Group Volunteering

a group of high school volunteers at Busse Woods. Photo by Kris DaPra.
Photo by Kris DaPra.

Group volunteering in the Forest Preserves of Cook County is ideal for school or youth groups, corporations, faith-based groups, scout groups and more.

On this page:

Ecological Stewardship

Work together to make a difference for nature at an ecological stewardship day. Tasks depend on the season and may include cutting and burning invasive shrubs, hand-pulling weeds or collecting native seeds. Learn about different ecosystems and how to keep them healthy from our experienced volunteer leaders.

Key details about stewardship days:

  • Tools, gloves and safety glasses are provided.
  • Onsite training and supervision are provided by site leaders certified by the Forest Preserves.
  • Locations are limited to current stewardship sites.
  • Scheduling is available year-round, depending on site leader availability.
  • Best for groups of five to 25 people.
  • The minimum age for participation is 13.
  • For youth groups, a chaperone ratio of 1:10 is required and the parent or guardian must sign the Student Restoration Field Trip Waiver.

Safety information: While we strive to create the safest environment possible, it is impossible to eliminate all potential hazards when working outside in nature. Volunteers are advised to wear long pants, sturdy closed-toe shoes and other seasonally appropriate clothing that can get dirty. Bring a water bottle. Hazards may include fire, walking on uneven terrain, poison ivy, stinging or biting insects and inclement weather.

Questions, suggestions or concerns? If you need help choosing a site or date, please reach out to Volunteer Resources at

Litter Cleanups

Litter Cleanups can be a a perfect opportunity for friends, families or organized groups like service organizations, faith communities, schools or corporate groups. We’ll support you with gloves and bags, and you can choose your preferred preserve.

Key details about litter cleanups:

  • Schedule a cleanup at any time at almost any preserve.
  • All ages are welcome to volunteer.
  • Groups larger than 10 are required to register the details of their litter cleanup event.
  • We provide gloves, bags and trash grabbers upon request.
  • Your group leader organizes and leads the cleanup themselves, including arranging supervision and chaperones (if needed).
  • Forest Preserves staff are not on site for the workday.

Questions, suggestions or concerns? If you need help choosing a site or date, please reach out to Volunteer Resources at