star Good Neighbor and Star Green Business. It's easy to nominate; however, self-nominations are not accepted.

Learn more

Online nomination form

Download fillable/printable nomination form

The awards presentations will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, 2020 with the reading of the proclamations by Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe in the City Commission auditorium, which is located at City Hall, 200 E. University Ave., followed by a reception at the Historic Thomas Center Building A, Spanish Court at 302 NE Sixth Ave.

Meeting Minutes

Click here to review bylaws that provide additional information about the Nature Centers Commission.