Force of Nature

Natural Lands Trust owns nearly 22,000 acres across 13 counties and 2 states. Our preserve system includes virtually every major ecosystem type in our region. While land protection is vital, it is only the beginning. Volunteers play an important role in our work of stewarding natural resources, and connecting people to nature.

11313051_10153288414458476_4582265569207585588_oNatural Lands Trust’s Force of Nature volunteer program is a way for you to support land conservation and care for our preserves while learning important skills.

Force of Nature trainees participate in a comprehensive, hands-on training and service experience that enables you to learn from our experts, and then give back as a valuable volunteer. Our program includes five sessions covering a variety of land management, habitat restoration, plant species, and wildlife identification topics. At each session, Natural Lands Trust’s expert staff offer an informational workshop followed by a volunteer learning-service project. Following training, program graduates apply their knowledge as long term volunteers with Natural Lands Trust.

Force of Nature volunteers enjoy a number of benefits including: 

  • Hands on land management training from our expert staff.
  • Access to exclusive continuing education sessions.
  • Natural Lands Trust Membership.
  • Force of Nature gear including a T-shirt, nametag and hat.
  • Recognition at Natural Lands Trust’s annual volunteer celebration.
  • Ongoing support and education from Natural Lands Trust staff.

At the end of the training period, volunteers will choose from a wide variety of volunteer roles based on their interests and location.

Volunteers at work at Natural Lands TrustHow to Apply:

  • Complete the Force-of-Nature-Application 2014-2015.
  • Once you are accepted into the program, pay the $135 registration and membership fee to help cover the cost of materials (includes a copy of our Stewardship Handbook, handouts at workshops, volunteer gear, nest-box kit, and more).  Fee for current members is $100. A limited number of scholarships are available if the fee presents a hardship. Contact Debbie Beer for more information.
  • Attend Natural Lands Trust’s 5-session FON training course. You must attend a minimum of 4 of the 5 sessions.

NOTE:  Our Force of Nature training program for Class of 2015 is now full.  Look for information to be posted in the spring about our next Force of Nature program.  Individuals and groups are welcome to participate in organized Volunteer Service Opportunities year-round!  Contact Debbie Beer at, or 610-353-5587 ext. 266 for more details or to be added to our volunteer email list. 

Force of Nature Volunteer Responsibilities:

  • Serve a minimum of 20 hours in the same calendar year following FON training.
  • To remain an active volunteer following your initial year of service, continue volunteering 20 hours per year, and attend biannual check-in / continuing education sessions with Natural Lands Trust.
  • Complete volunteer time sheets on a monthly basis during service.
  • Participate in annual evaluations with your Natural Lands Trust staff liaison.

Training Sessions for Force of Nature Class of 2015:

Invasive Plant Identification and Removal
Saturday, October 18, 2014
1:00 – 5:00 PM
Crow’s Nest Preserve, Elverson, PA
Learning: procedure for identifying and removing invasive plants
Service: invasive plant removal

Tree Care and Planting
Saturday, November 22, 2014
1:00 – 5:00 PM
Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve, North Wales, PA
Learning: professional tree care and planting techniques
Service: tree planting

Conservation and Outreach
Saturday, January 17, 2015
1:00 – 5:00 PM
Hildacy Farm Preserve, Media, PA
Learning: overview of NLT’s conservation programs, preserve system, and educational resources
Service: messaging and outreach strategies

Wildlife Management and Habitat Restoration
Saturday, February 21, 2015 (re-scheduled for March 21, 2015, Gwynedd Preserve)
1:00 – 5:00 PM
Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve, North Wales, PA
Learning: overview of regional habitats and wildlife management approaches
Service:  nest box building (wood duck, blue bird, and bat boxes)

Trail Maintenance
Saturday, March 21, 2015
1:00 – 5:00 PM
Stroud Preserve, West Chester, PA (changed to Gwynedd Preserve)
Learning: basics of trail maintenance as well as an introduction to Leave No Trace principals
Service: trail restoration

Force of Nature Spring Celebration / Class of 2015 Graduation
Sunday, April 12, 2015
1:00 – 3:00 PM
ChesLen Preserve, Coatesville, PA
All Force of Nature Volunteers welcome, including current Class of 2015 and previous classes.

Ready to Apply? Download the application here.
Questions? Contact Debbie Beer at 610-353-5587 x266 or

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Apply Today:

Ready to be a Force of Nature? Please download and complete your application. The deadline for applications for the 2014-2015 class is August 1, 2014. If you have any questions, call Debbie at 610-353-5587 x266 or email her.