Volunteer Workdays

For upcoming volunteer workdays, visit Calendar of Events.

Application and Waiver
Volunteer Network

VICNET Current volunteers, visit the Forest Preserve District's Volunteer Information Access Network.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Volunteer Services at (630) 933-7681 or volunteer@dupageforest.org.

Volunteer hours do not count toward court-ordered community service.

 

Natural Resources

Natural Resources Volunteers get to enjoy nature while working to restore natural diversity to DuPage County forest preserves. The District relies on volunteers to continue Managing Natural Resources throughout DuPage County. During workdays, volunteers collect and redistribute seeds or remove invasive species to re-establish native prairies and woodlands. Volunteers also monitor bird, amphibian, reptile, and insect populations and care for seedlings in the District's native-plant nursery. Help improve the habitats of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County by joining this dedicated group of volunteers.

PURPOSE
The purpose of Volunteer Services Program at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is to engage volunteers who are willing to donate their time, talents and resources to support the programs and staff in carrying out the mission, purpose, and guiding principles of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and the volunteer programs. 

Amphibian Monitor

Assist staff with the assessment and inventory of frog and toad populations in District-owned natural areas, recording and turning in data in a timely manner and recording volunteer hours.

Bird Monitor

Help assess and inventory populations of birds in District-owned natural areas, recording and turning in data in a timely manner and recording volunteer hours.

Bluebird Monitor

Assess and inventory bluebird box populations in District-owned natural areas, recording and turning in data in a timely manner and recording volunteer hours.

Butterfly and Dragonfly Monitor

Help staff assess and inventory butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly populations in District-owned natural areas, recording and turning in data in a timely manner and recording volunteer hours.

Co-Steward

Help accomplish restoration goals for an ecologically valuable natural area.

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer

Native plant nursery volunteers assist Natural Resource Management (NRM) staff with the maintenance of the native plant nursery. Volunteers may weed or water plant beds, install plugs, monitor and inventory plants, collect and clean seed, keep records, develop appropriate signs or educational programs, and maintain walkways. Volunteers are encouraged to assume responsibility for an aspect of nursery operations (seed collecting, weeding certain beds, sign making, etc); they coordinate their efforts with the appropriate NRM staff. Qualified volunteers may also initiate special projects, subject to approval by the NRM coordinator. All nursery volunteers use hand tools (spades, trowels, wheelbarrows, etc.). NRM staff train volunteers and are available to answer questions. The amount and type of activity in the nursery varies from day to day and year to year, depending on weather conditions. Our two busiest times are late spring/early summer, when we do a great deal of weeding and planting, and late summer/early fall, when native plant seed ripens and must be collected. Depending on rainfall, it may be necessary to weed heavily during the middle of the summer.

Natural Resource Management Workday

Individuals and groups are invited to attend Natural Resource Management’s Volunteer Restoration Workdays. At workdays participants work to restore a natural area to ecological health. From late fall to early spring, volunteers selectively clear exotic shrubs that invade natural areas and shade out native plants. Once these aggressive shrubs take over a preserve, an area that previously supported a few hundred plant and animal species unique to Illinois or the Midwest frequently will contain only a few species. After invasive shrubs are selectively removed, native plants often begin to grow again. In summer and fall, volunteers collect seed from native plants. From autumn to spring, volunteers plant the seeds in places where exotic bushes have been removed. View Workdays on the District Calendar of Events. Less than one-tenth of one percent of Illinois’ native ecosystems exist today. The few natural areas that remain are globally-endangered habitats. These ecologically-valued areas are home to a wide array of plants and animals unique to Illinois and the Midwest. Volunteer restoration workday volunteers learn about and participate in the preservation and restoration of many of these significant natural areas.

Protect Your Waters: Boating Volunteer

Volunteering involves identification and reporting of invasive species in the District owned natural areas while educating the public regarding invasive species and litters effect on the habitats.

Protect Your Waters: Shoreline Volunteer

Volunteering involves identification and reporting of invasive species in the District owned natural areas while educating the public regarding invasive species and litters effect on the habitats.

Rare Plant Population Monitor

Monitors observe populations of rare plants. They monitor population trends and notify the District of possible threats to a population. Plant monitors are encouraged to note the associates and habitat of their assigned species. With District and steward approval, volunteers may also collect seed from the species they monitor and redistribute the seed to an appropriate habitat within the preserve. Volunteer opportunities are available at preserves throughout the District. Monitors are supervised by either a site steward or the District’s plant ecologist. Plant monitors should be independent, self-motivated individuals, because this is a very flexible program where monitors observe their assigned species at times convenient to their schedules.

Steward

A steward assumes responsibility for the volunteer natural resource management and restoration of an ecologically valuable natural area in cooperation with the Forest Preserve District. Almost all District stewards are also members of the Volunteer Stewardship Network of The Nature Conservancy. At a minimum, a steward surveys the natural area at least twice a year and reports his/her findings to the Forest Preserve District. During these surveys, a steward walks the site and notes any inappropriate land use activities (e.g., off-road biking), changes in neighboring land use, or unauthorized access routes into the preserve. Stewards share ideas and solutions to site problems with District staff and other stewards. Each steward is encouraged to contribute to the management plan for the site he/she stewards. Depending on the needs of the site and the steward’s interests and experience, he/she may choose to do a great deal more. With District approval, a steward may perform ecological management activities at the site. She or he may organize site workdays in which volunteers collect or rake in seed, remove exotic plant species, clean up trash at the preserve, or perform other work. Additionally, with District approval, a steward may monitor the flora, fauna, natural communities, water bodies, and/or resources at the site, or supervise other volunteers who do so. Stewards with special skills may initiate other activities (e.g., research, educational programs) with the approval of the Natural Resource Management (NRM) supervisor.
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