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

Individual 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 wonderful volunteer opportunities for you. With several different areas to volunteer in, there's something for almost everyone.

Volunteers commit to performing forty hours of service per year, usually done as weekly or bi-weekly shifts during the season. Most volunteer opportunities are limited to week days during our working hours, however Saturday opportunities are available for some positions after initial training.

To apply, download the Volunteer Application Form.  Please mail or drop off the completed form to the Nature Center. If you have questions about volunteering at Lake Katherine, please contact Shamim at (708) 361-1873 or Please note: We are taking applications for new volunteers, however we will not be processing applications until the mid-March. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Please note: If you only need to complete service hours, please visit our Community Service Opportunities page.

Ecological Restoration
Ecological restoration volunteers help maintain and repair over three miles of hiking trails and care for 85 acres of wildlife habitat. Volunteers eradicate invasive exotic plant species and perform general restoration activities including brush clearing, planting, and seed collecting. Volunteers begin working with a team of volunteers, but may choose to work independently after learning basic restoration skills.

Education volunteers assist with the various education programs we offer. In general, education volunteers should be enthusiastic, able to work independently and comfortable interacting with the public, especially with 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. 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 may commit to working full weeks of camp or come in for specific activities during the camp season.
~ Field Trips
Volunteers 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. Gardening activities 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. Volunteers regularly walk the grounds, addressing maintenance issues as needed, and help with various maintenance projects.
~ 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 during canoe/kayak rental hours.

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.

Citizen Science
Volunteers collect data as part of on-site monitoring and research, as well as citizen science programs with participate in. Currently we collect data for our Atlas of Life, Project Budburst, Project FeederWatch and the Illinois Odonate Survey.


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© 2019 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.
Design and Development by J Rudny, LLC.