VOLES (Volunteers for Open Lands' Educational Services) help lead Lake Forest Open Lands' field trips for local schools. With the support of VOLES, large classes can be divided into small, intimate groups, improving the quality of their learning experiences. VOLE guide students through hands-on activities, which are integral to Lake Forest Open Lands' environmental education programs.

What do I need to know before joining VOLES?

  • Expert training is provided for every program
  • You will receive written scripts and background information
  • Teaching techniques and tips are discussed
  • You will lead a small group, not an entire class
  • Pick and choose which programs you teach and how many - depends on your availability and interest
  • No teaching experience necessary!

Why become a VOLE?

  • Work with and learn from experienced educators
  • Come with us on exclusive wildflower walks, birding outings; join us for potluck dinners, and more
  • Meet like-minded friends from in and around the community

How do VOLES help students?

  • Students learn better in small groups
  • Students retain information because they are learning by DOING
  • Field trips are directly aligned with the school's curriculum and state standards
  • VOLES encourage positive experiences in the outdoors - something that every child needs!

If you're 18 or older, to learn more about the VOLES program, please contact us.  Click for an application.

* The derivation of the acronym V.O.L.E.S. is the vole, the most abundant small mammal in Lake Forest Open Lands' preserves. Voles are close kin to mice, but have shorter tails and smaller ears. There are several different species of voles, including the meadow vole, the prairie vole and the woodland vole.