Welcome Allerton Park & Retreat Center Volunteers!


Allerton’s generous volunteers help serve our visitors, preserve the Natural Areas, and improve this spectacular place. Volunteering provides Allerton with necessary help, while giving our community members the chance to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and have a direct impact on the Park.

To become an Allerton Volunteer, please fill out the volunteer application and sign and return the waiver & release form. New volunteers must also attend a General Information Session to be held monthly March-November*. Additional training may be required for specific volunteer roles such as tour guides.

For questions contact Olivia at owarren@illinois.edu or 217-300-9913.

*General Information Sessions will start again in March 2022. Below are the current scheduled dates and are open to the public. All sessions are scheduled for 1:00pm and will be held in the Auditorium located in the Greenhouse. A Zoom link can be shared upon request.

  • March 12th
  • April 16th
  • May 21st
  • July 16th
  • August 20th
  • September 17th
  • October 15th

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Volunteer Opportunities

Tour Guide

Summary: Create a memorable and educational experience for visitors by sharing the history and interesting facts of the Formal Gardens or Mansion.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Be familiar with Allerton facts and history
  • Lead tours for Allerton Visitors
  • Answer visitor questions about the estate during the tour
  • Know your audience and get to know the group you are touring
  • Assist with training of future tour guides

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Read books, handouts, and online resources of the history and facts of Robert Allerton, his estate, and the art and gardens within it
  • Shadow at least 3 tours in your area of interest (Mansion, Formal Gardens) led by an experienced tour guide
  • Take and pass a tour guide quiz in your area of interest (Mansion, Formal Gardens)
  • Lead your own tour, shadowed by an experienced tour guide
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Most tours last about 1 hour. During special events, you may lead 2-3 tours.
  • Complete your training at your own pace; however, most tour guides are fully trained within a month depending on available tours to shadow/lead.

Gardens

bulb garden volunteers

Summary: Plant, water, weed, and prune to keep Allerton’s 14 formal gardens looking their best. “Adopt a garden” to care for a specific garden more extensively.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Help with routine aspects of gardening and landscaping like weeding, watering, and planting
  • Adopt-a-Garden by performing regular maintenance for one garden
  • Assist with cleaning and maintaining sculptures and planters within the Formal Gardens

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Become familiar with the gardens and their history
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Volunteer at least 4 hours a month
  • Most volunteer work in the gardens would be done between April and September/October

 

Trail Steward

Summary: Keep Allerton’s 14 miles of hiking trails safe and useable.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Pick up litter and debris
  • Remove small obstructions from the hiking paths
  • Report any conditions that need immediate attention by staff (i.e. fallen limbs, standing water, etc.)

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Become familiar with the Natural Areas and trails
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Hike a particular trail at least once a month for a period of one year

Allerton Allies

Summary: A dedicated Natural Areas group that focuses on keeping Allerton’s Natural Areas safe and beautiful

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Remove invasive species
  • Plant native species
  • Assist with trail maintenance
  • Participate in wildlife surveys

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Become familiar with the Natural Areas, native and invasive species, and trails
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Attend monthly workdays planned by the Allies, usually Saturdays

Photographer

Summary: Contribute to our marketing efforts by taking photos around the park and during special events and programs. Not a photographer? No problem! Consider joining the Allerton Park Photography Group to learn photography skills and techniques. If you're a pro, consider joining to teach new photographers what you know. Ask Olivia how you can become a member of APPG!

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Visit the park on your own time to take photos of wildlife, the Gardens, and Natural Areas
  • Attend special events and programs and take photos of the event and participants
  • Sign a photo release

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Provide Allerton with photos taken during events and around the Park
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Attend at least one special event or program a year (2-3 hours)

Programs & Special Events

 

Summary: Be part of our community engagement efforts by helping with various tasks that go into providing engaging and successful programs and events at Allerton.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Share your skills and expertise where you are comfortable in order to help plan a successful program or event
  • Assist with planning, set-up, tear-down, and other tasks involved with event and program planning
  • Assist with promotion for events and programs as needed
  • Ensure guests/participants are getting their needs met during the event or program

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Assist with at least one special event or program a year (2-3 hours)

Youth Programs

 

Summary: Assist with Allerton’s various youth programs held throughout the year including Youth Summer Camp. If you have an idea that would make for a great youth program, you can help with the planning and delivery of the program.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Share your skills and expertise where you are comfortable in order to help plan a successful youth program
  • Assist with planning, set-up, tear-down, and other tasks involved with program planning
  • Assist with promotion for events and programs as needed
  • Ensure participants are getting their needs met during the event or program
  • Assist Youth Summer Camp instructors and coordinators during camp days

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Assist with at least one special event or program a year (2-3 hours)

Special Projects

Summary: Assist with miscellaneous or one-time projects, usually temporary, focusing help to assist with a specific project like painting, maintenance, etc.

 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Share your skills and expertise where you are comfortable
  • Assist Park staff where needed

 

Requirements:

  • Attend a General Information session for new volunteers (virtual or in-person)
  • Sign and return Volunteer Waiver & Release form
  • Log hours on MyImpact Portal

 

Time Commitment:

  • 1-hour General Information session for new volunteers
  • Assist with at least project a year, if available (2-3 hours)

Why Allerton?

Built as a private residence by artist and philanthropist Robert Allerton in 1900, Allerton Park and Retreat Center is a historical treasure that was donated to the University of Illinois in 1946. The property contains 1,500 acres of woodland and prairie areas, a mansion and reflecting pond, a 10-acre meadow, formal sculpture gardens, hiking trails, a café, and several lodging facilities.

Away from the distractions and noise of everyday life, Allerton offers a unique opportunity to experience art, nature, and history. Explore 14 miles of hiking trails, wander through formal gardens with over 100 garden ornaments, and marvel at the quiet, expansive grounds. Organized programs open to the community and visitors include outdoor concerts, youth summer camps, themed dinners and educational events, nature hikes, and tours.

Allerton has become a destination for meetings, conferences, weddings, retreats, and special events for people from all over the country. Businesses and organizations find the secluded, intimate setting offers time and space for quiet reflection and truly creative thinking. Wedding couples and guests are offered a truly unforgettable experience in the sun-kissed gardens or majestic Mansion.

 

 

MISSION: Sustain and promote the legacy of Robert Allerton Park and engage and enrich the University of Illinois community and the citizens of Illinois in nature, arts, and landscape ecology.

VISION: To inspire the community to utilize and value nature, history, and the arts through accessible and sustainable programming, research, and facilities.