Path to Stewardship
People are the key to healthy forest preserves!
Your help is needed to restore our forest preserves to good health. Get involved by volunteering today!
Cook County is the birthplace of the now global volunteer led ecological restoration movement. Folks from all walks of life have dedicated themselves to restoring the health of our woodlands, wetlands and grasslands. Without volunteers our forest preserves will continue to lose health.
Visit the Forest Preserve District of Cook County volunteer web site and find your role.
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. Regardless of your age, schedule, or fitness level you can contribute!
Get Started: Create a profile on the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Online Volunteer System and start recording your hours volunteered. Receive awards as you accrue hours and experience.
Certified Leadership Positions
- Brush Pile Burn Leader (click to download full position description)
- With this certification you are in charge of the brush pile fire, ensuring that it is located property and burned safely.
- Workday Leader (WDL) (click to download full position description)
- As a WDL you are responsible for running the stewardship day if the Steward is not present. Are all the proper tools on hand? Were the phone calls made? Tasty snacks and water available?
- To become a Workday Leader you must take three Forest Preserve District of Cook County classes and be coached by a Steward until the field requirements are completed.
- The 3 classes: Brush Pile Burning, Group Leadership, Managing Invasives – all are offered by the District. You must be registered on their Online Volunteer System to take these classes.
- Download a detailed checklist of the certification process
- Download the coaching series worksheets
- Apprentice Steward (click to download full position description and evaluation forms)
- To become a Steward you enter the Apprentice Steward program. You’ll apprentice under one or more Stewards for as long as necessary to pass the standard evaluation.
- Steward (click to download full position description)
- As a Steward you have sufficient ecological and land management knowledge to develop the ecological management plan (provide sample plan PDF) for your stewardship site. Other duties can include: organize and direct work of your fellow volunteers, communicate with District staff, and recruiting others to assist.
- Site Steward (click to download full position description)
Additional Stewardship Roles
- Seed Collection Crew Leader (click to download full position description)
- Weed Control Crew Leader (click to download full position description)
- Herbicide Applicator (click to download full position description)
- Chainsawyer (click to download full position description)
- Animal or Plant Monitor (click here to learn more)