Friday, Aug 29, 2014

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 Cindy at 616-675-3158, or send her an email

Current volunteer needs:

  • Help with mopping, sweeping, dusting, window-washing. Janitorial services in general (about 5 days a week)
  • Cleaning of animal homes Indoors and Outdoors
  • Grounds & Maintenance – trail trimming to building repairs, and painting
  • Snowplowing or snow-blowing – scrap snow from our sidewalks
  • Bring in wood for the winter and splitting wood.
  • Have a special talent, passion or trade that would be a good fit for a Nature Center, volunteer to be the presenter at an event.
  • Secretarial help/Reception – Greet visitors, answer phone calls, give building tours and assist helping maintain our gift shop
  • Gardening – Watering, weeding, planting, picking of vegetable & cleaning for cultivate ground/till for 2014. We will be growing sunflowers, carrots, cabbage, pumpkins, and other tasty foods for our animals to enjoy year around..
  • Summer Day Camp – Junior Counselors for 2014
  • Special Skills – Web updating, Plumbing, electrical, computer/technical support, construction, heating/cooling systems, graphic design, and grant writing.
  • Make Bird Houses – we also have birdhouses that need repairing and put back up - birdhouses, bats, ducks, etc.
  • Construction Projects – chicken coop built – larger bunny cage – secured fencing for Goats and Miss Piggy
  • Relining trails with large logs – this task is ongoing
  • Trimming limbs – lopping branches from trail ways
  • Painting – outside (benches, picnic tables, bridges, etc)
  • Boardwalk fixing – Will need lots of helpers for Spring 2014 “Project Boardwalk Fix”
  • Fallen tree clean up – on going
  • Updating signage – we have informational signs that simply need new already printed signs put into holder
  • Help clear out invasive species – kill poison ivy (15% of the population is immune to it – I’m not one of those that are that lucky (85% get the rash)
  • Clean up of tree trimmings
  • Bring in logs for the fireplace – need a chainsaw operated – we could save a lot of money by heating with our lovely fireplace.
  • Build a mailbox post out of log: Put into ground, with a mailbox.
  • Grating of our driveways
  • Build a playground for children out of recycled materials (old tires, etc) – wood craving of animals that are children friendly (small four legged animals, turtle cravings to play on, and more).  Check out our playground so far, we have a lot of new items (as of Oct 2013).
  • Sand brought in for our newly built sandbox
  • Raking
  • Clean out of our cascading fountain
  • Trash pickup along Red Pine Drive as HCNC is the sponsor of a two mile stretch
  • Camper fire-pit clean out – Fireplace clean out
  • Garden plowing, clearing of land and bringing good dirt to a particular spot for our upcoming garden
  • Drain gutters need cleaning
  • Rock cleaning as we have birdseed build up from the feeding our birds in front of the building where rocks are that help drainage from the roof
  • People with computer skills – Microsoft Programs
  • Very much need a Grant Writer

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 Cindy at 616-675-3158 or email  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.

Cindy Perski

Internship Program

PO Box 42

Kent City, MI 49330

Fax (616) 675-4123