Natural Land Institute has properties dispersed across the region and offers a variety of ways for you to make a difference. By supporting projects that range from creating wildlife habitat to conserving rare species, you will find the rewards of volunteering to be truly limitless. Get involved. Build a legacy protecting our precious natural lands for your grandchildren and their children.

Individuals or groups who wish to participate in one of the following volunteer land Stewardship Days should contact Zach Grycan, Director of Stewardship, Ed Cope, Restoration Ecologist, or other Site Steward listed for more information and to confirm your participation (see bottom of page for contact information).

Do you love being outside? Love gardening? Love removing brush? Love the natural environment? Love natural beauty? Love getting exercise? Yes? Then this is the volunteer opportunity for you! You are welcome to help during the entire time listed for each stewardship day or for part of the day. Please let Zach, Ed or one of the other Site Stewards know what time to expect you.

What to Bring: NLI provides tools, gloves and water (and sometimes special snacks!). If you plan to stay the duration, you may want to bring a sack lunch. Dress for the weather. Long sleeves, pants, and sturdy boots are recommended.

WEEKLY WEDNESDAY, Nygren Wetland Preserve, Address: 3190 W. Rockton Rd.,Rockton, IL 61072, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

NLI’s most ambitious land restoration to date hosts a complex of habitats and rare species. Volunteer tasks include control and removal of bush honeysuckle and garlic mustard or other invasive species, planting / collecting seeds, helping in the greenhouse, planting plugs, general maintenance, bird and mammal monitoring, prescribed burns, and set-up for special events. Enjoy the beauty of the prairies and wetlands while you work.


Burr Oak Valley Preserve, Directions: meet across from Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 7404 Elevator Rd., Roscoe, IL 61073, Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday: 9:00 a.m. – Noon

The rare habitats found here were in peril until you stepped in to help out. Play a role in tackling the invasive threats in the remnant prairies and woodlands of this preserve. Tasks include removing and controlling the non-native woody brush, prescribed burns and seed collection. Enjoy fresh air, exercise and the beauty of this special place while you work.


Silver Creek Woods Preserve, Directions: 5753 Prairie Rd.,Rockford, IL 61102, a few miles southwest of town, just north of Fuller Memorial Forest Preserve. Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Site Steward: Dion Faith

Join us at this preserve, originally donated to NLI by our founders George and Barbara Fell, to assist with a variety of restoration work including the removal and treatment of bush honeysuckle and common buckthorn, and burning of brush piles. Explore the beauty of this private natural area while you provide community service.


Howard D. Colman Dells Nature Preserve, Directions: the entrance is two tenths of a mile north of 12580 N. Weldon Rd., Rockford, IL 61102 or GPS: 42.201612,-89.194844. 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Site Steward: Chris Reisetter

Help remove invasive species and discover an array of native plants on the rocky dells along Hall Creek and throughout the hilly preserve. Aldo Leopold once visited this special place that is now a designated Illinois Nature Preserve.

Call, text or email the following contacts for more information or to sign up to help:

Zach Grycan: 920/912-4338,

Ed Cope: 815/601-4665,

Dion Faith, 815/520-6916,

Chris Reisetter,

Check out our Calendar for specific dates:



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