Through the program, volunteer Community Stewards and other volunteers work collaboratively with Chicago Park District staff and contractors to protect, maintain, and restore the natural integrity of their adopted natural area. A Community Steward coordinates and oversees volunteer engagement of a Chicago Park District natural area, and also serves as an advocate for the designated natural area, acting as a liaison between the community and the Chicago Park District.
Volunteering at a Community Stewardship Workday
Stewardship workdays vary by site and time of year, but can include tasks such as litter pickup, trail mulching, invasive plant removal, native plant installation, as well as fun nature-based activities such as birding and plant identification walks. Participants can volunteer at workdays as often as they like and tailor their volunteer experience according to their own schedules and interests.
Volunteering in the Natural Areas offers many benefits, including learning about native Illinois flora and fauna, gaining hands-on experience in ecological restoration, developing leadership skills, connecting people to nature, and fostering an environmental ethic in the city of Chicago. While opportunities are limited, people interested in becoming a volunteer Community Steward should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Below are a list of volunteer roles. Please see the Community Stewardship Program Policy Guide for more details.
Lead/Assistant Stewards serve as the primary point of contact with CPD staff and are responsible for overall coordination of workdays. Lead and Assistant Stewards must be at least 18 years old and commit to a minimum of 2 years of service to the group. Lead and Assistant Stewards must complete a Chicago Park District Volunteer Application and clear a background check before beginning service.
Greeters welcome and orientate workday volunteers, administer waivers, and engage with park patrons to promote the program, workdays, and benefits of natural areas. Greeters must be at least 18 years old and commit to a minimum of 1 year of service to the group. Greeters Greeters must complete a Chicago Park District Volunteer Application and clear a background check before beginning service.
Apprentice Stewards must be at least 16 years old and commit to one year of service to the Group. Apprentice under the age of 18 must have parental consent. Apprentice Stewards must complete a Chicago Park District Volunteer Application.
Nature Ambassadors collaborate with CPD and the Lead Steward to offer nature walks or other nature-based learning opportunities as part of workdays,. Nature Ambassadors must be at least 18 years old. Nature Ambassadors must complete a Chicago Park District Volunteer Application before beginning service.
Workday Volunteers without a formal role are welcome to participate in workdays, no application is required. Youth volunteers age 13 or over must be accompanied by a parent on their first visit. Volunteers under the age of 13 must always be accompanied by a parent or guardian.