Saving the Monarch Butterfly

Great Parks of Hamilton County is working to save the monarch butterfly.  Monarchs are in a critical decline, due to habitat loss throughout their range.  In our region, they depend on several species of milkweed plants to serve as the host plant for monarch caterpillars, as well as milkweed flowers for nectaring areas by adult monarchs. Great Parks’ is in a unique position to raise large amounts of milkweed seed, having access to a native genotype plant source, nursery facility, dedicated staff, and volunteers committed to native plant restoration. Currently  volunteers clean milkweed seed by hand, where scores of volunteers sit and pull the fluff off each seed.

Great Parks Forever helped to purchase a de-bearder, a machine that removes the fluff much quicker and easier than hand cleaning. The result is a dramatic increase in the number of milkweed seeds that are distributed across the region to create more habitats for monarch butterflies.



Great Parks of Hamilton County is a lead partner in a regional tree planting initiative. The mission is to replace, retain and add trees in Greater Cincinnati with a goal to plant two million trees by 2020.

The initiative was created in response to the ongoing threat to our region's trees that the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, bush honeysuckle and other culprits, have created. By planting trees, we reduce the threat of invasive species and help grow a healthy and diverse tree environment.

Great Parks Forever was proud to support Great Parks’ pledge to plant 60,000 trees within three years. Together, Great Parks and Great Parks Forever exceeded the goal in well under three years, planting 100,000 trees.



Great Parks Forever believes that all members of our community should have access to all that the great outdoors has to offer. Learn more about scholarship opportunities available to individuals and groups.



Simmonds Family Dog Park

It's safe to say Great Parks Forever went to the dogs! Board members had a lot of fun raising money to build a park that dogs and their human companions would love. Simmonds Family Dog Park is located in Miami Whitewater Forest on Hamilton Cleves Pike Road/State Route 128 next to the soccer complex offers:
    • Agility equipment in separate large dog and small dog fenced areas
    • Shade trees and shade structures to provide needed break for canines and their owners
    • Twenty benches for relaxing throughout the dog park
    • An all season gravel area that can stay open when the turf areas are too wet

The project was made possible thanks to generous lead gifts from the Earl and Florence Simmonds Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Mr. Jerry Lotz and hundreds of additional contributions.

Financial assistance for the continual operation and maintenance of the Simmonds Family Dog Park is provided by the MABLOTZ Fund. Additional contributions to the fund are welcome and will help Great Parks continue to provide a wonderful place for dogs to play and exercise.