How Do I Become a Blandford Volunteer?
Follow the 3 simple step listed below to become a registered Blandford Volunteer. Once this process is completed, you will be able to volunteer for any department or event within Blandford Nature Center.
Step 1: Complete a Volunteer Application
Anyone interested in volunteering at Blandford Nature Center (except service groups–please refer to the Service Groups section for more information) must:
- Fill out a Volunteer Application (Volunteers under 18 years old must also have their parent/guardian sign the application)
- Consent to background checks
Please send the applicable forms to our Volunteer and Outreach Manager, Katelyn, at:
Blandford Nature Center
Attn: Katelyn Nettler, Volunteer & Outreach Manager
1715 Hillburn Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Subject: Volunteer Application
Since we work with so many different groups and are fortunate enough to have several unique community partnerships, it is a requirement that all of our volunteers are registered officially with Blandford Nature Center.
Please note that it typically takes at least 2 weeks to process any volunteer applications.
Step 2: Clear Background Checks
Once your Volunteer Application (and Parental Permission signature if applicable) are submitted to our Volunteer & Outreach Manager, we 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)
Once you have cleared those background checks, you will receive an invitation from our Volunteer & Outreach Manager to attend a Volunteer Orientation.
Step 3: Attend a Volunteer Orientation
Our Volunteer Orientations allow prospective volunteers to dive deeper into what is expected of volunteers here at Blandford Nature Center as well as highlight the many volunteer opportunities that exist at Blandford. This step is required in order to be a registered volunteer–if you do not attend a Volunteer Orientation within 2 months of your invitation, your Volunteer Application will be discarded.
Below are the 2018 Volunteer Orientation Dates:
Saturday, January 13th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, February 15th 6-7:30 pm
Thursday, March 15th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, April 14th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, May 10th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, June 16th 10-11:30 am
Saturday, July 14th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, August 16th 6-7:30 pm
- Thursday, September 13th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, October 6th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, November 15th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, December 15th 10-11:30 am
After you’ve attended a Volunteer Orientation, our Volunteer and Outreach Manager will send a follow-up email to each individual to discuss the next steps you should take, focusing on your interests expressed in your Volunteer Application and with our Volunteer and Outreach Manager at the Volunteer Orientation. Each follow-up email is customize to each individual so that we can create a volunteer pathway as unique as the person volunteering!
Blandford Nature Center volunteers are self-directed and motivated by their passion of being surrounded by nature and giving back to their community. After your follow-up email, it is up to you to determine when you’d like to volunteer and for which projects, departments, or events you’d like to volunteer for. You can see upcoming chances to volunteer on our Volunteer Calendar page. As always, you can email our Volunteer and Outreach Manager with any questions you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What are some of the different ways I can help as registered Blandford Volunteer?
Below are just a few ways that a Registered Volunteer can help out around Blandford Nature Center. Explore some of the different areas below to find a good fit! More information on different ways to volunteer are provided during Volunteer Orientation.
We currently have no openings for Wildlife Volunteers, please check back at another time.
- Feeding the wildlife
- Cleaning of the Wildlife Education Center and Wildlife Trail
- Providing enrichment to the wildlife
- Prepping new posters/signage for Wildlife Ambassadors
Due to the intensive training and resources dedicated to volunteers in this area, we require that all Wildlife Volunteers must commit a minimum of 8 months of volunteering and must be 18 years old or older.
- Washing Produce
- Caring for the farm animals
- Cleaning farm facilities
*NOTE*: This is a seasonal opportunity, available during the late spring to early fall.
- Trail Guide/Outdoor Educator
- Seasonal Camp Aide (ages 13-18)
*NOTE*: Most of our Trail Guide/Outdoor Educator needs are during school hours.
- Mulching trails
- Removing invasive plants
- Planting native plants
We have many Community Programs and Special Events at Blandford Nature Center–Sugarbush Festival, Snowshoe with Your Sweetie, Harvest Festival, Longest Day 5K, Jeans & Jewels Gala–to name a few.
Volunteers can assist in many different ways at these events:
- Arts & Crafts
- Historic interpreter
- Sugarbush Operator
- Festival Station leader
- Catering/refreshment tending
- And much more
- Facilities Upkeep
- Data entry
- Creating new systems