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Lake Katherine
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are a vital part of Lake Katherine. Are you interested in...

  • Volunteering to help preserve the mission of Lake Katherine?
  • Working in a peaceful, beautiful natural setting?
  • Performing volunteer work with others who share your love of Lake Katherine?
  • Contributing your time and talent to an organization that you believe in?
  • Broadening your resume and/or life experiences?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Lake Katherine has some spectacular volunteer opportunities for you. Take a look at the descriptions below to learn more about our volunteering areas. Volunteers typically work at least one shift per month, though many prefer to volunteer more often. Most volunteer opportunities are during the week, however Saturday opportunities are available for some positions.

To apply, download the Volunteer Application Form.  Please mail or drop off the completed form to Lake Katherine.  You will be contacted with further details after we receive your application. For further information contact about volunteering at Lake Katherine, contact Shamim Graff at (708) 361-1873 or

Ecological Restoration
Ecological restoration volunteers help maintain and repair over three miles of hiking trails and care for 85 acres of wildlife habitat as part of restoration teams. Teams help to eradicate invasive exotic plant species and perform general restoration activities in their assigned area, including, but not limited to brush clearing, planting, seed collecting, burning, etc. Volunteers generally work at least one four-hour shift per month, but may prefer a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. Volunteers begin working with a team of volunteers, but may choose to work independently after learning basic restoration skills.

Education volunteers are assigned to one of four areas, depending on their individual interests, skills and availability. In general, education volunteers should be enthusiastic and comfortable interacting with the public, especially children under the age of 12.
~ Animal Ambassadors
Volunteers help care for and educate visitors about the animals in the nature center. This includes feeding, cleaning enclosures and occasional handling. Volunteers will also learn about each animal in their care and educate visitors about them. Volunteers typically work two weekday shifts per month or one weekend shift per month. We currently have a waiting list for new Animal Ambassador volunteers.
~ Camp Counselors
Camp counselors assist and contribute to the weekly planning and implementation of summer camp activities. Camp counselors must attend a training session before starting.
~ Field Trips
Volunteers introduce children to the wonders of nature. They lead field trips through the gardens and trails of Lake Katherine and lead activities inside the Nature Center. Field trips are generally booked from March through November, with May and October being the busiest months.

Lake Katherine's gardens are maintained through the work of dedicated volunteers. Each garden is maintained by one or more volunteers throughout the year. Garden volunteers meet with the Operations Manager in early spring each year to discuss the plan for each garden. Duties include watering, weeding, raking, pruning, mulching and planting. Gardening experience is preferred.

Grounds volunteers assist with a variety of needs around the grounds and tasks may vary depending on the season. Experience with hand tools and general maintenance is preferred.
~ Maintenance
Volunteers assist in the repair, construction, and upkeep of the facility. Jobs include painting, repairing of fences, window cleaning, and sweeping. Volunteers regularly walk the grounds, addressing maintenance issues as needed.
~ Canoe/Kayak Attendant
Volunteer attendants work with part-time staff to assist visitors with canoes and kayak rentals. This involves giving visitors an orientation to paddling and safety and helping them get in and out of the water. Volunteers typically work the same day each week through the season.

Guest Relations
Guest relations volunteers help make our visitors feel welcome, tending to various needs, including way-finding, making purchases and learning more about our programs.
~ Welcome Desk
Welcome Desk volunteers work four-hour shifts, either year-round or seasonally. Some volunteers choose to work a weekly schedule, while others fill in as needed. They help staff the welcome desk, answering phones, greeting visitors, and answering visitor questions. They also handle gift shop sales, register participants for programs, answer questions about facility rentals and help tidy the nature center.
~ Clubhouse
Clubhouse volunteers work May through October, typically four hours a week. They are available to answer visitor questions and show the clubhouse to prospective renters, as well as perform regular cleaning of the clubhouse.

Scientific Research & Citizen Science
There are many opportunities for research at Lake Katherine. By monitoring plant and animal populations, water quality and other data, we can better assess the efforts of our restoration efforts. We also provide opportunities for visitors to get involved with science at Lake Katherine. Volunteers collect data as part of field research and citizen science at Lake Katherine. Currently we are collecting data for our Atlas of Life, Project Budburst, Project FeederWatch and the Illinois Odonate Survey.


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© 2017 Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens | Palos Heights, IL. All Rights Reserved.
Lake Katherine is owned and supported by the City of Palos Heights and managed by Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens.
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