• Volunteer


Plant Yourself Here and Volunteer!

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We are almost always looking for energetic, dedicated people to lend a hand in our gardens and programs. If you are someone who enjoys sharing your passion for plants with people or someone who just likes to get your hands dirty – we probably have a volunteer opportunity for you! Some of our opportunities have a minimum time commitment, but many of our volunteer positions are pretty flexible and accessible by a variety of busy adults.

Age Requirement

We do not have a youth volunteer program or opportunities to complete school service hours at this time. All individual volunteers and members of volunteer groups must be 18 years of age or older.

Application Process

Garfield Park Conservatory is a Chicago Park District facility, so all volunteers must go through the CPD application process, which includes fingerprinting. For more detailed information about our volunteer program and an application, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator:

Casey Sebetto
Volunteer Program Coordinator
773-638-1766 ext.26

Five Steps to Becoming A Garfield Park Conservatory Volunteer

  • Contact us for more information and a volunteer application and/or attend one of our monthly Volunteer Information Sessions.
  • Submit your volunteer application to our Conservatory Volunteer Coordinator
  • Get cleared through Chicago Park District by getting fingerprinted. We will let you know how to complete this step.
  • Attend a New Volunteer Orientation at the Conservatory and complete any required trainings for your position.
  • Schedule with our Volunteer Coordinator or watch your e-mails for upcoming opportunities.

Volunteer Groups and Service Clubs

We do work with some adult volunteer groups on general landscape, maintenance, and gardening projects around the Conservatory. We also utilize the force of volunteer groups to help facilitate many of our large public events. These group opportunities are arranged on a case-by-case basis and as needed. If you have a service group that is interested in helping out with a project or event at the Conservatory, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to discuss the possibilities.

New Volunteer Orientations

All new volunteers must attend a Volunteer Orientation before starting. Potential volunteers can do this before submitting an application, to gather information, or applicants can attend one of these sessions after the application process has begun. These sessions include information about the variety of volunteer opportunities we offer and the nuts-and-bolts of volunteering with us, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of our historic facility.

Volunteer Information Sessions

Potential volunteers can attend one of our monthly sessions to gather information and obtain an application, or applicants can attend one of these sessions after the application process has begun. These sessions include information about the variety of volunteer opportunities we offer and the nuts-and-bolts of volunteering with us.

Volunteer Information Session Schedule

Upcoming Volunteer Information Sessions are listed below. Contact Casey Sebetto at volunteering@garfieldpark.org for more information, or click “Register” below to sign up for an upcoming orientation.

Upcoming Volunteer Orientations:

  • Saturday, February 20, 10:00am – 11:00am
  • Wednesday, March 23, 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Volunteer Areas

  • Family Programming
    • Family Programming

      Help facilitate drop-in explorations and make-and-take activities in the Children’s Garden, Sugar from the Sun, and Play and Grow Garden, as well as throughout the Conservatory; assist with preparation of materials for weekend and evening family programs. (Applicants may be asked to take part in an in-person interview with our Family Programs Coordinator before volunteering begins; specialized training will be provided.)

  • Special Events
    • Special Events

      Help behind the scenes and on the front-line with special events. Meet and greet visitors, help facilitate hands-on activities and education stations, assist with traffic flow, and help with set-up, break-down, and behind the scenes preparations.

  • Plant Propagation & Sales
    • Plant Propagation & Sales

      Work with staff to grow plants and create decorative containers that will be sold in the gift shop and at special events as a source of revenue to support our programs. Volunteers in this area will also propagate plants to be used in public programs, teacher trainings and fundraising events.

  • Horticultural Support & Urban Demonstration Garden
    • Horticultural Support & Urban Demonstration Garden

      Work with Chicago Park District horticulturists and floriculturists behind-the-scenes and in the plant collection to maintain the beautiful displays visitors have come to expect at the Conservatory. Beginning and skilled gardeners welcome; however, most tasks are related to the grooming and maintenance of plant collections, greenhouses and outdoor gardens. More advanced tasks will be assigned based on experience and skill level. (Please note: these positions are very popular and in high demand, so depending on the season, a volunteer may be placed on a waiting list to get on the schedule. Please contact our Volunteer Program Coordinator if you have questions about the horticulture schedule and the waiting list.)

  • Beekeeping
    • Beekeeping

      We have a team of trained volunteer beekeepers who work hard all year long to maintain a collection of hives used for pollination, education and honey extraction. (Please note: Our volunteer beekeeping program is currently full. To be added to the program waitlist, volunteers need to attend a Beginning Beekeeping Class at GPC, fill out a volunteer application and attend a new volunteer orientation. In the meantime, we encourage you to submit a general volunteer application and participate in other areas of the Conservatory to get yourself started. As a volunteer, you will receive updates on all areas, including beekeeping.)

  • Composting
    • Composting

      Volunteers help maintain, harvest and troubleshoot our vermicompost and outdoor compost bins year-round as well as educate the public and school groups about the importance of composting. Experienced composters and inexperienced adults who want to learn are encouraged to join this program. Pre-requisite: Attend a Composting 101 class to gain the basic knowledge to maintain compost bins and educate the public.

  • Administrative Support
    • Administrative Support

      Assist Programming, Development, and Administration Departments with ongoing tasks like data entry, sorting and filing, space organization, and mailings. These assignments are generally Monday through Friday. Weekend opportunities are sometimes available, but limited.