How You Can Volunteer
Rock Springs Nature Center
Rock Springs Nature Center offers many indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities. Some activities include:
Volunteers stationed at the Information Desk inside the nature center greet patrons, answer questions, and assist staff with various projects. Morning and afternoon shifts are available every day of the week.
The conservation district’s library holds a generous collection of books and periodicals for Macon County residents to use. Volunteers staff the reference library, help people find materials, and catalog items.
With several thousand Prairie Islander newsletters mailed out quarterly each year, we need volunteers to help put a mailing address labels on each newsletter! This opportunity occurs four times a year.
Volunteers help with special projects from time to time. For example, database entry, bird house building, photography, or cutting out items for craft projects, just to name a few. Ask us about special projects to see if there is something for you!
Work with education staff to help bring exciting programs to your community. Volunteers assist with presentations, special events, or work with the thousands of school children who visit the district each year. We will provide any necessary training. Volunteer options include:
- School Programs
- Workshop Presentations
- Hike Leaders
Volunteers assist with many projects at all the conservation areas. You can help to preserve beautiful natural areas, monitor critical bird species, and count wildlife. Volunteers are needed for projects such as:
Bluebird Trail Monitor
Throughout the spring and summer seasons volunteers monitor bluebird houses at several district sites collecting data on the bluebird population.
Natural Restoration Volunteers
Help remove invasive species from district areas and protect wildlife diversity. A variety of opportunities are available throughout the year including collecting native plant seeds, pulling garlic mustard plants, and bringing the sugar maple population back under control.
Volunteers hike district trails on a monthly basis monitoring condition, litter, wildlife, and trail use. The conservation district maintains trails at Rock Springs, Griswold, Fort Daniel, Friends Creek, and Sand Creek Conservation Areas.
Every year thousands of school children visit the district for programs and nature hikes. Volunteers are always needed to lead hikes and assist staff with educational programs. Most programs take place at Rock Springs Conservation Area.
Join talented staff in bringing Macon County history to life! Opportunities abound during history events and at historic sites, including:
Prairie Heritage Volunteer
The Homestead Prairie Farm located at Rock Springs Conservation Area is a period 1860 home used to make the days before the Civil War come to life for visitors. Volunteers help lead tours throughout the year and assist with maintenance through projects such as painting, sidewalk repair, and other light mechanical projects as needed. Stay up to date on these volunteer opportunities by subscribing to the Homestead Prairie Astounder newsletter or attending the monthly meeting.
Volunteers come together every other week at Rock Springs Nature Center to practice playing the dulcimer instrument. This group also performs throughout the year at district events or programs and throughout the community.
Quilting or Sewing
A group of quilters meets every Wednesday at Rock Springs Nature Center to demonstrate quilting the old-fashioned way. These volunteers also help sew period clothing for Homestead Prairie Farm volunteers. Sewing projects can be completed in your home. Volunteers will need their own sewing machine if they desire to use one.
Governor Oglesby Mansion
Throughout the year groups schedule luncheons and dinners at the mansion and volunteers are always needed to cook and help serve the meals. Volunteers may also lead tours through the mansion for the public. These unique opportunities are a lot of fun and a chance to spend some time in one of Decatur’s premier historical houses. The Governor Oglesby Mansion is located at 421 W. William St., Decatur, IL.
Ground Squirrels Vintage Base Ball Team
The Ground Squirrels play the game of base ball as it was played in 1860. The team competes against other vintage ball clubs across the region. Their home field is located at Rock Springs Conservation Area.
Young volunteers can make a difference in the community, too. They’ll learn about nature and our rich cultural heritage as they help in areas such as:
- Summer Camp Youth Leaders
- Historical Program Assistance
- Environmental Program Assistance
Seasonal & Special Events
Cross Country Ski Rental
Whenever there is at least four inches of snow on the ground, the district rents skis to the public. Volunteers help collect money and assist with handing out equipment. This volunteer assignment is on an on-call basis, depending on weather conditions.
Summer Day Camp Volunteer
These volunteers assist camp counselors with activities, hikes, and coordinating day camps. Volunteers attend a short training session and are required to wear a camp t-shirt and name tag when they volunteer. We offer both nature and history themed camps.
Festival of Spring
This one-day festival happens every April and a large number of dedicated volunteers are needed to greet visitors, help with children’s activities, canoeing, and much more!
This annual event takes place at Friends Creek Conservation Area in late summer. Volunteers help with children’s crafts, hand out door prizes, and assist the public with telescopes.
This bicycle fundraising event occurs every September and is sponsored by the Macon County Conservation Foundation. Proceeds benefit natural area restoration efforts. Volunteers assist with registration, food service, and at rest stops along the bicycle routes.
Fall Harvest Festival
Held annually in October, this fall festival needs volunteers to help with children’s crafts and activities, marshmallow roasting, storytelling, and more.