Yellow leaves in abundance lead the eye up a tall tree to a bright blue sky in Central Park during the fall.

Park Stewardship

    Let's get outside! Nature

    Park Stewardship

    What is stewardship? Stewardship is the responsibility or role of taking care of something.

    So, what is park stewardship? It’s the conservation of our natural resources over an extended period. It is caring for the land, air, and water that make up our parks.

    We value stewardship as an essential role to keep our parks and natural resources viable and beautiful for future generations. Our park stewardship programming protects and upholds the natural areas in our parks by engaging our community in park stewardship volunteer opportunities and teaching about natural resources and their importance through nature education programs.

    We invite you to explore our park stewardship pages to learn more about our land’s natural history, our efforts to sustain our resources, and even ways for you to support native habitat in your own backyard!  


    Become a Park Steward

    Do you want to contribute to managing the 700+ acres across our parks and greenways? Join us as a park steward volunteer! Engaging with our park stewardship program will teach you transferrable life skills and ensure you are making a difference for the land in our parks while leaving them healthier for future generations.

    Pine Tree Icon

    Sappy Saturday
    March 9 | Monon Community Center | 2-4 p.m.

    Citizen Science Icon

    Knee High Naturalist
    Fridays Feb-Apr | Monon Community Center | 10-11 a.m.

    Hike Icon

    Nature Keepers: Spring Half-Day Camp
    April 1-5 |  Monon Community Center| 1-4 p.m.


    Seasonal Stories + Activities

    Three Ways Animals Sleep through the Winter

    How do you spend your winter? Maybe you wear extra layers when you go outside so you don’t get cold. Maybe you have a ravenous appetite and fill up on comfort food. Or maybe you prefer to skip the season entirely and vacation somewhere tropical until spring. Animals navigate the harsh conditions of winter a lot like we do, whether that means wearing a thick winter coat, putting on a little extra weight or migrating south. But the most interesting survival strategy is unique to the animal kingdom; let’s learn about three ways animals sleep through the winter.

    True Hibernation: A Long Snooze till Spring

    There are several factors that make true hibernation unique and somewhat rare. Animals in hibernation put on enough fat to last several months without food, then go into a deep sleep and don’t wake again until spring. Hibernators don’t wake up for any reason during their long winter nap — not even to eat or use the bathroom.

    Torpor: Waking up for a Snack Break

    Think of torpor as a sort of mini-hibernation. While true hibernation lasts through the winter, torpor only lasts for a few days or weeks. Animals in torpor get up periodically when the temperature rises or food becomes less scarce.

    What is another major difference between true hibernation and torpor? Torpor is involuntary. While we still don’t know everything about the biology behind torpor scientists believe that animals go into torpor involuntarily while true hibernation is a state that animals choose to enter.

    Brumation: Cozy Cold-Blooded Critters

    Brumation isn’t technically a form of hibernation, but it’s close. Only cold-blooded animals such as amphibians and reptiles brumate. Mammals do not brumate.

    Cold-blooded critters might only brumate for a month or two which is more sporadic than mammals. Brumating animals eat less food before going to sleep whereas hibernating animals eat a lot more. This is because they must be able to live off that fat for several months while they’re asleep.

    Also, you won’t find a brumating animal cuddled up in a cave or burrow. Amphibians and reptiles brumate in some pretty strange ways. Some species of frogs spend the winter at the bottom of a lake burrowed into the mud. One remarkable species of frog, the wood frog, freezes solid during the winter and thaws out in the spring. While we may not go to sleep until spring, some animals do.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Volunteer Spotlight

    Meet the Team

    Parks Operations Manager Jerry KozlanskyJerry Kozlansky

    Park Operations Manager

    Have a question about citizen science, natural resources or invasive species? Contact Jerry.

    Abby Wallace

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Have a question about volunteering with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation? Contact Abby.

    Michael Allen

    Parks & Natural Resources Director

    Contact for questions regarding division priorities, data or management plans.