How can I help at the Center?

There are many ways to volunteer at the Urban Ecology Center!

We offer regular volunteer opportunities for people who'd like to help out on a recurring basis as well as drop-in opportunities to accommodate varied schedules and interests.

To determine the best fit for your schedule and skills, sign up for one of our volunteer orientations. You'll learn all about the various ways you can help out at the Center and find the volunteer opportunity that best suits your time and talents! We host volunteer orientations at all three of our branches at a variety of times. Click the button below to see the schedule and find a session that's convenient for you!


Volunteer Orientation Schedule




Regular Opportunities

Interested in volunteering on a regular schedule? If you have a morning, afternoon or full day free on a weekly or monthly basis, there may be a regular volunteer opportunity that is a great fit for you. If you have a particular skill or talent that you are looking to share, the perfect project might be waiting for you at the Center.

Regular volunteer opportunities include:

  • Citizen Science: Our Citizen Science program helps create connections between academic research and the community-at-large. Volunteers go through training to learn how to conduct cutting-edge research, from studying the physiology of migrating birds to discovering the winter quarters of threatened snakes. Citizen Science volunteers work with bats, bugs, plants, snakes, turtles, mice, and a host of other critters!
  • Land Stewardship: Volunteers in our Land Stewardship program help us to remove invasive plant species and rehabilitate the land in order to restore ecosystems that support biodiversity and create a healthier outdoor classroom and local natural area that community members can enjoy!
  • Reception: As the face of the Urban Ecology Center, reception volunteers greet visitors and answer general questions about the Center. Reception volunteers also answer and direct phone calls, promote membership, and help out with the equipment lending program.
  • Neighborhood Environmental Education Program (NEEP): Each branch of the Urban Ecology Center partners with schools with in two miles of the branch for an entire year, allowing our environmental educators the chance to design programs that reinforce science concepts taught in class with hands-on outdoor activities during multiple visits. Volunteers can assist educators with the field trips by belaying for rock climbing programs, driving 15 passenger buses, helping kids get in and out of canoes, opening bug boxes and helping give students individualized attention on their field trip. Learn more about NEEP here.
  • Special Events: Help out at our events and festivals as we provide opportunities for the community to come together surrounding issues that are important to us. Volunteer activities range from working with kids at craft and face painting stations, to leading walks through the park, to greeting visitors, passing out food and much more!
  • Young Scientists Club: Young Scientists Club is our after school drop in program for school age children. Students and volunteers who participate in Young Scientists Club help to steer activities based on their own interests. Volunteers help kids stay engaged in activities whether it be yoga, gardening or cooking the food they grow.




Drop-In Opportunities

If you are looking to volunteer once, or are interested in squeezing occasional volunteering into an already busy or irregular schedule, we invite you to be a part of our drop-in volunteer projects. No prior experience is needed for these activities as you will be guided by and learn from knowledgeable Urban Ecology Center staff.

Drop-In Opportunities Include:

  • ROOT (Restoring Our Outdoor Treasures):* Come get your hands dirty and help us restore our outdoor treasures together! Help replace invasive species with native plants, trail maintenance, erosion control, and more. Most often we will be outside, so come prepared to go out and dress for the weather. Days and times are available at all three of our branches. Click here to view upcoming times.
  • Park Rangers: Help keep our parks clean, safe and accessible. Dress for the weather and join other volunteers as we walk through the park picking up trash and noting any maintenance needs. See our calendar for upcoming Park Ranger times.

*Want to stay informed about Land Stewardship and Citizen Science news and volunteer opportunities? Sign up for our Weekly R&R (Research & Restoration) email here.


Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about volunteering at the Center, or if you would like to volunteer specifically at one of our branches, please contact one of our Volunteer Coordinators listed below.

Riverside Park: Meghan Jones,

Menomonee Valley: Chris Steinkamp,

Washington Park: Davita Flowers-Shanklin, 


Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Early Morning Birdwalks (Menomonee Valley)

Menomonee Valley

Tuesday, December 1st

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

More Details...

ROOT Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Tuesday, December 1st

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

More Details...

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