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; as well as workday opportunities for ages 6-13 with parent supervision. As an added bonus, registered District Volunteers also receive a variety of perks including early registration access to trainings; free educational workshops; discount on Weekend of Restoration; witness and tour a prescribed burn; and more!
- Submit an interest form.
- Fill out an application.
- Volunteers 18 + attend a one hour orientation which includes a background check.
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. Read more.
Open to the public! Individuals, small groups and families help our Site Stewards restore native habitat at Conservation District sites throughout the county. Read more.
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. Read more.
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. Read more.
Help to heal the land. These volunteers lead and support Habitat Restoration Days or assist other stewards or District Staff during the week. Training is provided for motivated volunteers interested in advanced plan ID, chainsaw operation, and/or herbicide application. Read more.
After training, volunteers go out into the field to collect data on native plants. Native prairie plant seed is collected in fall. Phenology volunteers assist with an on-going research study. Read more.
Each Spring and Fall, trained volunteers join prescribed burn crews led by District staff. Although prescribed burning only happens a few days per season, it remains one of the most effective tools for restoration. Volunteer involvement during burn season allows us to cover larger areas. Read more.
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. Read more.
Outdoor projects are geared to adult and youth groups, including Eagle Scouts. Read more.
After training, volunteers go out into the field to collect data on wildlife, including; bluebirds and grassland birds, butterflies, and bees. Read more.
Volunteers assist the Wildlife Resource Center Staff with a variety of duties related to the care of wildlife. Read more.