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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.
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Volunteer Opportunities at Garfield Park Conservatory

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Spring brings a multitude of volunteer opportunities at Garfield Park Conservatory.

Please contact Harmony if you are available and interested in any of the volunteer opportunities listed below.

Happy spring!

Harmony Picciuca

Garden and Volunteer Programs Coordinator

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

300 N. Central Park Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60624

773.638.1766 x 24

Nature Oasis Family Nights

Come on out to one or both nights to help lead fun craft and planting activities. Work with children and parents from our local school partnerships.

These are really fun events to work, as the kids and adults really enjoy the activities.


Thursday March 29, 2007

Thursday April 19, 2007

Thursday May 17, 2007

Volunteer Shifts:

4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

15th Annual Green and Growing Urban Gardening Fair

Saturday April 28th

We need all hands on deck for this very special event. Volunteers are required for set up/tear down, vendor support, children's activities, workshop moderation, garden book sale help, a silent auction, the information table, greeting positions, Green Cafe, music support and much more.

(If you are busy on the 28th, but still want to help out, we have sign-painting/ prep day on Friday, the 27th.)


Thursday April 26th (Green and Growing Fair Volunteer Training 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in the Community Room)

Friday April 27th (Day before prep and sign Painting Noon-5:00 p.m.)

Saturday April 28th (Day of the Event 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Volunteer Shifts for Saturday the 28th:

7:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Set-up

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. First Shift

12:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Second Shift

2:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Break-Down

Weekend Family Fun in Elizabeth Morse Genius Children's Garden

Come on out to help at our popular Family Make-And-Take in Children's Garden. Children's Garden volunteers are asked to commit to at least one month of Saturdays or Sundays, as there is special training required for this position. This position is very fun, please let us know if you are interested. Kelly Katzmann, our family program's facilitator, will contact you with more information.

Starting in April we especially need a volunteer Saturdays from 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.


Saturdays and Sundays in April, May, June, July, August, September, and October

Volunteer Shift Times: (shifts will soon be available for longer stretches during our Niki in the Garden exhibit (from May – October)- shorter shifts are available as well- it just depends on what you are willing to commit to.)

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Gardeners at Work in the Demonstration Garden

Help people become better gardeners by letting visitors know what the Demonstration Garden is, what the gardener's are doing, and give resources on how to be successful at urban gardening. Each week has a scheduled gardening focus starting in May. (See below.) We will need volunteers to man the resource table as well as work in the demonstration garden.

March-April-Gardeners at Work volunteers are needed to help with transplanting our organic seedlings in greenhouse one and spring clean-up and vegetable bed prep in the demonstration garden.


Thursdays evenings and Tuesday and Saturday mornings-May-October


Thursday Evenings form 5:00 p.m.-8:00p.m.

Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m.-Noon

(Topics scheduled so far are as follows-)

May 3rd and 5th

Garden Focus Area: Planting Early Season Vegetables

In early May, there is still a chance for frost, so come learn which vegetables are hardy enough to handle this risk. Gardeners will start planting the Demonstration Garden's edible garden.

May 10th and May 12th

Garden Focus Area: Sun & Shade Flower Borders

Do you know which side of the street your flower garden grows on? Learn which flowers like the sunny side, and which ones prefer making it in the shade. Gardeners will work on planting the Demonstration Garden's flower border.

May 17th and May 19th

Garden Focus Area: Climbing Plants & What They Climb On

You can add structure, whimsy, and natural hiding spaces to your garden by incorporating trellises and fences out of willow and found branches. Come get ideas on creating natural structural elements in your garden space. Gardeners will be building trellises and planting their living climbers.

May 24thand May 26th

Garden Focus Area: The Herb Garden in Chicago

Learn which herbs grow well in our city's climate, both in containers and out, then discover some tricks on how to plant and care for them. Gardeners will be planting the Demonstration Garden's herb spiral.

May 31st and June 2

Garden Focus Area: All About Nightshades

Did you know that tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants all come from the same family known as nightshades? Well, now's the time of year to transplant this group of favorites into the outside garden. Learn which varieties of this popular plant family are good picks, then discover proper ways to transplant them. Find out how to care for and maintain these garden plants to ensure successful yields throughout the growing season. Gardeners will be transplanting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants to the garden.

June 7th and 9th

Garden Focus Area: Three Sisters Garden and other Companion Plantings

Did you know that certain plants can benefit other plants simply be being planted next to each other? For example, Native American tribes traditionally planted beans, squash, and corn (known as "the three sisters") in the same hole. The three plants help each other by maximizing growing conditions for one another. The corn serves as a support for climbing pole beans, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, important for nitrogen loving, heavy feeding corn, and the squash covers the ground of the corn and beans to both hold moisture in and repel hungry pests. Get to know your favorite plant friendships, while the gardeners plant a Three Sisters Garden.

June 14th and 16th

Garden Focus Area: Worm Poop, Fish Juice, and Other Good Organic Garden Fertilizers

Some of the grossest things make the greatest gardens. Learn how to use organic garden fertilizers in your garden, and look inside our bins to see some of our worms at work making compost. Gardeners will be fertilizing and composting in the Demonstration Garden.

June 21st and 23rd

Garden Focus Area: Soul Food & Other Themed Gardens

What's more fun than a theme party? A theme garden! And what goes better with black-eyed peas than greens, sweet potatoes, and okra? Come check out our Soul Food garden, and get suggestions for other great idea pairings, such as pizza, bathtub, and color gardens. Come join in the fun as gardeners plant the sweet potato component of our Soul Food garden.

June 29th and 30th

Garden Focus Area: Much Ado About Mulch

Take a swing through any neighborhood, and you'll see examples of trees that have been both properly and improperly mulched. Come learn how to mulch the right way during this session, as well as discovering the benefits mulching provides. And since strawberries get their name from the traditional mulch that is used on them (straw!), Gardeners will highlight our topic by mulching, then harvesting the Demonstration Garden's strawberries.

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