Background Image




Provide on-going care for our various gardens as seasonal needs demand. Activities include: planting, seed collection and processing, weeding, general care and cleanups. Groups are welcome to help us care for our gardens.

Two different gardens need care:

How to Apply

Complete a Volunteer Interest Form and a volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you.

Volunteer Interest Form

Independence Grove Garden Information

See below for more information about volunteering at the Independence Grove Native Garden.


After opening in 2001-2002, Independence Grove quickly became the most visited Forest Preserve in Lake County due to the large variety of recreational opportunities, including boating and fishing in the 129 acre lake, a Visitor's Center with cafe, concerts in the Plaza and plenty of hiking and biking opportunities. At the heart of the preserve is the Native Garden, which is the work area of the 'IG' garden volunteers. Volunteer opportunities in the garden started not long after the preserve opened.

The Native Garden

The Native Garden is located within the 6-acre central recreation area and encompasses over 2.5 acres of native plantings. Although by all appearances the garden looks like many native landscapes, it is important to note that it is first and foremost a garden and not a pure ecological restoration. By applying a restoration ethic within an urban garden design, the Native Garden provides a demonstration garden for people who appreciate not only the inherent value of native plants, but also their beauty. As such, the term ‘native’ is applied broadly here and includes species from the Chicagoland area in general and can also include cultivars of native species.

Volunteer Work

The volunteers typically work from 9 AM to noon every Monday and Thursday from mid-May until the end of September. 

Typical work tasks include:

  • Control of invasive, aggressive and exotic species by hand pulling
  • Installation of new plants
  • Pruning of trees and shrubs
  • Mulching
  • Watering


  • Regular attendance on Monday and Thursday workdays.
  • Ability to work outdoors in a wide variety of weather conditions.
  • Strong interest in gardening and native plants.
  • Completion of the volunteer agreement and waiver.

Please reach out to Mark Hurley with any questions: or 847-968-3324.


  • 011_-_Copy
  • 061_-_Copy
  • 117_-_Copy
  • 20130619_0015_-_Copy