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.

FON volunteers Hildacy 2014-0505-Debbie Beer editNatural 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 2015-2016.
  • Upon acceptance into the program, pay the $150 registration and membership fee to help cover the cost of materials (includes a copy of our Stewardship Handbook, handouts at workshops, volunteer gear, and more).  Fee for current Natural Lands Trust 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 program. You must attend a minimum of 4 of the 5 sessions.

Note: Applications for our Force of Nature Class of 2016 are now closed. 

Force of Nature Volunteer Responsibilities:

  • Serve a minimum of 20 hours in the same calendar year following FON training.
  • Complete volunteer time sheets regularly during service.
  • 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.
  • Participate in annual evaluations with your Natural Lands Trust staff liaison.

Training Sessions for Force of Nature Class of 2016:

Invasive Plant Identification and Removal
Saturday, February 13, 2016
1:00 – 5:00 PM

Crow’s Nest Preserve – 201 Piersol Road, Elverson, PA 19520
Learning: procedure for identifying and removing invasive plants
Service: invasive plant removal

Conservation and Outreach
Saturday, February 27, 2016

1:00 – 5:00 PM
Hildacy Farm Preserve – 1031 Palmers Mill Road, Media, PA 19063
Learning: overview of NLT’s conservation programs, preserve system, and educational resources
Service: messaging and outreach strategies

Tree Care and Planting
Saturday, March 12, 2016

1:00 – 5:00 PM
Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve – 640 South Swedesford Road, Ambler, PA 19002
Learning: professional tree care and planting techniques
Service: tree planting

Wildlife Management and Native Plant Gardening
Saturday, April 2, 2016

1:00 – 5:00 PM
ChesLen Preserve – 1199 Cannery Road, Unionville, PA 19320
Learning: wildlife management approaches and guidelines for native plant gardening
Service:  nest box building (wood ducks, blue birds, bees, or other)

Habitat Restoration and Training Wrap-up
Saturday, April 16, 2016

1:00 – 5:00 PM
Stroud Preserve – 454 North Creek Road, West Chester, PA
Learning: overview of regional habitat restorations and stewardship strategies, as well as introduction to Leave No Trace principals.
Service: trail maintenance

Force of Nature Spring Celebration and Class of 2016 Graduation
Saturday, May 7, 2016

1:00 – 3:00 PM
ChesLen Preserve – 1199 Cannery Road, Unionville, PA 19320
All Force of Nature Volunteers welcome, including new Class of 2016 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 application deadline for the Class of 2016 is November 1, 2015. If you have any questions, call Debbie at 610-353-5587 x266 or email her.