Natural Resources

Volunteer For Our Natural Resources

Natural Resources' volunteers help our team of ecologists restore natural diversity to DuPage forest preserves. Volunteers also monitor bird, amphibian, reptile and insect populations in the preserves. During workdays, volunteers collect and redistribute seeds or remove invasive species to re-establish native prairies and woodlands.

Help improve forest preserve habitats, and volunteer for natural resources. For information about volunteering, contact Volunteer Services at 630-933-7233 or volunteer@dupageforest.org.

New to volunteering or want to put in hours for school, Scouting or work? Our workdays are great opportunities to experience the outdoors and earn hours without committing to a long-term volunteer position. A list of restoration and nursery workdays can be found by selecting "Health & Well-Being" on our Calendar of Events.

 

Purpose

The Forest Preserve District's Volunteer Services program engages volunteers who are willing to donate their time, talents and resources to support the programs and staff in carrying out our mission, purpose and guiding principles through our various volunteer programs.  

Restore Natural Areas

 

Restoration Workday Volunteer

Commitment: Flexible/Participate as schedule allows
Location: District-wide
Minimum Age: 18, or 8 – 17 with an adult
Application Deadline: None

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff accomplish restoration goals for an ecologically valuable natural area. From late fall to early spring, volunteers remove invasive species or plant native seed to increase diversity in degraded areas or where invasive plants have been removed. In spring, summer and fall, volunteers collect seed from native plants.

Workdays are held year-round and are supervised by a volunteer steward and/or District employee. Workdays typically last two to three hours, depending on the day's task(s), and begin with an education/training session. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. A list of current volunteer workdays can be found under "Health & Well-Being" on the Calendar of Events.

Volunteer stewards may work at stewardship sites outside scheduled workdays. To learn more about these workdays, contact Stewardship Program Coordinator Cindy Hedges at chedges@dupageforest.org or 630-876-5929 View map of current stewardship sites (PDF). View full position description (PDF) for restoration workday volunteer.

 

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: Native Plant Nursery, West Chicago IL
Minimum Age: 18, or 12 – 17 with an adult
Application Deadline: None

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff care for and maintain the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve. With training and direction from staff or the nursery lead, volunteers may weed or water plant beds, install plugs, collect and clean seed and maintain walkways. A list of current volunteer workdays can be found under "Health & Well-Being" on the Calendar of Events.
 
The amount and type of work in the nursery varies from day to day and year to year, depending on weather conditions. The two busiest times are late spring/early summer, when weeding and planting take place, and late summer/early fall, when native plant seeds ripen and must be collected. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. View full position description (PDF).
 
 

Native Plant Nursery Lead Volunteer

Commitment: Seasonal
Location: Native Plant Nursery, West Chicago IL
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: None

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff care for and maintain the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve. With training and direction from staff,  volunteers will supervise and utilize volunteers to weed or water plant beds, install plugs, monitor and inventory plants, collect and clean seed and maintain walkways. A list of current volunteer workdays can be found under "Health & Well-Being" on the Calendar of Events.
 
The amount and type of work in the nursery varies from day to day and year to year, depending on weather conditions. The two busiest times are late spring/early summer, when weeding and planting take place, and late summer/early fall, when native plant seeds ripen and must be collected. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).
 
 

Steward

Commitment: Monthly/Flexible (40+ hours per year)
Location: District-wide – Assigned preserve
Minimum Age: 21
Application Deadline: None

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff accomplish the restoration goals for an ecologically valuable natural area. With training and direction from staff, stewards carry out management activities, which may include brush clearing, installing plants, seed collecting and sowing, and controlling invasive species. Stewards may assist staff in monitoring specific flora, wildlife, natural communities and water bodies.

Stewards coordinate volunteer activities at the site and schedule restoration workdays with the Stewardship Program Coordinator. Stewards are encouraged to contribute to the managmeent plan for their stewardship site (PDF)and share ideas and solutions to site problems with District staff and other stewards. Stewards collaborate with a co-steward where applicable. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. View full position description (PDF).
 
 

Co-Steward

Commitment: Monthly/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned preserve
Minimum Age: 21
Application Deadline: None

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff accomplish the restoration goals for an ecologically valuable natural area. With supervision and mentorship from a volunteer steward, co-stewards are responsible for some of the site's volunteer natural resource management, which may include supervising restoration volunteer work at the site, seed collecting, education and outreach, invasive species control, recordkeeping, etc.

Co-stewards are encouraged to contribute to the management plan for their stewardship site (PDF) and share ideas and solutions to site problems with District staff and other stewards. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. View full position description (PDF).

 

Herbicide Volunteer

Commitment: Flexible/Participate as schedule allows
Location: District-wide
Minimum age: 21
Appllication deadline: None


Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff accomplish the restoration goals for an ecologically valuable natural
area. After passing the exam(s) and receiving a pesticide Operator or Applicator license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, volunteer will be certified to apply herbicides to control various invasive species at preserves throughout the District, with training and direction from staff. Volunteers are responsible for recording and turning in data in a timely manner and recording volunteer hours. View full position description (PDF).

 

Monitor Natural Resources

 Amphibian Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned site
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: February 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study frogs and toads by listening for calls off-trail in the preserves in the evening. With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to identify different calls and record and submit their findings. Monitors may be partnered with one or two other volunteers. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).
 

Bird Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned route
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help study bird populations by listening for and observing birds off-trail in the preserves during early morning. With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to identify different calls and record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).

 

Bluebird Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned route
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: February 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study bluebird populations by listening for and observing bluebirds in the preserves in the early morning. With direction from staff, monitors will learn how to record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).

 

Butterfly Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned site
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study butterfly populations off-trail in the preserves.  With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to identify butterflies and record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).

 

Dragonfly Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned site
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study dragonfly and damselfly populations off-trail in the preserves. With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to identify dragonflies and damselflies and record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of the District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).

 

Fungus Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned site
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study fungus populations off-trail in the preserves. With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to identify fungi and record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).

 

Protect Your Waters Boating Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: District-wide – Assigned sites
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff identify and report aquatic invasive species in the District-owned natural areas while educating the public regarding invasive species and litter’s effect on habitats. All Protect Your Waters boating volunteers must possess their own registered canoe, kayak or small boat and personal flotation device. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. Direction and training is received from staff. View full position description (PDF).

 

Protect Your Waters Shoreline Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible (2+ hours/month
Location: District-wide – Assigned sites
Minimum Age: 18
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff identify and report aquatic invasive species in the District-owned natural areas while educating the public about invasive species and litter’s effect on the habitats. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of the District staff. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. Direction and training is received from staff. View full position description (PDF).

 

Rare Plant Monitor

Commitment: Seasonal/Flexible
Location: Districtwide – Assigned site
Minimum Age: 21
Application Deadline: March 1

Distinguishing Features of the Position

Help staff study rare plant populations off-trail in the preserves. With training and direction from staff, monitors will learn how to record and submit their findings. Monitors will turn in data in a timely manner and record volunteer hours. Duties may vary at the discretion of District staff. Monitors must contact Stewardship Program Coordinator Cindy Hedges at chedges@dupageforest.org or 630-876-5929 before completing training to ensure there are openings and discuss placement. The volunteer will sometimes interact with the public and respond to questions and requests for information. View full position description (PDF).