Volunteers planting and harvesting seed


Volunteer Position Description - General Restoration Volunteer 

Assist Midewin’s Ecologist, Native Plant Specialist, and Invasive Species Specialist with natural areas restoration and management one of the nation’s largest tallgrass prairie restoration efforts.  Restoration assistants help directly with part one of our mission to conserve, restore, and enhance the native populations and habitats of fish, wildlife, and plants.  Native biodiversity must be protected and restored because there is only 0.01% prairie habitat left in Illinois (The Prairie State).

General Restoration volunteer days are scheduled every Thursday from 9:00am-2:30pm.  RSVP to the Volunteer Coordinator or use your Volgistics account to schedule yourself.  Knowing how many volunteers will attend allows our project leaders to plan appropriately, and so that we can contact you in case of cancellations or changes.  Park in the main lot and meet at the Horticulture Building by the greenhouse by 9:00am.   

Activities change seasonally and may include seed harvest, seed processing, invasive removal, herbiciding, seed broadcasting, planting, trail maintenance, and more.  Most volunteer activities require carpooling from the horticulture building to other work areas.  Volunteers typically ride in a Forest Service truck or take personal vehicles.  Many times we are within locked gates, so the easiest times to leave are at lunchtime or stay until 2:30pm. 

You must wear long pants and field boots with closed toes.  Absolutely no shorts or sandals.  Wear layers that can be taken on or off as needed.  Even on warm days, bring a light, long sleeved shirt to protect your arms from vegetation and woody material that can scratch and irritate your skin.  For your own comfort, you may want to wear your own garden/work gloves.  Midewin will provide tools, materials, safety gear, and drinking water.  Please bring your own sunscreen, insect repellant, sunglasses and water bottle.

We usually have three Saturdays planned each year, which are the Earth Day celebration for pulling garlic mustard in April; prairie planting in June; and National Public Lands Day with multiple activities in September.  Additional Saturdays may be scheduled as needed.  

Key Contacts


Allison Cisneros

Volunteer Coordinator

(815) 423-2149

Kathryn Gorman

Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

(815) 423-2148