Volunteers with an interest in native plants have two opportunities to perform field work with significant native plant populations at Conservation District sites. Monitoring provides a profile of past and current native species populations to help researchers understand which species are expanding, which are remaining stable and which are declining. This gives land managers a basis for making intelligent choices about habitat preservation and management of natural resources.
For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 815.338.6223 x 1229 or Volunteers@MCCDistrict.org.
Why collect seed? Plants that are adapted to our region’s climate and soils have a greater chance of survival in local restoration projects. This is a wonderful opportunity to go on field trips to various District sites, many of which are closed to the public. Under the guidance of the District’s Plant Ecologist during late summer through fall, volunteers collect native prairie plant seed for use in restoration efforts. After signing up, a weekly list of forays is sent by email to volunteers, who can choose when and where to collect seed with District staff.
QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 14; a registered District volunteer; physically capable of carrying out the duties of the position they choose, the ability to walk over uneven ground off trail is necessary for field work; responsible, reliable and available at the times required by the position.
EXPERIENCE: A training workshop is required for new volunteers.
TIME COMMITMENT/SCHEDULE: Late summer through fall. Volunteers are emailed a weekly list of staff-led forays and can participate when convenient. There is no minimum time commitment, and forays are only held when weather conditions are dry.
For additional information, contact the District’s Plant Ecologist, Laurie Ryan at (815) 678-4532 or LRyan@MCCDistrict.org
Plants of Concern — Rare Plant Monitoring
Plants of Concern is a monitoring program coordinated by the Chicago Botanic Garden that engages citizen scientists to monitor the Chicago Wilderness region's rarest plants, assess trends in their populations, and provide important data used to conserve our rapidly declining floral heritage. The program is a collaboration of trained volunteer monitors working together with land managers and scientists. The data collected provides land managers with information that helps them to set management goals for species within a community context and to evaluate management practices. This long term project is part of the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan goal to assess, research, protect and recover the region’s rare plants. Photo of Showy Orchid (Orchis spectabilis).
Coordinating Agency: Chicago Botanic Garden www.plantsofconcern.org
QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 18; a registered District volunteer to monitor at District sites; physically capable of carrying out the duties of the position they choose, the ability to walk over uneven ground off trail is necessary for field work; responsible, reliable and available at the times required by the position.
EXPERIENCE: A training workshop in the spring is required for new volunteers.