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 ParkLearn 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.

The Conservation Foundation and DuPage County Stormwater Management– May 15th is the DuPage River Sweep!! Our care for nature connects us all, even during this time of social distancing! For the health of our volunteers, we will practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines during the event. We are encouraging everyone to get out and show some love to a waterway near you! The DuPage River Sweep will celebrate its 30th birthday this year. The River Sweep is a county-wide cleanup of the DuPage River and its tributaries, including Salt Creek. Volunteers spread out along and in the river to pull trash and debris out of the water, and in recent years restoration activities such as removing invasive plant species and planting natives have been incorporated into the Sweep as well. All told, nearly 14,000 volunteers have participated in the DuPage River Sweep since it began in 1991, cleaning the county’s rivers and streams of more than 285 tons — yes, tons — of garbage including rusty bicycles, car bumpers, hubcaps, and glass bottles. That’s the weight of almost TWENTY FOUR school buses! Please take photos of your cleanup and post them on your social media pages with the location your worked at and the hashtag #riversweep and tag The Conservation Foundation. Then we’ll all be able to see what a difference we have been able to make together even though we are apart! Our health and the health of our communities are directly tied to the health of our rivers and streams, so let’s get out there and make a difference! Click here for more information and to register.

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 DistrictVolunteer 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, times and locations or contact Renae Frigo at [email protected] if you have questions.