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a natural area by name.
a natural area by county.
Explore outdoors
and find places to go.
Use our interactive map
to find natural areas.
and help care for SNAs.
Contact information
For information on the SNA Volunteer Program, contact:
Jared Urban
Volunteer coordinator

Extra SNA Volunteer Information

Volunteers cutting logs

SNA volunteer training

Volunteers who have given 20 hours to the program are eligible for reduced training rates. Please contact us to learn more.

Upcoming trainings

Online basic plant ID course

* Waitlist Only * Sign-up by May 15, class opens May 19

  • Get the botany basics you need to identify plants. Whether you are a natural resources volunteer or specialist, gardener, naturalist, or artist this class provides the fundamentals you need to get started.
  • From the comfort of your home or office, use self-paced online learning modules developed by Morton Arboretum to learn about plant identification.
  • Slides narrated by a plant expert and interactive, no-pressure quizzes will help you learn the vocabulary to name plants and describe their structures and life histories.

Plan to spend a total of about 90 minutes completing the online material. Students will have access to online materials for one month.

Online invasive plant videos and virtual office hours hosted by UW-Madison’s Mark Renz weed science lab

Beginining May 8th - Each Friday from Noon - 1:00 PM

(topic is garlic mustard control and management) and continuing into summer. Find out about topics and more. After a brief introduction to the topic of the week and use the rest of the time for discussion and to answer your questions.

There are courses taught by other organizations in additional subjects. Contact us to find out more.

  • Chainsaw safety (required to use a chainsaw on DNR lands)
  • Herbicide certification (required to supervise others using herbicides)- order the book (category 6. Right-of-Way and Nat. Areas), study, then take the exam.
  • Prescribed fire (S130/190 is required to help on DNR lands)- Check the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council training page for trainings often in late winter.
  • UWM Field station: courses on Wisconsin plant communities, ID of plants and animals, intro to animal groups, etc.
  • Wisconsin Master Naturalist courses and advanced trainings.
Volunteer shirt

SNA volunteer gear

Have you volunteered 20 hours? You get a t-shirt. 50 hours gets you a hat! Show it off and brag to your friends.

Document your time and fill out this form and we’ll get them to you. What counts as time? Any on-the-ground time you spend taking care of a DNR managed State Natural Area by removal of invasive species, collecting seed, scouting projects, prescribed fire, sharpening tools for SNA work, etc. If you are volunteering as a part of a workday the workday leader will document your time. How do you document time? If your work is not being documented use the online reporting system so we know what you are doing. Your work can be used as match for grants which means sometimes your work is doubled!

Since our funds are limited we are restricting this to DNR managed sites but can work with partners to get shirts at no profit to us. Please limit to one shirt and hat per person. T-shirts and hats are ordered once a year in late January and sent out in February or March.

Volunteers in the field

Take care of your public land

Individual projects are available on a variety of SNAs. Individual jobs include spraying invasives, using tools to cut brush, lead workdays, bring goodies, enter data, fix tools, collect seeds, etc. What do you enjoy doing? Does it fit within our mission? To talk about this email or call us at…. Our greatest needs are weed/brush management and seed collection.

Individual volunteer opportunities

  • Steward (job description) needs- Hogback Prairie, Maiden Rock Bluff, Rocky Run Oak Savanna
  • Seed collection (July-November) needs- Mazomanie Oak Barrens, Rock River, Rocky Run Oak Savanna
  • Other needs- Environmental educator, Workday goodie supplier

Learn more about being a steward

Mindset of a steward

  • Available time
  • Passion for nature
  • Enjoy physical work (dragging brush to a fire, operating a chainsaw, pulling weeds, spraying, etc.)
  • Desire to involve others
  • Willingness to learn and teach others
  • Enjoy working as a part of a team or with minimal direction


We want to do this work well and think on the job training is best. We also sponsor a variety of trainings for volunteer leadership, chainsaw safety, herbicide certification, first aid/CPR, etc. and recommend advanced courses through universities and other organizations. Find out more about trainings above.

Steps towards being a steward

You don’t have to jump right in. Here’s how you can wade in first. Many people start with a doable project at a site they love and learn from others, but there’s no set path.

  • Attend workdays
  • Learn a skill and see if you enjoy it (seed collecting, herbicide, chainsaw)
  • Find a mentor to learn from at a different SNA
  • Take a volunteer leadership course
  • Lead workdays

Would you enjoy it (benefits to expect)?

  • Discover new things about the properties you volunteer at.
  • Watch seasonal changes.
  • See the result of your hard work over time.
  • The challenges of course!

Can you handle it (challenges to expect)?

  • Unexpected invasives can often pop up.
  • Sometimes our plantings don’t come up very well.
  • Bugs, weather conditions, and finding your limits.
  • Recognizing your limits or boundaries and sticking to them to stay in the long game.
Contact information
For information on the SNA Volunteer Program, contact:
Jared Urban
Volunteer coordinator
Last revised: Thursday April 30 2020