Project Leader FAQ

Project Leader FAQ 2017-10-27T13:08:12+00:00

1) Visit the volunteer day page on our site (like It’s My Park Day) and click the register button.

2) Click the submit project button on the GivePulse page. This button is in the right side bar or at the bottom of the page on mobile.

3) If you haven’t already created an account, GivePulse will prompt you to log in or create an account. Having an account will allow you to login to your project once it has been approved, and give you access to your volunteer contact info, project details and description.

4) Once you’ve logged in, GivePulse will take you back to the project registration page. Here you will fill in your project details on the first two pages. Tool and Mini Grant requests (for It’s My Park Day only) are on the first page, while the location details are on the second.

After you have filled out your project proposal details on the first two pages, press save and continue. GivePulse will then bring you back to the registration home page.

5) Your project will be submitted for review by PARD and APF, and you will be notified by email once your project has been approved. Once your project is approved you may begin publicizing your event for volunteers to register, as well as view registered volunteers, contact your group and make any neccessary changes to your event.

Questions? Call us at 512-477-1566 or email our volunteer Manager, Bill.

Anyone can be a project leader! Many of our leaders come from our Adopt-a-Park groups, community service organizations, or are past project leaders or project participants.

Specifically for It’s My Park Day, first-time project leaders are invited to email Volunteer Manager, Bill Stout, before submitting a project idea to learn everything you’ll need to know to propose and lead a successful project.

If you are unsure of whether or not you have what it takes to lead a project mulching trees, doing habitat restoration, trail maintenance, cleanups, etc. email us at volunteer@austinparks.org with questions.

There are four primary park projects:

1. Tree mulching and root collar clearing
2. Habitat restoration (invasive exotic plant removal or girdling, or re-planting natives)
3. Trail maintenance
4. Park or creek cleanups.

Other types of projects include nature hikes and seed-ball projects using wildflower and native grass seeds (where APF and PARD deem appropriate). If you have an idea for a project that is not on this list, please email us at volunteer@austinparks.org for more information.

APF offers mini grants only for It’s My Park Day! You can apply for a mini grant (up to $250) when you register your IMPD project. Mini grants can be used to fund projects approved by the Parks and Recreation Department (and AISD in the case of community parks on school grounds). Mini grants can cover the purchase of native seeds, plants, paint, special tools, tool rentals and rental equipment such as a power washers, and other needs. These funds are to be used specifically for the IMPD event and can include small bags of mulch (> 1 cu. yd.), larger mulch requests will be accommodated through the mulch request form, which will be live a few weeks before IMPD​.  It’s My Park Day mini-grants will be distributed at the Project Leader meeting. Please note: approved funding for specialty tools is awarded with the understanding that special tools will be the property of APF following the event for use by all park adopters.

All tree and trail ​mulching project leaders will need to fill out the application ​form (located on the IMPD page) a few weeks before the event – required information includes:

  • mulch quantity (cu.yds.)
  • physical address location for dump site (specific directions are helpful for the driver)
  • a map clearly marking dump site​
  • name and cell phone number for an on-the-ground contact, if available, to direct the driver on the day
We offer our tool warehouse as a resource to project leaders. However, the demands of our city-wide volunteer days often exceed supplies.

We ask that project leaders make their tool requests as reasonable as possible keeping in mind the number of volunteers anticipated, knowing not everyone will be doing the same job at the same time. For example: on a mulching project, some people will be doing root collar clearing, others will be loading wheelbarrows and mulch sleds, and still others will be spreading mulch, which means not everyone needs a rake, a pitchfork, a wheelbarrow, and a mulch sled.

Ultimately, tool distribution is determined on a case-by-case basis for both large and small projects. Please ask your neighbors and friends to bring their wheelbarrows and other hand tools and work gloves to your park project as well.

When you register your project you will fill out a Tool Request Form. A few weeks before the event, we will contact you to choose a time slot through GivePulse to pick up tools, t-shirts and supplies.  These will be available for pick-up from our Tool Warehouse at 1621 Festival Beach Rd in shifts on the Thursday and Friday before IMPD.

The Tool Request Form is now integrated into our GivePulse project registration form. You can also apply for a mini grant for It’s My Park Day there.

In short, no. All park projects are cleared and approved by Parks & Recreation and Watershed Protection staff before being listed as an official It’s My Park Day project. Tree mulching and root collar clearing, as well as cleanup projects, are usually approved; habitat restoration projects and trail repair & maintenance projects, unless pre-approved with a Grow Zone Restoration Plan, tend to take much longer to get approved. We highly recommend discussing your project idea with your District Manager (and Watershed staff, if appropriate) before submitting to APF.

Restoration projects are approved by the Watershed Protection Department. You can either make an appointment with John Clement at Watershed or with APF’s Volunteer Manager and Environmental Educator, Bill Stout to do a site assessment for the area of your park that you want to restore.
All projects are roughly three to four hours long. Cleanup projects tend to be shorter.

The project leader should arrive early to unload tools and set out t-shirts, snacks, etc. Then, allow for a 20-minute introductory talk to review the project, assign tasks, go over tool safety, water, first aid, restrooms and have any un-registered volunteers fill out a registration and liability waiver. You will also need to provide community service forms to some.

Please also allot a 20-minute conclusion discussion of how well the project went, and to collect, clean and reload tools, gloves, water jugs and do a general site cleanup. If possible, take a group photo and please thank your volunteers for their hard work!

Projects are reviewed on a rolling basis by APF, PARD, and Watershed staff. You will receive a personal e-mail from City of Austin staff or the APF Volunteer Manager if there are more questions or additional discussion about the project. You will receive notification from APF staff when your project is approved, which should typically take 10-14 days.  The sooner you submit your project, the better!

The number of volunteers needed for any one project depends on the type of project. Unless your project is a nature hike or seed ball making, we require a minimum of 10 volunteers to be an official city-wide volunteer day project. Mulching projects average 20 volunteers, cleanup projects can handle larger groups of 20-40 if the space is large enough. Habitat restoration projects vary from 10-30 based on the scope of the project. If you have any questions, reach out to volunteer@austinparks.org ​to reach the part-time ​Volunteer Coordinator or the Volunteer Manager.​

Volunteer registration opens 3-4 weeks before IMPD. As soon as you receive confirmation of project approval you can begin letting your neighborhood and social networks know of the project, the volunteer registration launch, and project date.

All projects are posted on our website, and APF promotes volunteer registration through our monthly newsletter, blog and social media outlets as well as through print advertising in local publications and over-the-street banners in select locations throughout the city.

GivePulse allows project leaders to create an account and login to manage their approved projects. Once your project has been approved, you will be made the Admin for your project.  This will allow you to send an e-mail  via GivePulse to all of your ​registered volunteers about any changes or additional information you need to convey. Simply login to your account and under the Admin Panel tab, click on Message People, or if you want an Excel spreadsheet of your volunteer’s information click on Export Registrations. The admin options ​provide you with features to email your volunteers, edit the event, register a volunteer and more!

Project leaders are expected to return all tools, gloves, un-distributed t-shirts, KIND bars and other unused goodies at their scheduled return time. You will also be asked via email ​to complete a P​roject ​R​eport letting us know how everything went and if there are ways we can improve your experience as a P​roject Leader. If your project is awarded a mini-grant, you will need to return any unused funds and complete a brief report, to include receipts showing how funds were spent. Any paper liability forms will need to be scanned and emailed to volunteer@austinparks.org or delivered in person during tool return.

Send an email to volunteer@austinparks.org or call our Volunteer Manager and Environmental Educator Bill Stout at 512-387-3021.