Get Involved in Restoration  

Explore opportunities to volunteer in the Arboretum’s natural areas and train for restoration work.

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More than 200 invaluable volunteers carry out important restoration and conservation work at the Arboretum through the Natural Resources Program, The program is open to the public and anyone can get involved. You do not have to be a botanist, nor do you need to commit to regular times.

Visit the Volunteer Program page to find out how to become a volunteer with the Natural Resources Management Team. The team works throughout the Arboretum’s natural areas, including the wetlands, prairies, and woodlands.

Volunteer crews carry out many different restoration activities essential for maintaining healthy habitats on Arboretum grounds. They assist with controlling invasive species, monitoring wildlife and plant populations, implementing prescribed fire, collecting native seeds, planting native species, and other activities.

The team is composed of several restoration groups. Please check with the Volunteer Office to find out which groups are currently accepting new volunteers or view current volunteer opportunities.

Restore Natural Areas Near You

Gain the knowledge and skills to turn your passion for our environment into action and make a difference in your community. The Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program is an in-depth training and certification program in natural areas restoration. You’ll gain the knowledge and practical experience necessary to care for natural areas, including woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and other habitats of the Chicago region.

With classes on plant identification and ecology, fundamentals of ecological restoration, invasive species management, and applied topics you will be equipped to plan and implement restoration work, whether it is at a public site as a volunteer or in your own backyard.

This program is not required to volunteer at the Arboretum. It is a training opportunity offered at the Arboretum for those who want to expand their knowledge and skills.


Natural Areas Conservation Training classes are easy to fit into a busy lifestyle and include online, classroom, and field components. Natural Areas Conservation Training is open to anyone involved or interested in the stewardship of our natural heritage, regardless of prior experience. You’ll make meaningful connections with like-minded people and learn from leading experts.

View current restoration and conservation class offerings at the Arboretum.

Natural Areas Conservation Training Online Orientation

Natural Areas Conservation Training Program Enrollment Form

Natural Areas Conservation Training Certificate

By obtaining the Natural Areas Conservation Training Certificate, you can acquire the skills and knowledge you need to conduct and manage restoration activities. Ten classes, First Aid/CPR certification, and completion of 30 volunteer hours are required to obtain the N-ACT Certificate.

Requirements for N-ACT Certification

N-ACT Frequently Asked Questions