Education programs reach thousands every year

Environmental Education


FRIENDS’ most important education endeavor is environmental education.

The group provided funding for the construction and expansion of the Warner Parks Nature Center campus, which gives more than 10,000 school children a year a connection to nature. The Nature Center’s specially designed program meshes with the Nashville public schools' core science curriculum.

The Nature Center’s professional naturalists also provide teacher training and leadership for all of Metro Nashville's nature centers. Area high schools and universities use the Warner Parks Field Station for biology research.

In addition to capital support, FRIENDS provides salary supplements and pays for educational materials for the Nature Center.

People Exploring Nature

More than 300 children from Metro Nashville’s inner-city community centers participate in the PEN Pal program.

Every summer, these 9- to 11-year-olds enjoy campouts where they learn how to set up a tent, cook dinner over the campfire, catch crawdads in the creek, and enjoy a hayride. For many, it’s their first overnight experience in nature.

FRIENDS has sponsored PENPals since 1988. The program is made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation and Suntrust Bank.

Special Work, Education and Trails


Young adults trade sweat equity for environmental education in this summer program.

SWEAT members make improvements to the Warner Parks’ hiking trails, organic gardens, landscaping and facilities.

In return, they gain valuable knowledge and experience in organic gardening methods, trail maintenance techniques, use of landscaping tools, natural history of native plants and animals, impact of invasive species, and natural area management.

Camp Warner Park

Camp Warner Park

Camp Warner Park is a summer enrichment program that helps to bridge the summer learning gap by engaging children in outdoor play and informal environmental education to raise awareness, foster respect and share enthusiasm for the natural environment. Campers will explore the park, play in the creek, and participate in environmental education at the Warner Parks Nature Center. All proceeds from camp are donated to Friends of Warner Parks. To learn more or sign up your child, visit CampWarnerPark.com