Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Elkhart Environmental Center!

We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that are suitable for businesses, organizations, groups, and individuals. As part of our environmental education goal, all of our volunteer opportunities are also offered with optional training—interested in learning about plant or tree ID, environmental management, event planning, or more? Volunteer!

Looking for something specific? Click on our categories to find what you’re looking for, or call (574) 293-5070 or email EECmail@coei.org with any questions.

Volunteer Opportunity

Categories

Special Events

(Situations may vary)

Adopt-A-Trail

Outside, Groups (Large/Small), Individual

Adopt-A-Plot

Outside, Groups (Small), Individual

Bluebird Box Monitors

Outside, Groups (Small), Individual

Learning Garden

Outside, Groups (Small), Individual, Education

Reflection Grove

Outside, Groups (Large/Small), Individual, Education

Invasive Species Removal

Outside, Groups (Large/Small), Individual

Trail Improvement

Outside, Groups (Large/Small), Individual

EnviroFest Planning Committee

Groups (Small), Individual, Education

Environmental Educator & Field Trip Leader*

Individual, Education

Field Trip Helper

Individual, Education

Public Program Presenter

Groups (Small), Individual, Education

Learning Loft

Groups (Small), Individual, Education, Inside

* Indicates training is required.
Note: some volunteer opportunities may require a background check.

If you would like to help with one or more of these projects please call (574) 293-5070 or email EECmail@coei.org for more information.

Ready to volunteer? You can download an EEC Volunteer Waiver form here, or stop by and see us! Return completed waivers to staff onsite or via email to EECmail@coei.org.

For more information about the EEC and our volunteer program, check out the latest version of our volunteer newsletter: Fall 2018 NewsletterOr see past issues of the Volunteer Newsletter

Volunteer Newsletter
 
Special Events
Dates may vary
We put on several events throughout the year (our biggest are Arbor Day and EnviroFest) and we can always use help making the events the best they can be! We looking for support in planning, help with setup/cleanup, and volunteers to facilitate and help out with activities throughout the event. Snacks and meals are usually provided (free T-shirts are included on occasion). Check out our Public Programs & Events page to see what's coming up or email EECmail@coei.org
Training:       You can learn about event planning and coordination, volunteer management, and more!
Notes:            Events may vary--usually located outside and great for small/large groups and individuals. 

Adopt-A-Trail 
Year-round
ALL TRAILS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED FOR 2018! Thank you for your enthusiasm for this program!
Enjoy walking our trails? Adopt one! Help us keep trails in good condition for visitors and wildlife by working with staff, removing litter, and spreading woodchips. Check out our trail map (HERE) to pick your favorite.
Training:       You can learn about plant ID, invasive species, environmental management, and more through volunteering with Adopt-a-Trail.
Notes:            Great for individuals and groups, small and large! Work is outside, tools will be provided. You can review the program guidelines (HERE) and download the volunteer agreement (HERE).
Deadline:       Please submit your completed applications by Monday, February 26. Completed applications and volunteer waivers can be submitted via email to EECmail@coei.org, or in person. The Elkhart Environmental Center is located at 1717 E Lusher Ave in Elkhart. Please call (574) 293-5070 for any questions.
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Adopt-A-Plot
Year-round (mostly April - October)
ALL PLOTS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED FOR 2018! Thank you for your enthusiasm for this program!
Grow your own food and flowers! Adopt up to 5 plots in the EEC Learning Garden and grow your own fruits, veggies, and flowers to take home and enjoy.  Check out our garden map (HERE) to pick your plots. Thanks to Church Community Service's Seed to Feed Program, we are able to supply a wide variety of seeds for plot adopters, check out what you can plant (HERE). 
Training:       You can learn about plant ID, gardening, compost, and more through volunteering with Adopt-a-Plot.
Notes:            Great for individuals and small groups! Work is outside, tools and seeds will be provided. You can review the program guidelines (HERE) and download the volunteer agreement (HERE).
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Bluebird Box Monitors
Spring & Summer
Help us encourage native bluebird populations, which have been negatively impacted by sparrows and starlings. Check our bluebird boxes for unwelcome nests (and clear them out to make room for bluebirds!) and any necessary repairs. We have currently have 16 bluebird boxes onsite--check out our map of them (HERE).
Training:       You can learn about bluebirds, invasive species, bird ID, and more through volunteering as a bluebird box monitor.
Notes:            Great for small groups and individuals! Work is outside, tools will be provided.
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Learning Garden
Year-round
Our raised-bed garden is used in our environmental education programs, and helps teach kids about native plants, where food comes from, and more! Help us take care of the garden by spreading compost and woodchips, planting seeds and small plants, watering, pulling weeds, harvesting, etc.
Training:       You can learn about plant ID, gardening, compost, and more through volunteering for the Learning Garden.
Notes:            Great for small groups and individuals! Work is outside, tools will be provided.
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Reflection Grove
Year-round
This is outdoor education area helps demonstrates the damage that one invasive species (the Emerald Ash Borer or EAB) caused on ash trees throughout the United States. Help us improve the area by cleaning/staining the deck, removing weeds, and spreading woodchips.
Training:       You can learn about invasive species, plant ID, environmental management, and more through volunteering for Reflection Grove.
Notes:            Great for groups, small and large! Work is outside, tools will be provided.
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Invasive Species Removal
Year-round
Invasive species threaten the health of ecosystems in our environment. Helps us keep our environment healthy by removing non-native, invasive species such as honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet, garlic mustard, multiflora rose, and others from our forest, wetlands, and prairie.
Training:        You can learn more about invasive species, plant ID, ecosystems, environmental management, and more through volunteering for invasive species removals.
Notes:           Great for groups, small or large! Work is outside, tools will be provided.
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Trail Improvement
Year-round
You don’t have to adopt our trails to improve or maintain them! Help us and our trail adopters keep trails in good condition for visitors and wildlife by spreading woodchips, trimming back overgrown vegetation, and more.
Training:        You can learn about plant ID, invasive species, environmental management, and more through volunteering with trail improvement.
Notes:            Great for individuals and groups, small and large! Work is outside, tools will be provided.
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EnviroFest Planning Committee  
December– August
EnviroFest is our biggest event of the year—and we couldn’t do it without the help of our wonderful volunteers! Help us plan the Kids’ Area, donations, Raffle & Silent Auction, and more!
Training:        You can learn about event coordination and management fundraising, education, and more through volunteering for the EnviroFest Planning Committee.
Notes:           The EnviroFest Planning Committee is open to everyone. Meetings occur on a monthly/bimonthly basis. You can also check our events page and our Facebook for updates.
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Environmental Educator & Field Trip Leader *
Year-round
Enjoy sharing nature with children? Help us connect kids with nature by guiding hikes on our trails, leading engaging activities, and delivering interactive lessons for school, scout, and camp fieldtrips!
Training:      Appropriate training will be provided.
Notes:           Dates and times vary. Background check is required.
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Field Trip Helper
Year-round
We love sharing our site and resources with school groups! Help us make fieldtrips possible by being an extra chaperone for school classes.
Training:      Appropriate training will be provided.
Notes:           Dates and times vary. Background check is required.
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Public Program Presenter
Year-round
Know something we don’t know—want to share? Or looking for somewhere to host a workshop, seminar, or program? We are always looking for new program ideas and leaders, and we’re happy to host! Call or email for more information or to schedule.
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Learning Loft
Year-round
Our kids’ Learning Loft in the visitor cabin has games, activities, and educational materials for kids to play with and learn from whenever they come to visit. We want the space to help kids learn and get excited about nature and the environment. Help us update the area to make it as fun and functional as possible!
Training:       You can learn more about environmental topics and education by volunteering with our Learning Loft.
Notes:            Great for small groups and individuals. Work is inside, materials will be provided.
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Past Issues of the EEC Volunteer Newsletter
Issue - 16 Summer 2018
Issue 15 - Spring 2018
Issue 14 - Winter 2017
Issue 13 - Fall 2017
Issue 12 - Summer 2017
Issue 11 - Spring 2017
Issue 10 - Winter 2016
Issue 9 - Fall 2016
Issue 8 - Summer 2016
Issue 7 - Spring 2016
Issue 6 - Fall 2015
Issue 5 - Summer 2015
Issue 4 - Spring 2015
Issue 3 - Winter 2015