Volunteer locally as a way to learn about native plants and help preserve the biodiversity of our region and the health of our planet. The following opportunities are listed for your convenience and are NOT SPONSORED by Wild Ones, except when noted.
Carol Stream Park District Jan Smith Park – Learn about natural wildflowers and prairie grasses and how they grow by becoming a volunteer at this four-acre outdoor native plant museum. Volunteers are needed for weeding and caring of the gardens during the growing season. Contact Jan Smith at 630-690-0633 or [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering.
ChicagoNatureNOW! – The purpose of ChicagoNatureNOW! is to inspire Chicagoans to fall in love with local plants and habitats so that they’ll support their restoration and protection. The area around Chicago has more plant biodiversity than any national park with over 1,700 native plant species. ChicagoNatureNow! is a free website created by Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter member, Mike MacDonald, that helps Chicagoans discover the nature and beauty that surrounds them by providing information on where the best wildflower blooms are each week. Volunteers are needed to help scout this information in order to let others know where these areas are. You don’t need to know much about native plants to become a scout, ChicagoNatureNow! will help you learn about identification and also about understanding the different habitats of native plants. By volunteering you will learn so much more about native plants than you would by seeing them in a garden because you will be visiting these plants in their native habitats growing in communities with other species and seeing how they share the landscape. To learn more about becoming a ChicagoNatureNow! Scout visit the Volunteer page on the ChicagoNatureNOW! website.
College of DuPage Natural Areas – COD maintains three natural areas on the Glen Ellyn campus: the Russell R. Kirt Prairie, the Ecological Study Area, and the B.J. Hoddinott Wildlife Sanctuary. Volunteers are needed to cut brush, collect and process seeds, transplant and weed invasive plants to help restore and maintain these natural environments. For more information check out the Prairie Tours and Work Events page on the COD website for a schedule of work event dates.
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Natural Resources – Volunteers help a team of ecologists restore natural diversity to the forest preserves in DuPage County. 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. Visit the Natural Services Volunteer page for more information on volunteer opportunities or contact Volunteer Services at 630-933-7233 or [email protected].
Glen Ellyn Park District – Volunteer to help clear invasive plants, clean-up trash, plant native plants and seeds, maintain trails and more in the Glen Ellyn Park District natural areas. Check out the Restoration Work Days page on the Glen Ellyn Park District website for an updated schedule of work days.
St. Andrew Lutheran Church Native Pollinator Garden – This native pollinator garden was started in 2021 in West Chicago as a community effort by the DuPage Monarch Project, Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, Sierra Club River Prairie Group and several other individuals and groups. It will help provide much needed habitat for our endangered monarchs and other pollinators but it will take several years for some of the plants to flower. Volunteers are needed who can help maintain this beautiful native pollinator garden. If you would like to be part of bringing nature back to us, you can reach Bruce Blake at [email protected] to help.
Sustain DuPage – Help in the transformation of seven acres of mostly buckthorn (a plant species out of balance with our local ecosystem) into an oak woodland planting which will provide maximum native biodiversity and food for humans and other lifeforms. To learn more about this project visit the Sustain DuPage Protectors webpage which includes a form to contact the project organizer and also a link to join the group’s Whatsapp thread.