Volunteering at the Kalamazoo Nature Center

We offer a wide variety of high quality programs, naturalist services and educational opportunities for our members and the general public thanks in large part to our team of passionate and dedicated volunteers and interns. Volunteer positions and internships at KNC are intended to be mutually beneficial: we further our mission of connecting people with nature and enjoy the benefits of your hard work and positive energy, and you receive education and experiences in a professional, natural setting working closely with well-qualified staff along with other benefits like free student memberships (for interns), discounts at the KNC gift shop and other exclusive opportunities.

There are a few simple steps to take to become a volunteer.  Start by filling out the Volunteer Application, and check what you are interested in helping with at KNC.  After we receive your application we will work with assignment supervisors to match you with an opportunity.  Are you interested in an Internship with KNC? Fill out our Internship Application here. 

Learn more about Volunteer Policies and Benefits, Youth Volunteers, and Group Volunteers.

Following are just a few of the many opportunities to volunteer at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.  We hope to hear from you!


Volunteer Needs

Asylum Lake Adventure Day(s) Volunteers

Asylum Lake Adventure Day(s) Volunteers

Asylum Lake Adventure Day is part of the Kalamazoo Nature Center's Outside While Learning--OWL--program. It is a cooperative event between KNC and Western Michigan University's landscape services department with support from the University's Office of the President.

About 20 WMU students and community volunteers will assist during the event, and Buster Bronco, WMU's mascot, will spend time outdoors with the kids.

Some volunteers will serve as naturalists, offering hands-on environmental lessons at educational stations set up throughout the Asylum Lake Preserve. Others will act as nature guides, leading participants, teachers and parents along the preserve's network of trails.

Particants will learn about trees, lakes, pond ecology and the value of exercise and free exploration.

Dates are April 20 (rain date 4/21) and May 8 (rain date 5/9).

Interested volunteers should contact Lorri Walch at lwalch@naturecenter.org.

Nature's Way Preschool Classroom Volunteer

Nature's Way Preschool Classroom Volunteer

Nature's Way Preschool is a nature-based school run by the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Located on Oakland Drive, just north of I-94, the school is nestled in a beautiful 40-acre forest setting along the Portage Creek. We are looking for volunteers to help out in the classroom, reading to students, assisting with activities, helping children get in and out of their outdoor gear and more. The ideal volunteer will make a commitment to one shift per week and will like working with 3-4 year old children. We have two skilled teachers in each classroom, so volunteers will be well trained and supervised. Volunteer shifts will be Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please email Kevin Wordelman if you are interested!

Become a KNC Connector

KNC Connectors

Our mission is to inspire people to care for the environment by providing experiences that connect them to the natural world. This is now the job of the KNC Connector! Connectors will circulate the Visitor’s Center on Saturdays and Sundays to welcome visitors, interpret exhibits, and connect visitors with KNC programs. Connectors must be polite and approachable and should be familiar with KNC grounds, animals, plants, trails, etc. but don't worry - training is provided! We are asking Connectors to commit to serving at least one 3-hour shift per month. There are 3 different shifts available: Saturdays (10 a.m. - 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.) and Sundays (1 p.m. - 4 p.m.). To become a KNC Connector or for more information on the position, email Kevin today!

Animal Exhibit Maintenance

Animal Exhibit Maintenance

Our Education Department needs a few good volunteers to help maintain our animal exhibits. Volunteers will change animal water, clean water dishes, fill bird feeders, feed reptiles, amphibians and fish and more. This task requires about one hour per day and we currently need volunteers on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you are interested, please contact Lauren Knollenberg.

DeLano Farm Animal Training

DeLano Farm Animal Training

If you are interested in volunteering to work with farm animals at DeLano Farms this season, please plan to attend the DeLano Animal Volunteer Training on 
Friday, May 26 from 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Training is mandatory for all animal volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Kevin at kwordelman@naturecenter.org.

Drivers - Wagon Rides & Field Trips

Program Van Driver

Help us get people out into nature as a Program Van Driver. Pick up groups from the local community or KNC and drive them to their field trips. Excellent driving record required. 15 passenger van training and skills evaluation must be completed before first assignment. Commitment: as needed by request. 
Contact Jenny Brenneman at jmetz@naturecenter.org

Wagon Ride Driver

Help children and families explore the DeLano Farms property by driving the tractor for our wagon ride programs. Each wagon ride lasts approximately 30 minutes, multiple trips can run back to back. This position is most active in spring and summer, with sporadic needs in the fall. Excellent driving record required. Tractor training and skills evaluation must be completed before first assignment. Commitment: as needed by request. 
Contact Cortney Collia at CCollia@naturecenter.org

Citizen Science Volunteers

Become a citizen scientist!

Join our team of dedicated citizen scientists by first filling out a volunteer application with your skills, interests, and weekly availability so we can match you with a project that is the best fit for you.
For more information on citizen science and current opportunities, check out our website here.


Stewardship Field Volunteers

Stewardship Field Volunteers

Join the Stewardship Field Director and others  in actively managing the important natural areas and features on KNC property. Stewardship Field Volunteers will perform various aspects of ecological management under the guidance and supervision of KNC's well-qualified and experienced staff. No prior experience or training necessary; if you are passionate about land conservation and wish to engage with restoration work on KNC property this is the position for you! Projects will run every week on Tuesdays in two shifts: a morning shift from 9:00am-12:00pm and an afternoon shift from 1:00pm-4:00pm. This position does require moderate outdoor activity. The KNC needs your help with restoration work in order to improve habitats for such species as the threatened eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Contact Kevin at kwordelman@naturecenter.org or (269) 381-1574 ext. 25 for more information, or fill out a volunteer application online.

Stewardship Volunteers

Lawn Mowing

We are looking for someone with experience operating a commercial lawnmower or tractor.  This individual will be responsible for mowing a designated area of turf on KNC's main campus.  They will also be required to do a routine maintenance check of the lawnmower before use every day (e.g. check oil, tire pressure, fuel level, blade sharpness, etc.)  A similar inspection should be performed after the mowing is complete and any problems or repairs needed should be reported to a KNC Facilities Management staff person.  It is important that this person works smart and safely and does not mow anywhere near people.  Foreign objects can be launched out of the chute causing bodily harm and/or property damage. 

Trail Maintenance

We have 11 miles of trails at KNC and need help with the constant maintenance and upkeep.  We are looking for individuals that are interested in adopting a section of a trail to maintain.  This job will require individuals to be experienced with or have a willingness to be trained using trimming tools such as loppers, manual hedge trimmers, and hand pruners.  The actual trail maintenance will consist of trimming back overgrown vegetation that may be growing on the trails or hanging over the trails.  Another large part of this job will be reporting any major issues on the trails to a KNC Facilities Management staff person.  Examples of 'major issues' would be; downed trees, dangerously leaning trees, eroded trail sections, benches or fencing in need of repairs, and anything else that may be dangerous or in need of repairs.   

 

Garden Volunteers

Dig in at the Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden on Tuesday mornings. 


Exhibits Volunteers

Exhibits Committee Volunteers

The Exhibits department is looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to be part of an Exhibits Volunteer Committee; the purpose of which is to generate ideas for, strike, and install new exhibits. Preferred interests in design, education, and creativity - ages 16+. For more information please contact Emma Vasicek:evasicek@naturecenter.org.

Carpentry Volunteers

The Exhibits and Facilities departments are looking for experienced carpenters to help with new and ongoing carpentry projects! Projects occur sporadically throughout the year and the position requires a semi-flexible schedule. Experience with a variety of woodworking tools is preferred. Contact Emma Vasicek at evasicek@naturecenter.org for more information. 


Internship Opportunities

Communications Intern

Communications Intern

The Communications Internship is an unpaid volunteer position. The intern will assist with a wide range of projects within the Development Department including researching and drafting media releases, posting KNC programs and events to media calendars, photo editing, planning, development, and maintenance of a social media calendar, track analytics, and additional projects as assigned by supervisor.  For more information, view the full internship description here.

Outdoor Education/Nature Facilitation Intern

Outdoor Education/Nature Facilitation Intern

KNC aims to connect people in our area to the natural world. Opportunities for interns include youth, family and adult programming in school or community group programs, facilitation, adventure, camp, farm, historical or casual visitor interactions.  For details, contact Jenny Brenneman via email or at (269) 381-1574 ext. 24.

Sustainable Education Farm Intern

Sustainable Education Farm Intern

The DeLano Education Farm is a historic 1850's farm where knowledge of the past helps us to educate about a green future. Opportunities for interns include invasive species removal, animal care, gardening/food production, education, animal care, blacksmithing and general labor (repairs and maintenance). For details, contact Jenny Brenneman via email or at (269) 381-1574 ext. 24.


     
Kalamazoo Nature Center  •  7000 North Westnedge Avenue  •  Kalamazoo, MI 49009
PHONE (269) 381-1574  •  FAX (269) 381-2557 

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Contact Us


Kevin Wordelman
Director of People & Culture
E
mail Kevin or call (269) 381-1574 ext. 25