Volunteering

Here at Blandford, we’re always in need of helping hands! Whether it’s pulling invasive plant species along one of Blandford’s beautiful trails, tending to the Wildlife Ambassadors that call Blandford home, or teaching today’s youth about the wonders of nature through our Community Programs, volunteers are highly valued as an integral part of our success.

Looking to get involved? Blandford has many opportunities and we would love to help you find something that matches your interests, skills, and availability. Please view our volunteer opportunities below:

Registered Volunteers

This option is for individuals who are interested in becoming part of our crew on a weekly or monthly basis! To become a registered volunteer, you must complete the 3-Step Volunteer Process (Application, Background Checks, & Orientation) below:

Fill out this Volunteer Application & Background Check Consent Form (volunteers under 18 years old must also have their parent/guardian sign the application), then send your completed forms to our Volunteer Manager at using the information below:

Blandford Nature Center
Attn: Volunteer Manager
1715 Hillburn Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

OR

Volunteer Manager
Subject: Volunteer Application
volunteer@blandfordnaturecenter.org

Please note that it typically takes at least 2 weeks to process volunteer applications.

Once your Volunteer Application (and Parental Permission signature if applicable) are received, we will use your provided information to conduct 3 unique background checks:

  • OTIS (Offender Tracking Information System)
  • PSOR (Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry)
  • ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool)

After clearing the background checks, you will receive an email from our Volunteer Manager welcoming you as a Blandford Volunteer. You will also be added to our monthly Volunteer Newsletters to stay up-to-date on all upcoming volunteer opportunities. As a registered volunteer, you are welcome to sign up for any of the opportunities mentioned. If you’d like to get involved on a more regular basis or volunteer with a specific department, please share your interest Volunteer Manager and we will let you know if there are any current openings.

As a registered volunteer, you are able to determine when you’d like to volunteer and for which departments, projects, or events. See our department options below for an idea of what you can help out with at Blandford:


You can also sign-up for a few of our upcoming volunteer opportunities on our Community Calendar. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact our Volunteer Manager at volunteer@blandfordnaturecenter.org or 616-735-6240 ext. 104.

Public Volunteers

This volunteer option is for individuals that would like to volunteer without becoming a registered volunteer! This is ideal for those who want to volunteer during our festivals, Eco-Stewardship Work Days, or Farm Work Days.

A Volunteer Application does not need to be completed, and you are not required to attend an orientation as a public volunteer. However, you will still be required to sign a Liability Waiver for all volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering at any of our smaller, more intimate Community Programs, you are required to fill out an application and pass a background check.

Learn more about our current Public Volunteer opportunities below:

Eco-Stewardship Work Days focus on habitat restoration, trail maintenance, stream clean-up, and removal of invasive species. Education is a key aspect with instruction not only on removal, but also on identification of several native Michigan plant species and general ecology.

What to Wear? Long pants and closed toe shoes are mandatory. Layers and hats are always encouraged.
What to Bring? Water bottle & work gloves.
Age Requirements: This opportunity is for adults 18+ only. Youth opportunities are available through our Youth Stewardship Work Days.

Follow the link below or visit our Community Calendar to view our upcoming dates and sign up for an Eco-stewardship Work Day!

Farm Work Days give volunteers an opportunity to get involved at the Blandford Farm. These work days range from weeding and planting in the Children’s Garden to helping out in our CSA production field.

What to Wear? Clothes and shoes that can get wet and dirty. Layers and hats are always encouraged.
What to Bring? Water bottle & work gloves.
Age Requirements: This opportunity is for adults 18+ only. Youth opportunities are available through our Youth Stewardship Work Days.

Follow the link below or visit our Community Calendar to view our upcoming dates and sign up for a Farm Work Day!

Service Groups

This volunteer option is for organizations, corporations, or community groups that would like to complete a day of service here at Blandford! Service Groups do not need to submit Volunteer Applications, but will be required to sign a Liability Waiver on the day of their service. See the information below to learn how you can sign your group up for a Service Group Work Day:

Please send the following information to our Volunteer Manager at volunteer@blandfordnaturecenter.org:

  • Organization/Group Name
  • Point of Contact:
    • Full Name
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
  • Number of individuals attending the Service Group Work Day
    • If this is a student service work day, please specify age range/grade
  • 1st Date Choice of Service Work Day
  • 2nd Date Choice of Service Work Day
  • Time Frame of Service Work Day (example: 9:00 am-11:00 am)
  • Any specific projects/areas of interest you would like to request for the Service Work Day
  • Any needs or circumstances we need to work with (Example: wheelchair/crutches, allergies, cognitively impaired, senior citizens, etc.)

After we review your request, we will schedule it on our Volunteer Calendar and send you a confirmation. The confirmation email will include your Service Group Work Day date, time, number of individuals attending, and preparation details. If you requested a specific project to work on, further details will also be included in this email.

Youth Volunteers

This opportunity is for students or individuals ages 14-18 looking to build resumes or fill their service hour requirements. A Volunteer Application does not need to be completed, and you are not required to attend an orientation. A Liability Waiver will be required for these volunteer opportunities and must be signed by the youth participant. See the information below to learn more about our youth volunteer opportunities:

Youth Stewardship work focuses on habitat restoration, trail maintenance, removal of invasive species, help in the Children’s Garden, weeding at the Blandford Farm, and more! Education is always a major focus of the day as youth learn to identify and manage plants and how they directly impact their surrounding environment. Youth also learn the importance of sustainable farming and how agriculture impacts society in many ways.

Age Requirements: This is a public volunteer opportunity for people ages 14 to 18 only
What to Wear? Long pants and closed toe shoes are required when doing trail maintenance & removal of invasive species. Layers and hats are always encouraged. Dress for the weather.
What to Bring? Water bottle & work gloves.

Follow the link below or visit our Community Calendar to view our upcoming dates and sign up for an Eco-stewardship Work Day!

Youth Stewardship Work Day FAQs:

  • Do I have to stay with my child/participating youth I drop off?
    • No. Guardians are not required to stay on site while the youth volunteer.
  • Can I stay on site while my child/participating youth volunteers?
    • Yes, you are welcome to enjoy the trails and grounds at no charge during the volunteer work, but you are not allowed to join the volunteer group.
  • My child is only 13, can they still sign up and volunteer?
    • No, this is an opportunity for youth ages 14-18 only. 
  • How many adults will be with the group?
    • There will always be two staff members with the youth while they are volunteering. Staff will have first aid kits with them.
  • Will you sign off on my student’s Community Service sheet for their school volunteering requirements?
    • Yes! We are happy to sign off on any paperwork at the end of the volunteering.

We provide opportunities for teens ages 13-18 to volunteer for 1-4 weeks as a Summer Camp Aide!

  • Spend your summer outdoors!
  • Share your love of the environment with campers ages 4-12!
  • Learn exciting leadership skills!
  • Earn community service hours – up to 40 a week!

For more information or to apply to be a Camp Aide, visit our Seasonal Camps page.

Questions?

Please contact our Volunteer Manager at volunteer@blandfordnaturecenter.org or 616-735-6240 ext. 104.