Chicago Cares started our partnership with Garfield Park Conservatory in 1999, and it’s difficult to see a long-time partner is suffering right now. The Conservatory was severely damaged by hail on Thursday, June 30.

It is a crucial time for volunteer help at the Conservatory. While volunteers cannot directly assist with the cleanup of glass, the work that volunteers do to maintain the areas that are open to the public is essential. Our time spent cleaning open exhibit areas, keeping tools and supplies organized, and caring for outdoor gardens allows the Conservatory staff to spend their time on the cleanup efforts.

Volunteers who attend Chicago Cares projects at Garfield Park Conservatory ensure that the staff can spend their time on tasks that only they can perform. Chicago Cares volunteers provide extra hands to take care of tedious, time-consuming, yet necessary work such as dead-heading azaleas, organizing supplies, and cleaning greenhouses. Along the way volunteers have helped install exhibits, care for fledgling plants, maintain ponds, build walkways, and more.

Each time volunteers visit the Conservatory they learn something new. As a volunteer with Chicago Cares at the Conservatory you often have access to the large private growing houses at the Conservatory and you help ensure that new plant and exhibition cultivation continues. These houses are closed at this time but will re-open in the future.

Hundreds of volunteers have attended 145 Chicago Cares projects at the Conservatory, many returning again and again. Chicago Cares volunteers can be proud knowing that more than 3,000 hours of hard work have not gone unnoticed.  Visit to sign up for an upcoming project. Follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook to get the latest news on our partnership with the Conservatory.