Plants of Concern

Citizen Science Rare Plant Monitoring Program

How to Sign Up

How to volunteer

Interested in joining our ranks as a Plants of Concern volunteer? Fantastic! This page will give you more information about the process of signing up.


Information about new volunteer training can be found on our Training page, and spring training sessions are listed on our Opportunities page once they are scheduled.


In addition to training, all new volunteers must submit our confidentiality form, which ensures that monitors will not share sensitive information about rare-plant locations or alter any rare-plant populations, and an application to become a Chicago Botanic Garden volunteer. The application will be sent to interested volunteers by the Garden's volunteer services department, and is followed with a background screening authorization that’s required for all Garden volunteers. New monitors should contact POC staff to indicate interest, then sign and return the confidentiality form to:

Attn. Plants of Concern
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022

Partner Authorization

POC volunteers may also need to go through a separate application process depending on where they monitor (e.g., POC monitors on DuPage County Forest Preserve District land are also subject to the Forest Preserve District's volunteer application process). Plants of Concern staff will help ensure that all parts of this process are clear to new volunteers.

POC Account

Once a volunteer has been trained and has completed all paperwork, the next step is to register for a POC Account, which provides access to our password-protected data portal. POC staff review all account requests and work with our partner agencies to place volunteers with an assignment (a rare-plant population to monitor). Volunteers can access and submit data about assigned populations through their account. It will not always be possible for us to place new volunteers with an assignment, though we strive to do so. New volunteers are paired with agency staff or another experienced volunteer at first but may adopt a population to monitor on their own in future years.

Questions? Contact us!

New Volunteer Forms

Confidentiality Form