Volunteer With Patapsco Valley State Park

Featured Volunteer – Karen Durilla

Volunteer Karen DurillaHow long have you been a volunteer?
I have been a volunteer for 19 months. I started my journey as a Volunteer Mounted Patrol after visiting the PVSP booth at the Horse Expo in January 2013.

What do you for employment?
After 34 years of working for the Federal government, I retired in July 2013.

How long have you lived in the area?
My father was in the Air Force, so we moved around quite a bit when I was growing up. I lived in Japan, Okinawa, Texas, Arizona, New York and finally, Maryland. I've been in Maryland since 1974.

Do you volunteer other places besides Patapsco Valley?
I volunteer as a Patient Representative one day a week at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, Maryland. My dog, Buddy, and I are members of Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), an organization that provides free pet therapy services. We visit with patients at Carroll Hospital Center one day a week and we also visit with kids at a local day care center once a week. Buddy enjoys having the kids read to him. I'm also an intern with the Carroll County Master Gardener's program, we work on various garden projects throughout the county.

What is your favorite thing about Patapsco Valley?
I enjoy being outside, looking at all of the trees and listening to the water. It is very peaceful.

What volunteer projects are you involved in at Soldiers Delight/Patapsco?
My husband, Frank, and I serve as a Volunteer Mounted Patrol. We enjoy having the opportunity to ride our horses in PVSP and talk with the visitors in the park. We have participated in Family Fun Day and we do trail maintenance at the Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area -- a never ending task!

Describe one of your favorite volunteer memories with Patapsco.
It is fun to introduce people to my horse, especially if they have never touched a horse before. They usually have lots of questions and their eyes get really big if you ask them if they would like to feed Prince a peppermint, one of his favorite treats! I've had several park visitors take pictures of Prince and they are especially pleased if I suggest that I take their picture with the horse. I really enjoy sharing Prince and making people smile. For me, it is a way to pay back all of the people who were kind enough to share their horse with me when I was growing up. I've always loved horses and I have my husband to thank for getting me my first horse. I had to wait a long time to get a horse and I remember what it felt like wanting a horse.

Why is it important to you to volunteer?
Since I was fortunate enough to retire, I needed to find a way to contribute to society. For me, life lacks meaning unless you are doing something to make a difference. What better way to give back than to donate my time helping others. Volunteering at PVSP allows me to spend time with my husband while we are enjoying our horses and reaching out to others. After 34 years sitting at a desk and working on a computer, it is refreshing to be outside.

Message from Park Manager

Do you love the outdoors? Do you get excited about sharing your love of nature with others? Perhaps you have some spare time, and would like to share a little with our park and park visitors.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Patapsco Valley State Park. They are involved in just about every aspect of park operations. Our volunteers do so many fantastic things within the park. On a given day you can find our volunteer Rangers running daily operations, and our volunteer naturalists leading hikes or doing nature crafts. Perhaps you will encounter a member of our volunteer mounted patrol while you are out on the trails, and on that very same hike you might meet our trail maintenance volunteers or even one of our Adopt-a-Trail families. Don’t be surprised to see one of our volunteer photographers snapping pictures of people and nature within the park. If you stop in our visitor center or our nature center you will more than likely meet one of our volunteer docents – who will be thrilled to share interesting information about the park.

Do you think your talents are not suited for a park? We have graphic designers, marketing specialists, artists, carpenters, plumbers, stone masons, and seamstresses that all have volunteered to help create brochures, build decks and benches, promote our programs to media, and even sew curtains for our mini-cabins.

So if you have a little extra time to spare, I invite you to join the Patapsco Volunteer Family. We would love to have you as part of our team!

Message from the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park President, Bruce Clopein

The Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park invites you to join us in supporting this vital natural resource. A 501C3 non-profit, The Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park provides charitable gifts to enhance the park's educational and environmental assets. Our group has assisted with dam removal efforts, tree plantings, invasive removal, purchased interpretive displays, supported Eagle Scout projects, and provided materials for the Hilton Nature Center. We encourage you to join us in preserving and protecting Patapsco Valley State Park for future generations. For more information, please contact Bruce Clopein at (443) 517-9963. Visit the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park's website at: http://www.fpvsp.org.

Volunteer Camp Hosts

Featured Volunteer Opportunity – Camp Hosts

Stake your claim to free camping at Patapsco Valley State Park!

That’s right! Volunteer as a camp host and it’s all yours! Camp hosts are needed through the camping season from April through October. You get a rustic campsite with great nature views provided by the Hilton and Hollofield campgrounds at Patapsco Valley State Park. All you have to do is commit a minimum of one month to camping and bring your own gear. Camp hosts are asked to spend 20 hours a week helping campers, selling firewood and keeping the camping facilities tidy. Priority consideration is given to anyone who can stay longer. The park staff will provide all the training you need. So pitch in as a park volunteer and pitch your tent (or camping trailer, etc.)! Sign up for your campsite now by contacting Volunteer Coordinator, Donna Seymour at (410) 465-3287 or by email at donna.seymour@maryland.gov.

Volunteer Opportunities

With locations in Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, and Anne Arundel counties, Patapsco Valley State Park has a volunteer opportunity for you! Here are just a few of the things you can do:

  • Trailwork
  • Volunteer Ranger
  • Gardening
  • Visitor/Nature Center staffing
  • Photography


To search for volunteer opportunities at this state park and all of the state parks in Maryland, please click here to link to the Volunteer with Maryland State Parks webpage and then click on Opportunity Search in the Volunteer Menu on the left side of the page.

We look forward to having you join our volunteer family!

Donna Seymour, Volunteer Coordinator
Patapsco Valley State Park
8020 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-465-3287
E-mail: donna.seymour@maryland.gov