Keeping Nature Nearby for All to Enjoy

The City of Oaks Foundation believes that that a great outdoors contributes to a great Raleigh. Our trees, creeks, and forests, add beauty and character, and contribute to our quality of life. Because our City is growing so rapidly, it is critical to have land that can stay open and natural. The Foundation is working to acquire land so we can all have nature nearby to enjoy today, and in the future.

Raleigh, Naturally is a land conservation program designed to work with landowners on a voluntary basis for long-term stewardship of important natural areas. We work to protect and share these hidden treasures for enjoyment today and tomorrow. Give Play is our program helping children from low-income families to participate in Raleigh’s summer camps and nature programs. And we work with other partners on project that promote healthy active outdoor lifestyles in our community.  By focusing on land and water conservation as well as connecting youth to nature, we hope to keep green space in a rapidly-growing Raleigh and instill a love of nature for generations to come.

Raleigh, Naturally - Land Conservancy

We want to conserve many of the City’s remaining natural lands to encourage healthy lifestyles, protect air and water quality, and help Raleigh live up to its “City in a Park” brand. Raleigh has a long history of visionary individuals who understood the economic, social, and environmental value of land conservation. It began in 1887 with Richard Stanhope Pullen donating 66 acres for creation of Pullen Park, North Carolina’s first public park, and it continues to this day with recent donations of land from Peter Williams, Louis Wooten, Jr., Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson, William and Mary Coker Joslin, and Bob Kellam and Susan Wyatt. While other conservation organizations include Raleigh in their regional, statewide or multistate service areas, the City of Oaks Foundation is the only organization with a focus of working with landowners on conservation of the natural resources that benefit Raleigh, and the Foundation’s priorities are closely aligned with the City’s long-term vision for parks and natural areas.

William and Mary Coker Joslin at JoslinGarden.

William and Mary Coker Joslin at JoslinGarden.

Bob Kellam and Susan Wyatt at Kellam-Wyatt Farm.

Bob Kellam and Susan Wyatt at Kellam-Wyatt Farm.

For landowners interested in a conservation legacy

Donating land or a conservation easement is a big decision and takes time. The first step is to get the facts so you can make informed decisions. The City of Oaks Foundation is here to help. Contact us for what you need to know.


Learn more about the Foundation’s Hidden Treasures:

1. Joslin Garden

2. Kellam-Wyatt Farm



What if you could give someone a life changing experience? What if you inspire, motivate, and promote healthy learning? What if you could brighten a day?
— Chris Heagarty, Executive Director

Give Play & Nature Programs

The Foundation believes in the principle that a connection to the natural world is fundamental to the health and well being of children. To that end we partner with Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department to support outdoor activities for the children of Raleigh.

Each year hundreds of children who want to participate in the City’s summer camps and nature programs do not because their families can’t afford the fees. The Foundation’s Give Play financial-assistance program offers youth from kindergarten to 8th grade the opportunity to engage with nature, and to have fun and build social skills along the way.

By providing families with the financial aid they need for these camps, we open doors to let children play outside and help children explore nature. Through your support of this program, you empower children to boldly explore the outdoors, develop important social skills, and develop healthy habits that last their lifetimes.

The Foundation is working to expand this successful program by offering special nature programs year round and is developing a new program, Conservation Explorers, for older youth interested in nature and environmental stewardship in their community. Currently Conservation Explorers is partnering with the City of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department to expand and fund nature-based after-school programs for children in southeast Raleigh.

For more information about this year's program, please visit: Give Play Applications for 2019 Now Available

For applications:




Raleigh Environmental Awards / Sustainability Series

The City of Oaks Foundation has partnered with the City of Raleigh in sponsoring the Raleigh Environmental Awards program to recognize outstanding work in environmental stewardship in our community, and sponsored awards and mini-grants for urban agriculture projects. Today, the Foundation is creating a new forum for public outreach and education related to conservation and environmental sustainability, called the Sustainability Series. More information coming soon!

The Foundation supports an annual Urban Agriculture Day and works to connect land owners interested in urban agriculture projects with individuals and non-profits with expertise.

The Foundation supports an annual Urban Agriculture Day and works to connect land owners interested in urban agriculture projects with individuals and non-profits with expertise.

Urban Agriculture

The City of Oaks Foundation supports efforts to promote urban agriculture in Raleigh and keep gardening and farming traditions alive in our community. Raleigh was built on small family farms and neighbors growing and sharing the bounties of their own gardens. We can help preserve this important part of our culture, and support more local sustainable food production, by keeping land in agricultural use and repurposing urban land as green space that supports food production.

The Foundation also works with its partner organization to increase awareness and support of related programs, such as protecting pollinator habitat in our community, and is proud to work with the City of Raleigh and it's Bee City, USA designation.

Raleigh Parks & Green Ways

Bring your Fido and have fun in the Millbrook Dog Park.

Bring your Fido and have fun in the Millbrook Dog Park.

The City of Oaks Foundation partners with the City of Raleigh to improve our local park system, accepting gifts and grants for park improvements approved by the City. Part of this partnership includes assisting the Friends of the Millbrook Dog Park, and facilitating donations for park benches and bike racks. For more about the Millbrook Dog Park please visit:

The Foundation also works to acquire land for our local green way system, to secure vital links that connect the trail system and to protect and preserve important wetlands in our community.



Raleigh Riders

Our newest partnership, the City of Oaks Foundation is proud to work with the "Raleigh Riders" group, a volunteer organization dedicated to helping people who can't use a standard bicycle to better enjoy our local parks, through the use of special tandem bicycles.

More information about the program can be found on the Raleigh Rider's website at: