Conservation District Volunteers
Give back, get outdoors, preserve nature, get active, raise awareness, build community, pay it forward, set an example, meet new people, learn new skills, plant a seed of knowledge, foster a sense of place, build confidence, enrich your life, contribute and have fun!
The District’s volunteers engage in a wide range of activities at conservation areas throughout McHenry County. They restore habitat, preserve ecological diversity, educate people about nature, promote public safety and keep local history alive.
No prior experience is needed for most positions, but a willingness to learn is essential. The minimum age to volunteer independently is 18, but opportunities exist for students age 14 and up.
Contact the Volunteer Coordinator to get started! (815) 338.6223, ext. 1229 or Volunteers@MCCDistrict.org.
What’s involved? You’ll complete an application and attend an orientation to explore volunteer opportunities based on your interests, skills and available time. Volunteers over age 18 must undergo a criminal background check.
Click on the links below for descriptions of volunteer opportunities.
Citizen Science Plant Monitoring
After training, volunteers go out into the field to collect data on native plants. Native prairie plant seed is collected in fall.
Citizen Science Wildlife Monitoring
After training, volunteers go out into the field to collect data on wildlife, including; bluebird, butterflies, dragonflies, and birds.
No prior teaching experience is needed to assist the District’s Educators with public programs, classroom outreach or field trips. Help at seasonal special events. Lead a Lost Valley Venture program for children and families. Prepare materials and props for use in presentations. Assist with GeoTours. Bilingual volunteers translate at programs and special events or translate written material.
Open to the public – no registration needed! Individuals, small groups and families help our Site Stewards restore native habitat at Conservation District sites. For dates and locations, view a list of regularly scheduled Habitat Restoration Days.
Keep local history alive through historical interpretation at programs, special events and historical open houses. Or assist in the restoration of the District’s historical sites, the Powers-Walker House in Glacial Park and McConnell Farmstead in Richmond.
Indoor Volunteer Opportunities
Not everyone is suited for outdoor volunteering! Volunteers help the Education Services Staff with indoor programs, special events and program preparation. They help at the reception desk to greet the public or assist with office duties at the District’s facilities.
Help to heal the land… Training is provided for motivated volunteers who are dedicated to the preservation of natural resources through ecological restoration. These volunteers lead and support weekend Habitat Restoration Days or assist the District’s Natural Resources Staff on weekdays with restoration duties, including prescription burns, chainsaw operation or herbicide application.
Recreation & Public Safety
S.W.E.E.P. (Safety Watch Education & Environmental Program) volunteers tour the Prairie Trail by bike or hike the trails at various sites. Glacial Park Ski Patrol members (trained by National Ski Patrol) assist cross country skiers.
Scout & Group Service
Outdoor projects are geared to adult and youth groups, including Eagle Scouts.
Wildlife Resource Center
Volunteers assist the Wildlife Resource Center Staff with a variety of duties related to the care of wildlife (note: volunteers do not handle wildlife).