Interesting in giving your time, passion and skills to Blandford?
Blandford Nature Center has several areas of our non-profit that needs your helping hands! Whether it’s pulling invasive plant species along one of Blandford’s beautiful trails, tending to the Wildlife Ambassadors that call the Wildlife Education Center home, or teaching today’s youth about the wonders of nature as a Volunteer Trail Guide, volunteers are highly valued as an integral part of the success of Blandford Nature Center.
Blandford has many opportunities that let you share your time and talent. We would love to help you find something that matches your interests, skills, and availability.
- Washing Produce
- Caring for the farm animals
- Cleaning farm facilities
- Feeding the wildlife
- Cleaning of the Wildlife Education Center and Wildlife Trail
- Providing enrichment to the wildlife
- Prepping new posters/signage for Wildlife Ambassadors
- Trail Guide/Outdoor Educator
- Seasonal Camp Aide (ages 13-18)
- 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
How Do I Become a Blandford Volunteer?
This volunteer option is for individuals interested in becoming part of the Blandford Crew! You can regularly give your time, passion and skills to Blandford Nature Center in variety of ways.
Step 1: Complete a Volunteer Application
Anyone interested in volunteering at Blandford Nature Center (except service groups–please refer to the Service Groups section of this page for more information) must:
- Fill out a Volunteer Application
- Consent to background checks
- Volunteers under 18 years old must also complete a Parental Permission Form.
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 Form, 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 2017 Volunteer Orientation Dates:
Saturday, January 14th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, February 9th 6-7:30 pm
Thursday, March 9th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, April 8th 10-11:30 am
Saturday, May 13th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, June 8th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, July 15th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, August 10th 6-7:30 pm
- Thursday, September 14th 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, October 7th 10-11:30 am
Saturday, November 11th 10-11:30 am
Thursday, December 7th 6-7:30 pm
Step 4: Receive a Follow-Up Email
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 Opportunities page. As always, you can email our Volunteer and Outreach Manager with any questions you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Service Group Volunteering
This volunteer option is for organizations and corporations that would like to put together a representative group to complete a day of service here at Blandford Nature Center.
Service Groups are exempt from having to complete Volunteer Applications however they will need to submit a Liability Waiver with their Service Group Work Day Request (or drop it off at the time of the service).
Step 1: Request a Service Group Work Day
Fill out the below information to request a Service Group Work Day:
- Organization/Group Name
- Organization Contact’s Full Name
- Organization Contact’s Number
- Organization Contact’s Email
- How many individuals plan on attending the Service Group Work Day?
- 1st Date Choice of Service Work Day
- 2nd Date Choice of Service Work Day
- Time Frame of Service Work Day ([EX]: 12:00-4:00pm)
- Any specific projects or work areas you would like to request your organization work on or with?
- Are there any special needs or circumstances we need to work with? ([EX]: wheelchair/crutches, allergies, cognitively impaired, senior citizens, etc.)
Please send your to our Volunteer and Outreach Manager at:
616-735-6240 ext. 22
Subject: “Insert Organization Name Here Service Work Day Request”
Step 2: Receive Service Group Work Day Confirmation
Once we’ve been able to review your Service Group Work Day request, we will schedule it on our Volunteer Calendar and send you a confirmation. The confirmation email will include your Organization 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.
Optional Step: Claim a Special Service Work Day Project
As a non-profit, Blandford Nature Center often times doesn’t have resources set aside for some of our wishlist projects. However, generous support and donations make many of our dreams come true! You could become one of those generous organizations by not only doing the hands-on work but also purchasing or donating the supplies to complete the project. Select one of the following as your Service Group’s special project to accomplish during your day of service out at Blandford Nature Center:
Nature Nook Expansion(Claimed by the Grand River Prep High School)
- Wagon Wheel Trail Foot Bridge
- Trail Signage & Maps
This volunteer option is for individuals or groups that would like to attend an open volunteer event, like Eco-Stewardship Work Days, without becoming a registered Blandford Nature Center volunteer. Please keep in mind that while a Volunteer Application does not need to be completed, you will still be required to sign a Liability Waiver at these volunteer events.
2017 Eco-Stewardship Work Days
Work focuses on habitat restoration, trail maintenance, stream clean-up and removal of invasive species (like buckthorn, privet and honeysuckle) on several sections of our 143-acre site. Education is always a major focus of the day with instruction not only on removal but also on identification of several native Michigan plant species and general ecology. Eco-Stewardship Workdays provide close-up, hands-on work that has tangible results. Volunteering community members learn to identify and manage plants that may be growing in their own backyards, their schools or city parks and how those plants and their volunteer efforts directly impact their surrounding environment.
Attending a Volunteer Orientation does not mean you are under any obligation to volunteer. All Eco-Stewardship Workdays begin at Blandford Nature Center (1715 Hillburn Ave. NW Grand Rapids, MI) with invasive plant identification and ends with the removal of said invasive plant.
2017 Schedule of Eco-Stewardship Work Days
- Saturday, February 11th from 9:00am-12:00pm
- Saturday, March 11th from 9:00am-12:00pm
- Saturday, April 8th from 9:00am-12:00pm
- Thursday, April 20th from 5:30-8:00pm
- Saturday, May 13th from 9:00am-12:00pm
- Thursday, May 18th from 5:30-8:00pm
- Saturday, June 17th from 9:00am-12:00pm
- Thursday, June 22nd from 5:30-8:00pm