Volunteer workdays take place at various natural areas across the city of Chicago. Workdays are led by trained Community Stewards. Activities differ by site and time of year, and can include tasks such as invasive plant removal, native plantings, litter pickup, trail mulching, as well as nature-based activities like birding and plant identification walks. ​​​​​​

Come join us!

 

 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the park district's Community Stewardship Program. To have the best experience please review the following information:

  • Dates and times are subject to change and capacity varies by location. RSVP with the Steward listed for each site to ensure you receive updated information for each workday/event.
  • All participants must sign a liability waiver before beginning work (available at the workday).
  • Dress for the weather and wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty. Long pants and closed toe shoes are highly recommended.
  • A water bottle and hat are recommended.
  • If you have a favorite pair of work gloves, bring them; however we do provide gloves.
  • Most volunteer locations do not have bathrooms, please plan accordingly.

Group Volunteer Opportunities

To learn more about group volunteer opportunities, visit: www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/get-involved/volunteer.
 


For additional information about the Community Stewardship Program, please email stewardship@chicagoparkdistrict.com.


2024 Community Stewardship Workdays

Click on a natural area from the list below to see its workday information:

12th St. Beach Dunes (Northerly Island Park)
63rd St. Beach Dunes (Jackson Park)
Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary (Lincoln Park)
Bobolink Meadow (Jackson)
Burnham Nature Sanctuary
Calumet Beach
Canal Origins Natural Area
Columbia Basin (Jackson)
Columbus Park Natural Area
Garfield Park Natural Area
Humboldt Park Natural Area
Leone Beach Dunes
Loyola Beach Dunes
McKinley Park Natural Area
Montrose Beach Dunes (Lincoln Park)
Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary (Lincoln Park)
Nichols Meadow
North Park Village Nature Center
North Pond (Lincoln Park)
Osterman Beach Dunes (Lincoln Park)
Palmisano Park Natural Area
Park 601 "Dunning Read Natural Area"
Ping Tom Memorial Park Natural Area
Portage Park Nature Garden
Rainbow Beach Dunes
River Park Natural Area
Rutherford-Sayre Natural Area
South Shore Nature Sanctuary
Washington Park Natural Area
West Ridge Natural Area
Wooded Island (Jackson Park)

12th St. Beach Dunes in Northerly Island Park
12th St. at Lake Michigan (south of the concessions on the south side of Adler Planetarium)

10:00AM–12:00PM on select Wednesdays

  • April 3
  • May 1
  • June 5
  • July 3
  • August 7
  • September 4
  • October 2

Join the Shedd Aquarium for restoration and cleanup days through the Shedd Aquarium Action Days. For more information and to RSVP, email ActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.

63rd St. Beach Dunes in Jackson Park
6300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr.

10:00AM–12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Join the Shedd Aquarium for restoration and cleanup days through the Shedd Aquarium Action Days. For more information and to RSVP, email ActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.

Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Lincoln Park
Addison and DuSable Lake Shore Dr. (near the lake)

9:00AM–2:00PM on Saturdays

  • January 13 & 27
  • February 10 & 24
  • March 9 & 23
  • April 13 & 27
  • May 11 & 18
  • June 8 & 22
  • July 13 & 27
  • August 10 & 26
  • September 14 & 28
  • October 12 & 26
  • November 9 & 23
  • December 14 & 28

We meet at the garage on the right as you walk east toward Lake Michigan from Addison and DuSable Lake Shore Drive (view location on Google Maps). We work rain or shine; please dress appropriately. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Vera Rast at alix1@att.net.

9:00AM–12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • March 9
  • April 13
  • May 11
  • June 8
  • July 13
  • August 10
  • September 28
  • October 12
  • November 9

Join neighbors and friends for workdays. Volunteer tasks vary each month and might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. Meet at the south entrance of the Bobolink Meadow at Jackson Park. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Stewards Norm Bell and Gail Parry at normwbell@gmail.com.

Burnham Nature Sanctuary 
47th St. and Cornell Drive (west of Lake Shore Drive)

Workdays: 9:00AM–12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • March 2
  • April 6
  • April 20
  • May 4
  • June 1
  • July 6
  • August 3
  • September 7
  • October 5
  • November 2

Volunteer tasks vary each month and might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. The Metra and several CTA bus stops are available less than two blocks from the nature sanctuary. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Kathleen Taylor at taylorkathl@aol.com.

Burnham Nature Sanctuary Nature Walks: on select Sundays, approximately 1.25 miles, from 9:30AM–11:30AM For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward George Davis at kenwoodgwd@yahoo.com.

  • February 4
  • March 17
  • May 5
  • June 23
  • August 4
  • September 22
  • November 3
  • December 22 

Calumet Beach 
Meet at the Calumet Beach House at Lake Michigan, southeast of Ave. G and 100th Dr.

From 10AM–1PM on the last Saturday of the month, June through October. Litter clean-up and habitat management activities occur 10AM–12PM followed by rotating community workshops from 12PM–1PM.

  • June 29
  • July 27
  • August 31
  • September 28
  • October 26

Join Southeast Youth Alliance, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Bridges//Puentes, and Shedd Aquarium to help clean up Calumet Beach! Each month we will sweep the beach and park for trash while keeping track of what we find. We may also help with the planting of native plants or collection of native seeds at Calumet Beach Dunes. After helping out the park we gather together for snacks and host workshops that can include activities such as making art or doing scavenger hunts! For more information and to RSVP, email ActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.

Canal Origins Natural Area
2701 S. Ashland Ave.

10AM–12PM on select Saturdays

Volunteer tasks vary each month but typically focus on trash pick-up. Activities might include trail maintenance, planting native plants, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, and native seed collection. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.chicagoriver.org/events or email Community Steward Annette Anderson at aanderson@chicagoriver.org.

Columbia Basin in Jackson Park
South of Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr.

  • March 3 from 10AM–12PM

Team up with fellow community members to restore a natural edge to the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park! Meet behind the Museum of Science and Industry. Workday activities can vary by season but typically include brush removal, litter pickup, invasive species removal, and native plantings. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Nancy Joseph at njoseph2008@aol.com.

Columbus Park Natural Area 
Jackson Blvd. and Golf Dr. (west of Central Ave.)

9:30AM–11:30AM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Team up with fellow community members to restore the natural area in Columbus Park! Meet in the southeast corner of the parking lot behind the Refectory. Workday activities can vary by season and may include brush removal, litter pickup, invasive species removal, and native plantings. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Laura Brentner at lbrentner@luc.edu.

Garfield Park Natural Area
100 N. Central Park (at the Gold Dome)

Workdays: 10AM–12PM on select Saturdays

  • May 16
  • June 29
  • September 7
  • October 12

Workday activities can vary by season and may include invasive and weedy plant removal, planting native plants, and litter pickup. Other events:

  • Sunday, April 21 from 8AM–10AM: Earth Day birding with Chicago BIPOC Birders
  • Thursday, July 18th from 5:30PM–7:30PM: Garfield Park Nature Walk

For workdays and nature walks, meet east of the Gold Dome fieldhouse, next to the statue. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Carol G. Johnson at wshps2017@gmail.com.

Humboldt Park Natural Area
1440 N. Humboldt Blvd. (stairs outside the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse)

Workdays: 10AM–12PM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Workday activities can vary by season and may include invasive and weedy plant removal, planting native plants, and litter pickup. For more information and to RSVP, contact Community Steward Olive Autumn at humboldtsteward@gmail.com.

Leone Beach Dunes
1222 W. Touhy (east of Sheridan)

9:30AM-12:30PM on select Sundays

  • April 28
  • May 26
  • June 23
  • July 28
  • August 25
  • September 22
  • October 27

The east side, closest to Lake Michigan is being restored as a sand prairie. The west and north sides of the building are being restored as a black oak savanna. Meet at Leone Beach Park, 1222 W. Touhy, the oldest building on Chicago’s lakefront. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Ann Whelan at leone.nature@gmail.com.

Loyola Beach Dunes 
Pratt Avenue (6800 N) & Lake Michigan

9:30AM–12:30PM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Meet at the entrance to the dune habitat at the west end of the pier at Pratt Ave. (6800 N) and Farwell Ave. (6900 N). For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Ann Whelan at dune.steward@gmail.com.

McKinley Park Natural Area
2020 W. Pershing Rd. (approx.) and Damen Ave. (meet at tree stump circle north of Pershing on Damen)

10:00AM to 12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Volunteer tasks vary each month but might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Nicholas Efrosinis at mkpgarden@gmail.com.

Montrose Beach Dunes in Lincoln Park
Montrose Ave. and Montrose Harbor Dr. (southeast end of Montrose Beach)

9:00AM to 12:00PM on select weekends

  • March 23
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 22
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 20 — joint workday with Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary volunteers

Meet at the southern end of Montrose Beach Dunes, which begins along the stone wall at the far southeast end of Montrose Beach. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Mark Kolasa at montrosedunesnaturalarea@gmail.com.

Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary in Lincoln Park
Montrose Ave. and Montrose Harbor Dr. Dr. (east of the harbor)

9:00AM to 12:00PM on select weekends

  • April 14
  • May 11
  • June 8
  • July 13
  • August 10
  • September 8
  • October 20 — joint workday with Montrose Beach Dunes volunteers

Meet at the entrance to the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. Traveling east on Montrose, pass Lake Shore Drive, as the road turns north, make a right at the bait shop. Travel to just before the harbor parking lot, look for Community Stewards on the right. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Alycia Kluenenberg at akluenenberg@gmail.com.

Nichols Meadow
54th St. between Kimbark Ave. and Kenwood Ave.

3:00PM to 5:00PM on select Sundays

  • March 17
  • April 21
  • May 19
  • June 9
  • June 30
  • July 21
  • August 18
  • September 15
  • October 20
  • November 17

Meet in the natural area on East 54th St. at the end of the cul-de-sac off S. Kimbark Ave. It is a small space and easy to find people. Dress in clothing appropriate for working in brush, including close-toed shoes. Tools and gloves will be provided, or bring your own if you prefer. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Stewards Dan Brown djpbrown@yahoo.com or Dave White at dmwhite01@yahoo.com.

North Park Village Nature Center 
5801 N. Pulaski Rd. (follow signs to Nature Center)

9:00AM–12:00PM every Wednesday and Sunday (year-round)

Work in the woodland, wetland, and prairie communities in the natural area. Activities include planting native species and invasive species control. Registration is required. Contact the Nature Center at 312-744-5472 to RSVP.

North Pond in Lincoln Park
2610 N. Cannon Dr. (near Fullerton)

9:00AM–11:00AM on select Saturdays

  • April 20 – Earth Day
  • June 1
  • June 15
  • July 13
  • July 27
  • August 10
  • August 24
  • September 7
  • September 28 – National Public Lands Day

Join the Lincoln Park Conservancy’s North Pond Gardeners. Help us improve our natural areas by pulling weeds and removing litter. North Pond is located west of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. For more information or to RSVP, email Community Steward Maeve Callaghan at mcallaghan@lincolnparkconservancy.org.

Osterman Beach Dunes in Lincoln Park
Ardmore Ave (5800 N) and Lakefront Trail entrance

10:30AM–12:30PM on select Sundays

  • April 28
  • May 19
  • June 30
  • July 28
  • August 25
  • September 29
  • October 27

Join friends and neighbors to help clean up and restore the natural area at Kathy Osterman Beach Dunes (also known as Hollywood/Ardmore). Meet at the south side of the beach house just off Hollywood Ave. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Afterwards, stick around to enjoy the sun and a swim in the lake. Please bring your own water bottle and dress for the weather with closed-toe shoes: we have sand burs! There are accessible places off paved pathways to sit; and water, bike racks, and restrooms right by the meeting place. The activities take place in mostly flat and sandy areas that may be difficult to traverse for people with mobility challenges. Parking in the area is limited to what you can find on nearby streets. Biking, walking, carpooling, or public transit are recommended. Contact volunteer Community Stewards Renee Patten at ostermanbeachnaturalarea@gmail.com with questions. 

Palmisano Park Natural Area 
Halsted. and 29th St. (across from the McGuane Park Field House)

Monthly on select Saturdays (times vary)

  • April 27, 1PM–3PM (download the iNaturalist app to participate in the City Nature Challenge 2024)
  • May 18, 9AM–11AM
  • June 22, 7AM–9AM
  • July 27, 7AM–9AM
  • August 24, 7AM–9AM
  • September 21, 9AM–11AM
  • October 19, 9AM–11AM

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, hat. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Carla Lents at stearnsquarry@gmail.com.

Park 601 "Dunning Read Natural Area" 
4200 N. Oak Park Ave. (follow brown signs to Lot C within Chicago Read Mental Health Center)

9:00AM–12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • January 20
  • February 17
  • March 16
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19
  • November 16
  • December 21

Activities may include invasive and weedy plant removal, native plantings, litter pickup, trail mulching, as well as nature-based activities like birding and plant identification walks. There is ample parking accessed through the Chicago Read Mental Health Center entrance on the west side of Oak Park: follow the brown signs to Lot C. Work gloves and tools will be provided, bring your own water and/or snack. Note: there are no restrooms on site. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Jeff Daube at corvus007@hotmail.com.

Ping Tom Memorial Park Natural Area 
Wentworth Ave. and 19th St. (along the Chicago River)

10:00AM– 12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • April 13
  • May 11
  • June 8
  • July 13
  • August 10
  • September 14
  • October 12

Join the Shedd Aquarium for restoration and cleanup workdays through the Shedd Aquarium Action Days. Enter the park on 19th St., just west of Wentworth Ave., make a right at the pagoda, then walk north along the river and meet near the Urban Kayaks boathouse. For more information and to RSVP, email ActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.

Portage Park Nature Garden
5424 W. Irving Park

9:30AM–11:30AM on select Saturdays

  • May 18
  • June 8
  • September 14

Join Community Stewards to help care for the Portage Park Nature Garden. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Renata Listopad at renatalistopad@yahoo.com.

Rainbow Beach Dunes 
77th St. and Lake Michigan (cars enter at 79th St.)

10:00AM-12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • April 27
  • May 25
  • June 22
  • July 27
  • August 24
  • September 28

Join neighbors and friends for habitat restoration workdays. Volunteer tasks vary each month and might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. Meet at the entrance off the parking lot at the southeast end of the beach. For more information and to RSVP, contact Community Steward Jacob Klippenstein at https://rainbowbeachdunes.wordpress.com/rsvp/

River Park Natural Area
5100 N. Francisco Ave.

  • April 20, 9AM–12PM — Earth Day Clean-up
  • May 11, 9AM–12PM — Chicago River Day Trail Mulching
  • June 1, 9AM–12PM — It's Your Park Day Trail Mulching
  • July 5, 9AM–12PM — Fireworks Clean-up
  • August 17, 8AM–10AM — Native Plant and Bird Identification
  • September 21, 10AM–12PM — Native Seed Collecting
  • October 26, 10AM–12PM — Native Planting Day

Volunteer tasks vary each month, including trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection, or trash pick-up. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Raed Mansour at riverparksteward@gmail.com.

Rutherford-Sayre Natural Area
2200 N. Newland Ave.

9:00AM-11:00PM on select Saturdays

  • May 11
  • June 30
  • September 14
  • October 27

Volunteer tasks vary each month but might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Tom Drebenstedt at chilstedt@sbcglobal.net.

South Shore Nature Sanctuary 
7059 S. South Shore Dr. (south of the beach)

10:00AM-12:00PM on select Saturdays 

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20 
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19

Meet behind the South Shore Cultural Center, south of the beach house. Volunteers should bring a water bottle and wear weather-appropriate clothing. Tools and gloves will be provided. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Susannah Ribstein at susannahbet@gmail.com.

Washington Park Natural Area
Southwest of Payne Dr. and 57th St (south of the comfort station)

9:00AM-11:00AM on select Saturdays

  • April 27
  • May 25
  • June 22
  • July 27
  • August 24
  • September 28
  • October 26
  • November 23

Volunteer tasks vary each month but might include trail maintenance, planting, pruning, weeding, controlling invasive plant species, seed collection or trash pick-up. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Jackie Smith at washingtonparkstewardship@gmail.com.

West Ridge Natural Area
5801 N. Western Ave.

10:00AM-12:00PM on select Saturdays

  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19
  • November 16
  • December 21

Join the West Ridge Nature Park Advisory Council for volunteer activities, which may include invasive species removal, native seed collection and dispersal, and litter cleanup. Gloves and tools will be provided. CTA Bus #49B. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Tom Murphy at tjmurphy4@comcast.net.

Wooded Island in Jackson Park
North of Hayes Dr. (also known as 63rd St.) and east of Cornell Dr.

10:00AM–12:30PM on select Saturdays (except where otherwise listed)

  • March 16
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15
  • June 20 (Thursday)
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
  • October 19
  • November 16
  • December 21

Meet at the north bridge, just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Street parking is available on Stony Island and 59th Street depending on surrounding construction. There is also a Metra stop and a CTA bus stop near 59th and Stony Island. For more information and to RSVP, email Community Steward Jerry Levy at sjlevy@jeromelevylaw.com.


For additional information about the Community Stewardship Program, please contact stewardship@chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Documents

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Community Stewardship YOUTH Liability Waiver.pdf278.09 KB 278.09 KB