Our Policies

Chicago Botanic Garden Volunteer Application

All Plants of Concern monitors are required to be approved volunteers with the Chicago Botanic Garden. This includes filling out a volunteer application and completing a criminal background check. 

Confidentiality Form

Plants of Concern monitors must sign a Confidentiality Form, where monitors agree to not share the location of rare plant species with individuals outside of POC. Given the scarcity of these species, poaching and seed collecting without permission pose serious threats to these populations. Location information may only be shared with POC staff, the appropriate land managers and other volunteers who will be assisting with monitoring. Keeping this information confidential is crucial for conservation.

Photography and Social Media

In order to keep location information confidential, we ask our monitors to use caution when photographing rare species and sharing photos online. Follow these practices when photographing and posting rare plants:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
    • Never share site and species together
  • Avoid geotagged pictures
    • Check the location settings on your phone or camera
    • Geotagging can be turned off
  • iNaturalist:
    • Don't post POC species on the same day as common species
    • Don't post POC species in site bioblitzes
    • Ensure location is fuzzed
  • If you're not sure, don't share! Ideally, avoid posting POC species online and send your photos to POC staff. Photos are essential for our website and training materials; we would love to feature your work!