The Chicagoland area is the priority at this time

Forest preserves of cook county

If you have time, skills and enthusiasm to give, we are your Forest Preserves. With nearly 70,000 acres, there are endless opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved.

Featured Opportunity: Possum Hollow Volunteer Days
Help us to take care of our reservations! We need you to protect our oaks and rivers. Come and enjoy nature and learn how to identify native and introduced plants.

Volunteer dates and time occur every 3rd Sunday of the month, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  at Possum Hollow

  • Sunday, December 17
  • Sunday, January 21
  • Sunday, February 18

Registration Link:


Summer and Fall Volunteer Days - Register

Join founder and social entrepreneur Steve Hughes, our friends from Little Nature's Recyclers and volunteers from across the city and get your hands dirty! Meet other community members that are interested in gardening, farmers markets and urban agriculture, while learning more about OTIS Fresh Farm and collaborating with our gardening community.  

Volunteering activities at OTIS Fresh Farm may include clean up, tool organizing, planting seeds, transplanting into soil, painting and other mild physical labor activities. 

Get free training in an urban friendly environment about:
• Recycling and Composting
• Starting a garden
• Collecting rain water
• Traditional gardening techniques

Help us stabilize and prepare a local, urban farm for production to give the Bronzeville and Chicago community access to fresh vegetable and fruits. It will also give insight to those wanting to know how to grow food in an urban environment. 

Please bring closed shoes, sunscreen, hat, and water. 

2616 South Calumet Avenue (Bronzeville Neighborhood)
Chicago, IL 60616

11:00-11:30 am
Volunteer introduction and farm tour by founder Steve Hughes
Garden work
Hang out and breakdown

Bring them over and receive a free certificate for our garden crops!

Plant Chicago!

Ongoing volunteer opportunities include aquaponic farm maintenance, mushroom fruiting chamber harvest/cleaning, farmers market setup/take down, giving tours, community outreach and assistance with educational programming. 

Once oriented, feel free to join them any Saturday for one of the following shifts: 10 am - 1 pm, 2 pm - 5 pm or the full day 10 am - 5 pm (full day volunteers are welcome to join them for a free vegan lunch). 

Friends of the Forest Preserve!

Centennial Volunteers - Be a part of forest and river revitalization by joining an inspiring movement of volunteers gathering to restore five special sites along the Chicago and Calumet Rivers

Corporate Team Building Days - The 69,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County offer unrivaled physical, intellectual and creative team-building experiences that invigorate company morale and performance. 

Path to Stewardship - People are the key to healthy forest preserves! The Path to Stewardship is open to any volunteer wanting to increase their dedication to restoring healthy nature. Field experience, classes, and mentoring give you the qualifications you need to become a leader.

If you are interested, you can sign up and get more information here.

Shedd Aquarium! 

If you're passionate about aquatic life, and you love to learn, teach and inspire, you'll be a great volunteer! Apply here if interested.

Lincoln Park Zoo!

Please view and click on the individual options listed to learn more about the volunteer opportunities. If you find one or more of interest, please fill out the online volunteer application. A member of the Volunteer Services Department will contact you to arrange an interview.