Macon County Conservation District Explore the Outdoors
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Macon County Conservation District Volunteer Opportunities

Every year, hundreds of volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the operation of our conservation areas and historic sites. Whether greeting visitors, or assisting with programs, our volunteers help the Conservation District serve the residents of Macon County.

"If you ever wanted to help make a difference in our community there are opportunities for you with the Macon County Conservation District."

There are more than 3,200 acres of natural areas and hundreds of school programs, special events, and workshop presentations at the Macon County Conservation District in Decatur, IL. Indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities are available year-round in our many Conservation areas.

Making the decision to volunteer

The Volunteer QuarterlyVolunteers are essential to the Conservation District and our mission. In 2011, 286 volunteers donated approximately 11,500 hours hours of their time. We invite you to join our volunteer team!

Commonly asked questions:

  1. How often can I volunteer? We let you decide! Some volunteers help once or twice a year. Other volunteers help once a month. We even have volunteers that help once a week.
  2. What can I do? We have something for everyone! Opportunities include the following areas: Rock Springs Nature Center, Educational Outreach, Conservation Support, Historical Interpretation, Youth Programs, and Seasonal & Special Events.
  3. What are the benefits of volunteering for the Macon County Conservation District? Volunteer opportunities throughout our community can offer volunteers life long learning, new friendships, and has been linked to improved health. Volunteers at the Macon County Conservation District will receive two of our newsletter publications: Volunteer Quarterly and Prairie Islander. Volunteers that volunteer through the Prairie Heritage Program will also receive the Astounder.
  4. How do I sign up? Fill out a volunteer Application form. Bring our completed application to the nature center or drop it into the mail. All potential applicantsare interviewed and placed in an area suited to the interests and abilities. We welcome your inquires about our programs and hope you consider applying for a volunteer position!

For more information, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator by calling (217) 423-7708 or by sending an email to

Download the Volunteer Application form.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities - See the Volunteer Quarterly for more information

Scout Program Assistance
Rock Springs Nature Center
Boy and Girl Scout programming is a rewarding way to give back to the community. Badge and Journey workshops provide valuable knowledge of the life sciences. We certainly welcome assistance with these workshops. Some of the upcoming workshops include Fish and Wildlife Management, Soil & Water Conservation, Astronomy, Wonders of Water, and Earth & Sky. Please contact Richie Wolf ( or (217-423-7708) for more information.

Volunteer Naturalist-Hike Leader
Rock Springs Conservation Area
Do you enjoy nature and kids? Our volunteer naturalists are a big help during the school year! Hikes are typically one hour in length with ages pre-school through high school. If you are interested in becoming a hike leader, let us know and we will provide you with training and opportunities to observe an experienced hike leader in action. Please contact Jenny Garver ( or 217-423-7708) for more information.

Nature Center Greeter
Rock Springs Nature Center, Information Desk
Volunteers at the Information Desk are and essential part of our volunteer team at the Nature Center. Volunteers greet the public, answer simple questions, and assist staff members with projects. We have various opportunities available during the week and weekends, whether it is once a month or several times a month. The morning slots run from 9:00a.m.-1:00p.m. and the afternoon slots are from 1:00p.m.-4:00p.m. Training is provided. Form more information, or to sign up, please contact Jenny Garver ( or 217-423-7708)


Rock Springs Nature Center

two volunteers at Rock Springs Nature CenterThe Rock Springs Nature Center offers many indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities. Some of the activities include:

Information Desk
Volunteers are stationed at our information desk inside the Nature Center to greet patrons, answer questions, and assist staff with various projects. Shifts are available in the morning or afternoon every day of the week.

The Conservation District’s library has a generous collection of books and periodicals that Macon County residents are free to use. Volunteers staff the library assisting with check out procedures and cataloging.

Newsletter Labeling
Volunteers assist by putting the mailing labels on the Prairie Islander the Conservation District’s quarterly newsletter. This invaluable assistance allows the District to efficiently mail several thousand newsletters. This opportunity occurs four times a year.

Special Projects
Volunteers help with special projects from time to time. For example, database entry, bird house building, photography, cutting projects, just to name a few. Ask us about our special projects to see if there is something for you!

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!

Educational Outreach

woman with two children fishing in lakeWork with our education staff in one of the many ways that we bring information to the community. Help out with a presentation or with a special event, or work with the thousands of school children who visit the district each year. We will provide any necessary training. Volunteer options include:

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!

Conservation Support

person clipping invasive plants in the woodsVolunteers assist with many projects at all of our sites. You'll be helping to preserve our beautiful natural areas, keep track of birds, and count wildlife species. Volunteers are needed for projects such as:

Bluebird Trail Monitor
Throughout the spring and summer seasons these volunteers monitor bluebird houses at several district sites collecting data on the bluebird population.

Natural Restoration Volunteers
Volunteers work actively with the conservation district to remove invasive species from district areas and help protect wildlife diversity. There are many opportunities available some of which include, pulling garlic mustard and bringing the sugar maple population back under control.

Trail Monitor
Volunteers hike district trails on a monthly basis monitoring condition, litter, wildlife, and trail use. The conservation district maintains trails at Rock Springs Conservation Area, Griswold Conservation Area, Fort Daniel Conservation Area, Friends Creek Conservation Area, and Sand Creek Conservation Area.

Volunteer Naturalist
Every year thousands of school children come to the district for programs and nature hikes. Volunteers are always needed to lead hikes and assist staff with educational programs. Volunteers would work mainly at Rock Springs Conservation Area.

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!

Historical Interpretation

man in period clothingJoin our talented staff in bringing Macon County history to life at one of our cultural heritage events. Volunteer opportunities abound at our historic sites as well, including:

Prairie Heritage Volunteer
The Homestead Prairie Farm located at Rock Springs Conservation Area is a period 1860 home used to make the days before the Civil War come to life for its visitors. Volunteers are needed to help lead tours throughout the year and to assist with maintaining the Homestead through projects such as fence painting and repair, rebuilding the sidewalks, and other light mechanical projects as they are needed. Stay up to date on historic volunteer opportunities by subscribing to the Homestead Prairie Astounder or attending the monthly meetings.

Dulcimer Club
Volunteers come together every other week at the Rock Springs Nature Center to practice playing the dulcimer. This group also performs many times throughout the year at district events and programs as well as throughout the community.

Quilting or Sewing
A group of quilters meet every Wednesday at the Rock Springs Nature Center to quilt the old-fashioned way. Volunteers are also needed to help sew period clothing for the Homestead Prairie Farm volunteers or for various other projects. Sewing projects can be completed in your home. Volunteers will need their own sewing machine.

Governor Oglesby Mansion
Throughout the year groups schedule luncheons and dinners at the mansion and volunteers are always needed to cook and to help serve the meals. Volunteers are also needed to lead tours through the mansion for the public. These unique opportunities are a lot of fun and a chance to spend some time in one of Decatur’s premier historical houses. The Governor Oglesby Mansion is located at 421 W. William St.

Ground Squirrels Vintage Base Ball Team
The Ground Squirrels play the game of base ball as it was played in 1860. The team competes against other vintage ball clubs across the region. Their home field is located at Rock Springs Conservation Area.

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!

Youth Programs

In our youth programs, young people can learn about nature and our rich cultural heritage in a unique hands-on atmosphere. Young volunteers are active through programs like:

  • Summer Camp Youth Leaders
  • Historical Program Assistance
  • Environmental Program Assistance

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!

Seasonal & Special Events

Cross Country Ski Rental
Whenever there is at least four inches of snow on the ground the district rents skis to the public. Volunteers help with money collection and assist with handing out equipment. This volunteer assignment is on an on-call basis, depending on weather conditions.

Summer Day Camp Volunteer
These volunteers assist camp counselors with activities, hikes, and coordination of day campers. There is a short training session and volunteers are required to wear a camp T-shirt and name tag each day that they volunteer. Camps include both nature and history themes. See the Camps page.

Festival of Spring
This one-day festival happens every April and a large number of dedicated volunteers are needed to greet visitors, help with children’s stories, the canoe rodeo, and much more! See the Festival of Spring page.

Astronomy Jamboree
This annual event is held at Friends Creek Conservation Area. Volunteers help with children’s crafts, handing out door prizes, as well as assisting the public with telescopes.

Prairie Celebration
This two-day public event occurs every September and a large number of volunteers are needed to assist with the concession stand, door monitoring, and various other activities and programs. See the Prairie Celebration page.

Fall Harvest Event
Join us in October for a Fall Harvest! Pumpkin carving, scarecrow building, a marshmallow roast, and storytellers are just a few activities that we need volunteers’ assistance with at this fun fall celebration.

Download the Volunteer Application form to get started!


Today's Sunrise Sunset in Decatur, IL:
    Sunrise is at: 5:35 AM
    Sunset is at: 8:10 PM

What can you do at the Nature Center?

Visit Our Conservation Areas

Rock Springs Conservation Area
Friends Creek Conservation Area
Sand Creek Conservation Area
Griswold Conservation Area
Fort Daniel Conservation Area



The Macon County Conservation District invites you to visit the many natural areas in Macon County, Illinois, including Rock Springs Nature Center, which offers nature programs, special activities, nature hikes, summer camps, music programs, conference rooms for all ages throughout the year in Decatur, Illinois.
Macon County Conservation District
3939 Nearing Lane
Decatur, IL 62521
(217) 423-7708

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The Prairie Islander

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