Illinois

Field Trips and Events

Connect With Nature

January 01, 2018 - December 31, 2018

These events will occur at natural areas across the state.

Directions

As part of our mission to connect people to nature, the Conservancy supports volunteer stewardship beyond our preserve borders.  For over 35 years, we have provided leadership to the Volunteer Stewardship Network and we have formal partnerships with the Chicago Park District and the U.S. Forest Service at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie to support their community engagement and stewardship programs.  Below are opportunities to lend a hand at some of the most precious natural areas beyond our preserves. 

Events at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington IL
Some featured opportunities are listed below.  To learn about all volunteer opportunities, please check out the Midewin volunteer web pages. You will find links to a variety of position descriptions, FAQs, the volunteer application, directions, Midewin’s history and mission, and more. You can also call the Welcome Center at (815) 423-6370 or visit at 30239 S. State Route 53, Wilmington, IL 60481.

Midewin - General Restoration Volunteer Days
These are scheduled every Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 
Activities change seasonally and may include seed harvest, seed processing, invasive removal, herbiciding, seed broadcasting, planting, trail maintenance, and more.  Many times we are working within locked gates, so the easiest times to leave are at lunchtime or to stay until the day wraps up at 2:30 p.m. Please RSVP to the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at (815) 423-2148.  Knowing how many volunteers will attend allows our project leaders to plan appropriately and notify you in case of cancellations or changes. Volunteers will meet at the Horticulture Building by 9:00 a.m., located at the headquarters at 30239 S. State Route 53, Wilmington, IL 60481. The horticulture building is located closest to the greenhouse. 

Events at Chicago Park District Locations
Contact information for specific events and volunteer service days at Chicago Park District natural areas are listed below.  A map of natural area locations across the city can be found here. For general questions, contact Forrest Cortes, Community Stewardship Coordinator, at Forrest.Cortes@ChicagoParkDistrict.com.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
April 5 & 12, May 31, June 21, July 19, August 2, September 6
Join the Lincoln Park Conservancy for “Hops and Habitat” at the Fullerton gate of the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (125 W. Fullerton Ave). Workday activities include planting, pulling invasive species, restoring trails, cleaning fences and mulching trees. Workdays are followed by an optional social gathering at a local restaurant. For additional info or to RSVP, please contact Aaron Hammond at ahammond@lincolnparkconservancy.org.

Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Lincoln Park
February 13 & 27; March 10 & 24; April 14 & 28; May 12 & 26; June 9 & 23; July 14 & 28; August 11 & 15; September 8 & 22; October 6, 20 & 27; November 10 & 17; December 8
Join the Lakeview Citizens Council in stewardship activities in and around the Sanctuary. We work rain, shine or snow, so be prepared. Work gloves and tools will be provided. Binoculars and instruction in how to use them will be available during break times. We meet at the east side of the Sanctuary (Addison Ave. and Lake Shore Drive, east of the totem pole) at the small garage near the viewing platform. Parking is north of the Sanctuary in the Waveland Golf Course lot.  Contact site steward Charlotte Newfeld at (773) 327-5053 for more information.

Bobolink Meadow
March 10, April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 15, October 13, November 10, December 8
Visit the Bobolink Volunteer web page for directions and more information, or contact Norm Bell and Gail Parry at (773) 288-1260.

Burnham Nature Sanctuary
March 3, April 7 & 21, May 5, June 2, July 7, August 4, September 8, October 6, November 3, December 1
Volunteer tasks vary each month but might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up.  Burnham Nature Sanctuary is located at 47th Street and Lake Shore Drive, at the southeast end of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor, enter driveway at 47th Street and Cornell. The Metra and several CTA bus stops are available less than two blocks from the nature sanctuary.  Parking passes are available for volunteers who drive. For more information, contact Kathleen Taylor at (773) 924-2738 or George Davis at (773) 268-4856.

Columbus Park
April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17
Team up with fellow community members to restore the natural area in Columbus Park! Meet behind the Refectory across from the golf course entrance at W. Jackson Blvd. and S. Golf Dr.  Workday activities can vary by season but may include brush removal, litter pickup, invasive species removal, and native plantings. For more information and to RSVP for a workday, email Laura at lbrentner@luc.edu.

Gompers Park
March 10, April 21, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8, October 13, November 10
Please join Gompers Park volunteers for a variety of activities including park clean up, mulching trees, invasive plant removal, plantings and more. Tools, gloves and refreshments provided. Meet at the Keeler parking lot (just south of Foster near the tennis courts).  Parking is available.  For more information contact Julie Newfield at jlnewfeld@gmail.com or (773) 710-7595.

Indian Ridge Marsh
May 12, June 6, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 13, November 10, December 15
Join Audubon Great Lakes, The Wetlands Initiative and the Chicago Park District to restore ecological health and integrity in prairie, savanna, wetland, and hemimarsh habitats at Indian Ridge Marsh in South Deering, Chicago. Work days will include introductions to habitat restoration, including: nature hikes, site clean up, seed collection, native plug planting, tree planting and seed  processing. All ages and experience levels welcome! Please wear a hat, long pants, long sleeves and boots you do not mind getting dirty! Tools, work gloves and snacks will be provided. For more information, or to RSVP, contact Teri Valenzuela at tvalenzuela@audubon.org.

Loyola Beach Dunes
April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 17
Meet at the entrance to the dune habitat at the west end of the pier, just North and East of Pratt Ave. For more information, contact Ann Whelan at (773) 743-2662 or phida50@aol.com.

McCormick Bird Sanctuary
March 25, April 22, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18
Join fellow volunteers to restore this habitat for migratory birds and butterflies. Stewardship tasks vary by season, but may include invasive species removal, native species planting, seed collection, litter pickup, and mulching. Meet at the Caracol Gathering Space, a little south of the sanctuary on the east side of the lakefront trail. To RSVP or to ask for more information, please contact Suzanne Erin at suzanne.erin@gmail.com.

McKinley Park Lagoon
March 17, April 22, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17
Please join the McKinley Park Advisory Council in beautifying and restoring our lagoon! Volunteer projects vary each month but might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. Families are welcome! Tools and work gloves will be provided. Meet on the west side of the lagoon, on the path between the lagoon and the soccer field.  Parking is available in the lot at 2210 W. Pershing Road. For more information, contact Katie Flores at katie.e.flores@gmail.com or Heather Breems at heatherbreems@gmail.com.

Montrose Beach Dunes
Select Saturdays Throughout 2018
Stewardship days occur April through October. Please contact Forrest Cortes at forrest.cortes@chicagoparkdistrict.com for additional information.  The dunes are located at the far East end of Montrose Beach. If driving, take Lake Shore Drive and exit at Montrose Avenue. Travel east along the harbor as the road winds to the right. Park along the harbor and walk north (away from the harbor) where you will soon see a flagpole next to the beach house and beach (bicycle riders, there is a lockup at the beach house). The dune habitat is to the right, next to the concrete fishing pier. It's the only vegetated portion of Montrose Beach.

Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary
Select Saturdays Throughout 2018
Contact Alycia Kluenenberg at akluenenberg@gmail.com for additional information. Meet at the "Magic Hedge" located on Montrose Ave., east of Lake Shore Dr. Drive east towards the lake and as the road turns north, take the first right by the bait shop. Continue to the nature area on the left, just before the harbor parking lot.  Parking is available on the street.

Nichols Wildflower Meadow
March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18
Contact Dan Brown at djpbrown@yahoo.com with any questions, to confirm the workdays, or to be informed of changes. Workday schedule is subject to change, so please check with the steward prior to the workday.  Meet in the meadow on E. 54th St. at the end of the cul-de-sac off S. Kenwood Ave. Dress in clothing approriate for working in brush, including close-toed shoes. Tools and gloves will be provided.

North Park Village Nature Center
Every Wednesday and Sunday, year-round, from 9:00 a.m. - noon.
Restore the woodland, wetland, and prairie communities in the nature preserve. Activities include planting native species and invasive species control. Registration is required. Please contact the Nature Center at (312) 744-5472 for additional information or to register. The Nature Center is located at 5801 N. Pulaski Rd., between Foster Ave. and Peterson Ave. Refreshments will be provided.

North Pond in Lincoln Park
April 21, May 19, June 2 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 25, September 8 & 29, October 13
Join the Lincoln Park Conservancy for the North Pond Gardeners Workdays in planting, pulling invasive species, restoring trails, cleaning fences and mulching trees. North Pond is located behind the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Meet on the plaza in the front of North Pond Restaurant (2610 N. Cannon Drive). Tools, gloves, and water will be provided. For additional info or to RSVP, please contact Aaron Hammond at ahammond@lincolnparkconservancy.org.

Palmisano Park
March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17
Join Bridgeport area friends and neighbors in activities such as invasive species control, weeding, litter removal, seed collection, and planting.  Gloves and tools are provided. Appropriate dress is strongly encouraged as we will be entering the prairie areas to work: wear long pants, closed toed shoes, hats, etc.  We meet at the southeast entrance at 29th and Halsted. Contact Carla Lents or Sam Ozik at stearnsquarry@gmail.com for more information.

Ping Tom Park
April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10
Join the Ping Tom Park Advisory Council and the Shedd Aquarium for community stewardship days through the Great Lake Action Days (GLADs) program at Ping Tom Park. Contact site steward Jackie Grom at jgrom@sheddaquarium.org for details or to confirm workdays. Enter the park on 19th street, just West of S. Wentworth Ave, make a right at the pagoda, then walk North along the river and meet at the Urban Kayaks boathouse.

Portage Park Nature Garden
Select Saturdays throughout 2018
Join community stewards for cleanup and restoration days. The nature garden is located in the Southeast corner of Portage Park. Contact Renata Listopad at renatalistopad@yahoo.com or Becky Collings for details at beckyschillo@gmail.com.

Rainbow Beach Dunes
April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8, October 13
Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, southeast end of the beach. Directions and details can be found here. Contact co-stewards Alison and Jen with questions at rbdstewardship@gmail.com.

Ronan Park
March 10, April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8, October 13, November 10
Join neighbors and friends to help enhance Ronan Park natural area. Volunteers should bring a water bottle and weather–appropriate clothing, and must sign a waiver upon arrival.  Tools and gloves will be provided.  We will meet at the N. Shore Channel Bike Trail and W. Argyle St.  To RSVP or for more info, email stewardship@chicagoparkdistrict.com.

South Shore Nature Sanctuary
April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20
Meet behind the cultural center, at the entrance to the sanctuary (near the restroom/lifeguard building at South Shore Beach). Volunteers should bring a water bottle and weather–appropriate clothing, and must sign a waiver upon arrival.  Tools and gloves will be provided.  For more information contact Jerry Levy at (312) 832-1616 (day), or (773) 955-6384 (evening).

Washington Park
Select Saturdays throughout 2018
Meet at the Fountain of Time located west of S. Cottage Grove Avenue on axis with Midway Plaisance. For more information please contact Madiem Kawa at (773) 203-3418, RSVP prior to workday.

West Ridge Nature Preserve
Select Saturdays throughout 2018
Join the West Ridge Nature Preserve Park Advisory council for community stewardship days. Activities may include invasive species removal, native seed collection and dispersal, and litter cleanup.  Gloves and tools will be provided.  For more information, email steward Tom Murphy at tjm2040@rcn.com or visit www.westridgenaturepreserve.org

Wooded Island
March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17
Meet at the Darrow Bridge, south of the Museum of Science & Industry. Take Lake Shore Dr. to Science Dr. (5800 South), turn west at the light onto Science Dr. and go left to the Music Court Parking Lot. The Darrow Bridge is on the west side of the parking lot.  For more information contact Jerry Levy at (312) 832-1616 (day) or (773) 955-6384 (evening).

12th Street Beach
April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10
Join the Shedd Aquarium for restoration and cleanup days through the Great Lake Action Days (GLADs) program at 12th Street Beach. Contact site steward Jackie Grom at jgrom@sheddaquarium.org for details or to confirm workdays.

63rd Street Beach
April 27, May 25, June 9, July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26
Join the Shedd Aquarium for restoration and cleanup days through the Great Lake Action Days (GLADs) program at 63rd Street Beach. Contact site steward Jackie Grom at jgrom@sheddaquarium.org for details or to confirm workdays.

Volunteer Stewardship Network
To connect with opportunities beyond the list above, check out our interactive map and find an organization in your neighborhood.
 

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