Navigation Menu

Volunteer Opportunities

Become a ChicagoNatureNOW! Scout

 

The purpose of ChicagoNatureNOW! is to connect Chicagoans with nature by providing weekly reports about national-park quality blooming events that occur at specific nature preserves around the Chicago region. Therefore, I need to know when a glorious bloom is taking place. ChicagoNatureNOW! is about timing.

We Need People to Report on Our Featured Preserves.

Possibly, one day, these reports will be guided by crowd-sourcing through Instagram. However, this can’t happen until enough people are visiting the sites. Crowd-sourcing requires a crowd. Here are some ways to scout:

Adopt-A-Site
If you frequently visit one of our featured preserves, then this is a natural fit. Just send a report when something great is happening. (See “What is a Report?” below.) If you adopt a site, you become an Official ChicagoNatureNOW! Nature Scout, and I’ll send you a schedule of bloom dates for your preserve.

Multi-Site Reporting
If you want to learn a lot about Chicago nature, this is the best and fastest way to do it! And, you become and Official ChicagoNatureNOW! Nature Scout.

Most scouts fall into this category. Every one to three weeks, you’d check out a special Google spreadsheet to see which preserves need scouting. Then, you claim one or more preserves on the list and visit them. While you’re there, take a handful of pictures and, afterwards, file a short report. (See “What is a Report?” below.) Note, I don’t care if you’re a photographer. I just need pictures that show me what’s blooming and how well it’s blooming.

Impromptu Reports
This is the most leisurely of our scouting opportunities, but no less important. Without any commitment, whenever you experience a grand event at any of our sites, send pictures and a useful report. Just join our Friends of ChicagoNatureNOW! Facebook group, where you can post your report and learn about nature from other enthusiastic nature lovers.

What is a Report? (for Official Nature Scouts)
A report consists of a few pictures along with a couple of sentences about what you found and whether you think the preserve is worth visiting at that moment. That’s pretty much it. You enter your notes into the spreadsheet and then into a Facebook post, where you’ll also drop in your pictures. For the photos, I need a few shots of the wider landscape to show the quality of the blooming event. I’m not looking for great photography. I just want to see if the event is exciting enough to be part of the weekly alert. You don’t even have to know about the flowers. You’ll learn that stuff as you go. Just take a couple of shots of the flowers and their leaves to help me and the team identify it. To give you an idea of what I mean by an exciting blooming event, take a peek at the photos on this website.

Contact me if you’re interested in being one of our scouts and we’ll work out the details.