Read below for 11 Reasons to Volunteer for Mother Nature – and NLI

There are lots of Top Ten Lists out there. So we decided to be a little different and come up with an odd number of reasons to volunteer for Natural Land Institute. The winter months can be the best time to get outside and help at NLI’s volunteer stewardship days. (1) No bugs (or very few). (2) You get to see some of our private preserves and (3) signs of wildlife like tracks, scat and bones. (4) You get to see and hear birds. Yes, we still have birds in our area during the winter.

It’s cold, but you can dress in layers and once you start moving you’ll get warm, and you can warm up by the brush fire. Plus, you will have the satisfaction of doing something good for (5) Mother Nature and (6) your community when you volunteer. Not to mention the fact that you will be getting (7) fresh air and (8) exercise.

(9) Comaraderie is one of the top reasons volunteers keep coming back! People enjoy getting to know others who have the same interest and friendships are developed over time.

You will also get (10) great advice from our Stewardship staff and site stewards about how to identify plants like the non-native invasive honeysuckle, buckthorn and multiflora rose, and (11) then learn how to remove it and treat it so it doesn’t grow back.

We’re sure there are many other great reasons to volunteer at land stewardship service days. Why don’t you come out and find some of your own? And then share them with us!

Upcoming Volunteer Land Stewardship Days:

Be sure to call or email the contacts listed below to confirm your participation and get directions to the site for that day. You can work as long as your schedule allows or the whole time listed. These stewardship service days provide appropriate social distancing, but bring a mask in case you need it. You may also bring your own water and snacks. These sites do not have restroom facilities so plan accordingly. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy boots, and bring your own work gloves and tools if you have them.

William & Gayle Keefer Nature Reserve in Rockton, IL – Fourth Friday of the month (Jan. 22, 2021), 9 am – 12/noon. Contact Laura Helmich (NLI’s Stewardship Technician) to sign up and get directions:, 712-301-1208. 

Silver Creek Woods Preserve, southwest of Rockford, IL – Third Saturday was moved to the Fourth Saturday this month: Jan. 23, 9 am – 1 pm. Contact Site Steward Dion Faith at 815-520-6916 or to sign up and get directions. The volunteer meeting location on Jan. 23 will be a driveway, just west of 6038 Tipple Rd. (Rockford).

Howard D. Colman Dells Nature Preserve, southwest of Rockford, IL – starting Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, Site Steward, Chris Reisetter, will host Volunteer Stewardship Days at this preserve every other Friday, 9 am – 3 pm. Contact him at or call/text him at 815-985-7208 to sign up for this day, request to be added to his email list, and get directions to the preserve. The entrance is two tenths of a mile north of 12580 N. Weldon Rd., Rockford, IL 61102 or GPS: 42.201612,-89.194844.

Burr Oak Valley Preserve, Roscoe, IL – Every Thursday and First Saturday9 am – 12 noon – contact Laura Helmich (contact info above) or Tyler Pellegrini (NLI’s Restoration Ecologist) at 815-970-5012, to sign up to help and get directions. The entrance to the preserve is located across the street from Cross and Crown Church (7074 Elevator Rd., Roscoe).

Nygren Wetland Preserve, Rockton, IL – Every Wednesday volunteer days will resume in the spring.


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