Sponsors – Volunteers – Interns

The new Howard Christensen Nature Center (Operated by Lily’s) is always looking for enthusiastic individuals who enjoy  volunteering to help at the nature center.

Get community service hours to meet high school or college requirements, build your resume, work with our friendly naturalists,  teach kids about nature, help maintain the trails—whatever your interests, we have a “project” for you.

Call David at 616-675-3158, or send him an email at dkieft@lilysfrogpad.com

Current volunteer needs: V=volunteer opportunity, D=Donation opportunity, E=Eagle/Scout project opportunity

  • Grant Writing
  • Snow Removal
    1. Paint Benches (V,D)
    2. Clean up/Weed Removal at South Lake Learning Circle (V)
    3. Clear Amphitheater (V)
    4. Paint Amphitheater benches (V)
    5. Paint/Repair Tadpole Pond Boardwalk (V,D)
    6. Clean out Memorial Springs reflecting pools (V)
    7. Repair board walks and rails (primarily thunderwood swamp area) (V,E,D)
    8. Clear trails(remove fallen trees, leaf/pine needle removal, lop trees, line with large logs)(V)
    9. Paint “playground” equipment (V)
    10. Clean animal pens (V)
    11. Make and replace informational signs and arboretum trail signs (E,D)(Eagle Project pending)
    12. Plant Flowers (we prefer Michigan Natives, perennials and flower pots(V)
    13. Help clean, feed and water animals(V)
    14. Rake leaves and clean up bird seed around Interpretive Center(V)
    15. Children Safe play equipment (V,E,D)
    16. Cut and Stack firewood (V)
    17. Repair/replace shelf feeders (V,E,D)
    18. Lay new mulch (V,D)
    19. Wash windows (V)
    20. Janitorial help (especially after rentals) (V)
    21. Volunteer to answer phones for a day (V)
    22. General Cleaning (bathrooms, kitchen, counters, tables, rugs) (V)
    23. Lead an event (V)
    24. Help us attain a tow behind leaf vac (D)
    25. Set up displays in the interpretive center (V,D)
    26. Donate animal food, straw or hay (D)
    27. Help build our animal resource center (V,D)
    28. Build and place birdhouses (V,E,D)
    29. Trailblazing a new trail (V,E,D)
    30. Donate animal cages, aquariums and habitat supplies (D)
    31. Clean track boxes (V)
    32. Donate Wood pellets, or help pay our propane bill (D)
    33. Design and remodel’s for upcoming projects (V,D)
    34. Donate gravel (D)
    35. Build a “screen room” at our Interpretive building entrance (V,E,D)
    36. Bring a child to visit (ALL)
    37. Make new signs (V,E,D)
    38. Repair animals fencing (V,D)
    39. Build new animal enclosure (V,E,D)
    40. Install a Split Rail Fence around play area (V,E,D)
    41. Donate books to our library (ALL)
    42. Build/donate furniture for our study room (V,E,D)
    43. Help build, till, weed our organic garden and pumpkin patch (coming 2015)












Valley Ridge Community Foundation
Sparta Animal Clinic Rogue River Golf
Gerald Van Weirman Alma C. Van   Den Hout

Connor Schaffer – Chandler Woods

Daniel W.   Crofoot

Earl Babcock

Tim & Nancy Vannest

Jennifer Carlson

Ken De Young
Anonymous Ranger Steven J Mueller

Jillaine Ericksen (Inspire Photography)

Thomas Noreen & Family

Fred Brown & Family

Dave & Joanna Huizenga

Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Teacher Naturalists in Training:

14 and older (Seniors please apply): Looking for a way to spend some of summer vacation 2013 or spend extra time giving back to your community? Consider spending it with energetic children while they explore nature up close and personal! Howard Christensen Nature Center has an opportunity for you to becomea Summer Teacher/Naturalists/Interpretive Instructor  in Training, spend time with everyday nature center responsibilities and learn appropriate ways to work with children ages 3  – 10. We will provide training!

Our aim in supporting young people is to help them develop as future leaders in our community and in the environmental field in general.

Ongoing Opportunities

Individuals may become involved at Howard Christensen Nature Center as regular volunteers. This type of volunteer work might include gardening and plant maintenance, animal care, working with visiting school groups, and general office work. Special training is required for some of these duties, and volunteer shifts will be scheduled beforehand.

Special Events

We rely upon volunteers to help enact small and large-scale community events.

Volunteers for these events might help with set up; clean up, running activities, checking in visitors, passing out fliers, and other duties as required. We will contact Special Events volunteers on an as-needed basis.


Group Volunteer Service Days

Howard Christensen Nature Center is a great place to plan a group volunteer service day for your work organization, faith congregation, youth group, school, or family! If you are interested in scheduling a volunteer service day for your group, please call David at 616-675-3158 or email him at Dakieft@yahoo.com.  For volunteer Work Day Form for Groups

 click here >>>> Volunteer Day request form for Groups   <<<<<click here


Program Supplies Needed

From paper clips to computers, the following items would be greatly appreciated and put to work right away! The majority of our funds goes to our child development and environmental programs, leaving little for administration and supplies.

  • flashlights
  • animal feed (birdseed, food scraps for Piggy, oats, corn, barley, rabbit food
  • knee pads for gardening
  • storage shed
  • green cleaning supplies
  • paper (both virgin white copy  paper, colored paper, scrap paper – we’ll print on the back – and also art  prints paper)
  • duct tape
  • double-sided carpet tape
  • hand drill with reverse function (either with or without cord)
  • outside bricks or pavers to  create a driveway
  • gift cards to local:
    • grocery stores
    • hardware stores
    • office supply stores
  • high quality raffle and silent auction items (Value $20+)
  • unique nature orientated trinkets for Gift Shop – Art items encouraged
  • critter cams for bird houses, bat house and pond area
  • bird houses (for different  species)
  • native plants to our local region
  • snow shovels
  • loppers
  • rakes
  • shovels

Call us for pickup if needed


College Internships’

The Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC) offers internships

The HCNC is located approximately 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids. The Center is a 135-acre woodland preserve, with trails, pond, gardens, and indoor animal exhibits (outdoor animal exhibits in the Spring of 2013).

Roles of the intern are in the following fields

(1)   Teach nature and animal programs to school field-trips (HCNC provides training)

(2)   Assist in the care and maintenance of the Center’s animals and their facilities and to present animals to the visiting public.

(3)   Grant Writing

(4)   Trail Maintenance

(5)   Updating of Environmental displays (current with School MI Core Curriculum)

(6)   Help with visitors questions and showing of the exhibits (educational understanding)

(7)   Create Brochures – marketing materials

(8)   Create Signage

The primary participants in our educational programs and our School Field Trips and Animal Exhibits visits are children between the ages of 2 to 14. We provide training for the teaching of our educational programs and the care of our animals.

Internship Qualifications

  • Driver’s license
  • 18 years  of age or older
  • Experience  with children and/or animals
  • A genuine liking and interest in the environment, children, and animals
  • College major in a related field (e.g., natural sciences, pre-vet, education, etc.)


At this time there is no compensation, all internships are on a volunteer bases, however this can be discussed for an actual paid position after a period of 3 months of volunteering.

Work Days and Hours

9 AM – 4 PM Monday through Friday and Saturday & Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

To Apply

Mail, email or fax a resume, cover letter, and three relevant references we can contact to.

David Kieft

Internship Program

PO Box 42

Kent City, MI 49330

Fax (616) 675-4123