Volunteer Supervisors

Volunteer Supervisors are the gears of Great River Greening’s events. They take leadership roles at volunteer events and ensure participants are safe, completing quality work, and having fun!

What is a Volunteer Supervisor?

As mentioned, Volunteer Supervisors lead, motivate, and educate small groups of volunteers at Great River Greening’s volunteer events. They’re the gears of our events and the faces of Great River Greening to the general public!

Volunteer Supervisors are from all types of backgrounds, have varied experience levels, and range in age from under 20 to over 80!

How do I join the team?

Our Volunteer Supervisors tell us it’s tremendously satisfying to help others learn about the environment while making tangible improvements to our urban landscape. Anyone is welcome to join our Volunteer Supervisor Team, but a training is required.

Am I qualified?
Prior experience in a related topic like gardening, farm work, or habitat restoration is helpful, but certainly not required! Rather, the qualities of a good Volunteer Supervisor are as follows:

  • excellent communication skills
  • ability to work outdoors and use gardening and similar tools
  • a team player; enjoys working with others
  • can effectively work with people of diverse backgrounds and ages
  • cares about the environment
  • respectful, patient, and sincere
  • may have prior knowledge of conservation, restoration, or related fields
Volunteer Supervisor Training Basics
Still nervous that you don’t meet the qualifications? We will teach you all you need to know! Completion of one of our two 2-hour Volunteer Supervisor Trainings is required to become a member of the Team. We typically hold these trainings in March and August, just prior to the start of our spring and fall event seasons. Which training you attend depends on the types of programs you wish to be involved in:

  • Want to lead volunteers of all ages to restore landscapes at our public and private/corporate events? Then you’ll want to take the Adult and Family Programs training.
  • Want to lead educational and restoration activities with middle and high school aged youth? Then you should take the School Programs training.
  • You’re not limited to taking only one or the other! Feel free to attend both trainings to qualify as a Supervisor at both types of events.

The training covers:

  • Mission and vision of Great River Greening
  • Description and goals of the volunteer program (public and corporate or Field Learning for Teens)
  • The roles and responsibilities of the Volunteer Supervisor
  • Small group discussions and scenario work
About the Adult and Family Programs Training
By attending this two hour training, you will be qualified to be a Supervisor at our programs geared toward habitat restoration. As a Supervisor, you’ll lead and educate groups of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds at our restoration events, which include our public and private/corporate events. As a part of the Supervisor Team, you can help connect people to nature, restore our shared natural resources, and inspire environmental stewardship. You’ll also learn best practices for restoration tasks, work directly with our highly experienced Ecologists, have access to parks and restoration projects that the general public does not, and so much more!

This training is held in a lecture and small-group style setting and covers basic Great River Greening history, general details on public and corporate events, Supervisor role and expectations at these events, and tips and discussions on working with and leading volunteers.

About the School Programs Training
By attending this two hour training, you will be qualified to be a Supervisor at our programs geared toward schools and youth groups. Currently, we have one School Program: Field Learning for Teens (FLT). As a Supervisor at FLT events, you’ll lead, educate, and hold meaningful conversations with high school and middle school aged youth. In this role, you’ll help connect youth to nature and inspire them to have a voice in the environmental movement. As a Volunteer Supervisor at our Field Learning for Teens events, you’ll learn best practices for restoration tasks, gain skills in speaking with and educating teens, learn to direct and educate using different environmental science activities, and much more!
More about the Field Learning for Teens Program >

This training will be offered in two parts:
Part 1 is held in a lecture and small-group style setting and covers basic Great River Greening history, goals of FLT program, general details on FLT events, Supervisor role and expectations at these events, and best practices for working with/leading teens. Completing Part 1 of the School Programs training qualifies you to lead restoration activities at FLT events. If you wish to lead the other environmental science activities at FLT events, you’ll need to also take Part 2 of this training.

Part 2 is held outdoors at a GRG project site during the active growing months (June to September). In this setting, you’ll learn from GRG staff and occasionally from experienced Supervisors. This training covers: hands-on training of all educational activities at FLT events (including water quality chemistry testing, macroinvertebrate sampling, GPS units/geocaching, and more) and conversations on best practices for leading discussions on these activities with youth.

Upcoming Training Dates

Upcoming Volunteer Supervisor Trainings

Want to join an event prior to these dates? Come to a mini Volunteer Supervisor Training and join winter/early spring events as a shadowing Volunteer Supervisor! For questions or to talk more about a mini training, contact Katie Brom at kbrom@greatrivergreening.org or at (651) 272-3989.

What is required?

Duties at Events
At our events, Volunteer Supervisors are the leaders of each small work unit of restoration volunteers. Each work unit may consist of 5-15 adults and/or youth. Supervisor responsibilities (within their work units) include:

  • Attend pre-event training with Great River Greening Ecologist (takes place on site, one hour before each event)
  • Give a site orientation and share the significance of the work to be completed
  • Conduct easy to follow, accurate training on how to complete restoration tasks – focusing on safe and proper use of tools and best techniques (especially in helping plants to survive)
  • Be a safety watchdog! Ensure volunteers use proper techniques throughout event.
  • Ensure work is completed in a manner that meets Greening’s high-quality standards
  • Keep volunteers motivated!
  • Where possible, facilitate open discussion about restoration tasks and/or direct questions to Greening staff
Time Commitments
Per year: Once a part of the Team, we ask that Volunteer Supervisors attend at least one restoration event per year. We have three main types of events (public, private/corporate, and Field Learning for Teens); descriptions of these programs are listed here.
Per event: Timelines differ event to event, but typically a Volunteer Supervisor can plan to spend four to five hours on site with us – training with Greening Ecologists, leading a group of volunteers in the field, and sometimes sticking around for lunch afterward!
Qualities of a Good Supervisor
Coming soon!

FAQs

Do I have to take the training?
How do I register for events?
Do I need to bring my own tools?
Nope! You’re welcome to bring your own favorite gardening/work gloves, but we provide all of the tools and safety equipment (safety glasses, leather gloves, etc.) you might need at an event.

We do ask you to bring: proper clothing and footwear and a re-useable water bottle/thermos if you have one. We typically suggest long pants and sturdy, closed-toed shoes for all weather types – even if it’s hot out, we might be working in areas with thorny plants, poison ivy, etc. and it’s best to set a good example for volunteers.

I left something at an event! What do I do now?
Whoops! In the hustle and bustle of an event, it’s easy to forget something out at your work area or at the tent. After each event, we comb through the work areas and clean up the check-in/lunch spaces and put together a lost and found bin of anything that we know isn’t ours. The bin is located at our office, so send us an e-mail with a description of the item you lost and where you think you left it (what event and where on the site) and we’ll do what we can!
I took the Volunteer Supervisor Training prior to 2018, what's new?
As you’ve noticed, there have been some recent changes to the Volunteer Supervisor Training (VST) system. This is all to help support YOU and your fellow Supervisors at events; to make sure that you have all of the information that you need prior to coming to an event. The major change was adding a training for Supervisors to prepare them for Field Learning for Teens events – this new training is called the VST for School Programs. This new training and new title meant the logical need to change the original ‘Volunteer Supervisor Training’ as it was called to what is now the VST for Adult and Family Programs. This VST for Adult and Family Programs is the same training as what was offered prior to 2018, though it covers even less about the Field Learning for Teens program.

Do I need to do anything? The only reason you would need to take any action is if you plan to be a Supervisor at Field Learning for Teens events. All Supervisors, new to the FLT program or well versed, will be required to take Part 1 of the School Programs training. You may be able to prove your qualifications for Part 2 without attending the training. To see if you’re eligible, talk with Katie Brom, Volunteer Events Manager. What might make one eligible to omit Part 2 training? Demonstrated prior experience in the subject matter of the FLT activities and specifically with the tools that Great River Greening uses.

 

Questions? Contact Katie Brom at (651) 272-3989 or kbrom@greatrivergreening.org.