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Kankakee Sands: Volunteer Workdays

We are so grateful for our volunteers! Whether you have helped to pick up garbage, transplant seedlings or spray invasive plants, we truly appreciate the time and energy you have put towards creating prairies and maintaining savannas at Kankakee Sands. This year, more than 350 hours have been volunteered at KS! Amazing! Thank you for volunteering and for your friendship, we look forward to seeing you at the upcoming volunteer opportunities:    

Thursday Mornings at Kankakee Sands

We invite volunteers to join our Kankakee Sands work in Indiana and Illinois from 9 am to 11 am on Thursdays through the end November. Activities will change with the seasons and may include seed collection, seed cleaning, invasive species removal, garbage clean-up, etc.

Saturday Workdays

We have family-friendly volunteer workdays scheduled on the second Saturday of each month from 9 am to noon. Join us!

Upcoming Workdays

Saturday, May 9; 9 am - noon, Central Time
Planting Native Plants at Kankakee Sands Nursery: Join us for a fun morning of planting our potted greenhouse plants into the great, wide open of our outdoor native plant nursery. There will be plenty of activities for all ages and abilities, from taking small plants out of pots to digging holes, planting, and restacking pots. Many hands are desirable for this busy workday of planting 2,000+ plants. R.S.V.P.’s are appreciated. Contact Alyssa Nyberg by e-mail or call (219) 866-1706.

Saturday, June 13;  9 am - noon, Central Time
Controlling Invasive Weeds: This will be the first of our summer invasive-focused workdays. We’ll start out with a bang by working in Kankakee Sands’ first restored prairie: the 1997 planting at Conrad Station Savanna. Our primary target species will be white and yellow sweet clover and we may also seek out and pull the sporadic spotted knapweed plants. Spotted knapweed can be an incredibly nasty invasive plant that we thankfully have very little of at Kankakee Sands, so we are working hard to keep it away! R.S.V.P.’s are appreciated. Contact Alyssa Nyberg by e-mail or call (219) 866-1706.

Saturday, July 11th, 2014; 9am to 1pm, Central Time
Controlling invasive weeds: For our July workday we will be working in our 1999 planting of Unit G. As many of you know, Unit G is home to our patch-burn grazing project, in which we utilize a combination of prescribed fire and cattle grazing to meet our restoration objectives for this unit. All in all, the grazing has done a wonderful job of increasing structure and plant diversity in the unit, as well as being surprisingly effective at controlling invasive plants such as Equisetum or Horsetail. Today we will remove two invasive plants that the cattle do not target as well: Queen Anne’s lace and common teasel. Queen Anne’s lace, also known as wild carrot, is an exotic that has been increasing across the site for several years now. Common teasel has historically been a problem in Unit G that is on the way to being eradicated. It is also incredibly spiny, so we’ll bring some extra-thick work gloves! In addition, be warned not to wear your nice pair of boots as cow pies pose a significant risk…

We will provide training, work gloves, eye protection, and any other necessary protective gear. Some form of work-boot (hiking or leather) is strongly recommended, along with long pants and long sleeves. A hat to provide your own, personal patch of shade is always a great idea as well! Work will be lightly to moderately physically strenuous. Please contact Tony Capizzo by e-mail at acapizzo@tnc.org or call (219) 285-2184 with questions or to R.S.V.P. Meet at our Nature Conservancy Office located at 3294 N US 41, Morocco IN 47963.

Saturday, August 8th, 2014; 9am to 1pm, Central Time
Controlling invasive weeds: For the third and final summer invasive workday, we’ll focus on the 2005 planting of Unit F. The northern part of the unit is dry prairie and has been invaded by the non-native common mullein. Unlike July’s workday, pulling mullein is actually quite fun: no spines. I’m sure this will be a great relief to everyone who is still picking teasel spines out of their hands. Should mullein not cooperate with the timing of our workday, we’ll be pulling Queen Anne’s lace once again, either in Unit G South of where we worked last month or in north Unit J.

We will provide training, work gloves, eye protection, and any other necessary protective gear. Some form of work-boot (hiking or leather) is strongly recommended, along with long pants and long sleeves. A hat to provide your own, personal patch of shade is always a great idea as well! Work will be lightly to moderately physically strenuous. Please contact Tony Capizzo by e-mail at acapizzo@tnc.org or call (219) 285-2184 with questions or to R.S.V.P. Meet at our Nature Conservancy Office located at 3294 N US 41, Morocco IN 47963.

Saturday, September 12, 2015; 9am to noon, Central Time
Native Plant Seed Harvest at the Kankakee Sands Nursery: With over 150 native plants to collect seed from, we could use your help! During this workday, we will be collecting the seed from at least 5 different flower and grass species for use in our upcoming restoration plantings. And while we are collecting, there’s no telling what we will see…flowers, butterflies, birds. Come learn several of our native plants and all about the prairie ecosystem. After harvesting the seeds, we will transport them to our seed barn facility for drying and planting this winter. The drive to the seed barn will be an opportunity to view much of the 8,000 acres of Kankakee Sands. The workday is very family friendly and appropriate for all ages and abilities.

No experience necessary. Fleece and wool clothing is not recommended as it collects seeds. Feel free to bring your lunch and have a picnic on the prairie or hike a trail at Kankakee Sands after the workday. R. S.V.P.’s appreciated. Contact Alyssa Nyberg by email at anyberg@tnc.org or call (219) 866-1706 for more information and to R.S.V.P. We will begin the morning at the Kankakee Sands Native Plant nursery located at 1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN, 47963.

Saturday, October, 10, 2015; 9am to noon, Central Time
Seed Harvest and Seed Cleaning at the Kankakee Sands Nursery: Enjoy the orange and gold colors of the prairie during this workday of collecting seeds and cleaning seeds. There will be seed harvesting activities in the beds of the nursery, and seed cleaning activities in the shade of the pole barn. Fun for all, that’s our promise...and cookies too!

No experience necessary. Fleece and wool clothing is not recommended as it collects seeds, but costumes sure are! Feel free to bring your lunch and have a picnic on the prairie or hike a trail at Kankakee Sands (in costume!) after the workday. R. S.V.P.’s appreciated. Contact Alyssa Nyberg by email at anyberg@tnc.org or call (219) 866-1706 for more information and to R.S.V.P. We will begin the morning at the Kankakee Sands Native Plant nursery located at 1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN, 47963.

Saturday, November 14th, 2014; 9am to 1pm, Central Time
Brush cutting of trees and shrubs: We’ll begin our winter work-day series in Unit G, working again this winter in our oak & honey locust savannas in the eastern part of the unit. With all the great work that’s gone into these areas over the years, it looks like this will likely be our last workday in the area. We’ll be tying treating the few honey-suckle, multiflora rose and black locust that remain. Treatment will consist of using hand saws to fell the targeted small trees and shrubs and follow-up herbicide treatment to discourage resprouting from the cut stumps.

We will provide training, work gloves, eye protection, and any other necessary protective gear, but we ask that you bring sunscreen, a water bottle, and weather-appropriate clothing. In particular, some form of work-boot (hiking or leather) is strongly recommended, along with cold-weather gear. Work will be lightly to moderately physically strenuous. Please contact Tony Capizzo by e-mail at acapizzo@tnc.org or call (219) 285-2184 with questions or to R.S.V.P. Meet at our Nature Conservancy Office located at 3294 N US 41, Morocco IN 47963.

Volunteer Positions

We also have several long-term volunteer positions available: Trail Steward, Water Level Monitor, Herbarium, and Stewardship Volunteer. These positions are for committed individuals able to work regularly and independently throughout the year.

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