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Iowa state parks invite you to join statewide Volunteer Day on September 22! More than 40 parks need volunteers to help paint buildings, repair tables, trim branches, plant trees, pick up litter and more! All ages are welcome, along with varying levels of experience. Check out individual state park volunteer events in the list below, and thanks for lending a helping hand.
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Campground, 1347 129th St, Dundee, IA 52038
Help paint and stain campground kiosks.
What to Bring:
Bring gloves and wear old clothing. Activities are weather dependent.
Volunteers Needed: 10
Contact: Park office 563-924-2527
Meet in front of lodge. 1422 165th Street, Hampton, IA 50441
We will be cutting down some trees that are falling down and replacing them with trees donated for a memorial.
What to Bring: Wear sturdy shoes and long pants. Bring water, bug spray, gloves and pruning equipment.
Volunteers Needed: 25
Contact: Park office 641.456.2047 or Ranger Scott Doescher at firstname.lastname@example.org
9:00 AM - Finished
South Bluff Nature Center, 24668 Highway 52, Bellevue, IA 52031
We will be weeding and sprucing up the Butterfly Garden.
What to Bring:
Bring gloves and wear old clothes.
Volunteers Needed: As many as interested
Contact: Park office 563.872.4019
9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Meet at Big Creek Marina/Shelter #1. 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226
Collect prairie seeds and stain the beach shelter.
Wear long pants; bring gloves and water. We will be harvesting a prairie plot with tall forbes species. For staining bring old clothes. This will entail working from ladders and scaffolding. Wear old clothes for staining. Bring water bottles; hydrants and restrooms nearby.
Volunteers Needed: 15-20
Contact: Park office 515.984.6473 or Big_Creek@dnr.iowa.gov
Park Visitor Center, 2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd., Independence, IA 50644
Make and Take: We will be rolling seed balls in mud to benefit our monarchs and other pollinator insects.
Wear clothing you can get muddy.
Volunteers Needed: As many as interested!
Contact: Park office 319.934.3572 or email@example.com
UPDATE: Due to wet conditions, the volunteer event at Clear Lake State Park has been cancelled. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Contact: Park office (641) 357-4212
UPDATE: The volunteer event at Dolliver State Park has been cancelled due to flooding. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Contact: Park office (515) 359-2539
9:00 AM - Noon
Equestrian campground playground. 811 146th Knoxville, IA 50138
Plant trees in campground and litter pickup.
Bring gloves. Trash bags will be provided.
Volunteers Needed: 8-12
Contact: Park office 641.842.6008
Park office, 3249 Racine Ave, Danville, IA 52623
Paint campground check-in area.
Wear old clothes suitable for painting.
Volunteers Needed: 5
Contact: Park office 319.392.4601
UPDATE: (9/20/18) Due to flooding, George Wyth State Park will be closed this weekend and the volunteer event has been cancelled. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Contact: Park office 319.232.5505 or Manager Lori Eberhard 319-269-6705
Main boat ramp or park office if it's raining. 1480 130th Street, Creston, IA 50801
Stain the north fishing pier and refurbish picnic tables.
Wear old clothes that can get stain on them. Bring water bottles; hydrants and restroom nearby.
Volunteers Needed: 10-15
Contact: Park office 641.782.5131
Campground Check-In at Emerson Bay.
Paint and stain picnic tables at Emerson Bay.
We will stain tables at Emerson Bay then go to Pikes Point State Park and stain tables there. Wear old clothing that could get stain on them Brushes and stain provided.
Contact: Park office 712.337.3211
North campground by restroom. 12194 Honey Creek Pl., Moravia, IA 52571
Paint picnic tables. Wear old clothes for painting.
Volunteers Needed: 10
Contact: Park office 641.724.3739
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Beach shelter, 16510 118th Ave, Indianola, IA 50125
Trail and shoreline cleanup.
Wear comfortable walking clothes. Bring water/beverages. Rubber gloves and trash bags will be provided. Any volunteers with a boat who would like to help clean the shoreline can start with the group and then move to the boat ramp.
Volunteers Needed: Any who are interested.
Contact: Park office 515.961.7101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Primitive campground. 55111 750th Street, Anita, IA 50020
Pick up branches and rocks around the campground, and trash along the shoreline. Plan to stay aftward for a Dutch Oven cooking and sampling session from 9:00 - noon in the primitive campground.
Bring water bootle. Trash bags and gloves provided. Stay afterward for a Dutch oven cooking session and breakfast!
Volunteers Needed: As many as are interested.
Contact: Anne Riordan at 641-295-6028 or email@example.com
Cottonwood Shelter. 111 Lake Darling Road, Brighton, IA 52540
Stain tables and benches at Cottonwood Shelter.
Wear paint clothes, bring water or beverage.
Volunteers Needed: 10
Contact: Park office 319.694.2323 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Office, 2720 Keomah Lane, Oskaloosa, IA52577
Remove invasive black locust from dam.
Wear long pants, longs sleeves and bring gloves.
Volunteers: As many as interested
Contact: Park Office at (641) 673-6975
Primitive campground entrance, 3976 Cottage Reserve Road Extension, Solon IA 52333
Stain picnic tables. Wear old clothes.
Volunteers Needed: 20-25
Contact: Park office 319.624.2200 or 319.330.5227
Campground check-in building, 15248 Campground Road, Drakesville, IA 52552
Stain campground check-in building.
Wear clothes to paint in, bring water/drinks.
Volunteers: up to 10
Contact: Park Office at (641) 722-3371
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Meeting Location: Oak Woods Shelter, 1515 P Avenue, Madrid, IA 50156
Cache In Trash Out. In conjunction with the official CITO week and National Public Lands Day, Ledges will host a Cache In Trash Out event. In addition to learning more about geocaching and partaking in this great outdoor activity, volunteers will help with projects such as litter pick-up, prairie seed harvesting, and invasive species removal.
Bring gloves and water. Bring a geocache GPS unit if you have one, but it's not necessary.
Volunteers Needed: 100
Contact: Park office (515) 432-1852
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Meeting Location: Stone shelter house
Pancakes in the Park. Come enjoy a pancake breakfast. This is not a volunteer event.
Contact: Park Office 563.652.5833
Camp area kiosk by Smokey, 1200 East Lake Street, Ventura, IA 50482
Plant potted Highbush & Dwarf Cranberry shrubs.
Contact: Park office (641) 829-3847
8:30 AM - Noon
Youth Group Shelter, 23678 Dale Miller Road, Davis City, IA 50065
Stain youth group shelter.
Old clothes to get dirty in, latex gloves will be provided.
Number of Volunteers: Any interested
Contact: Park Office at (641) 442-2855
Meet at Park Lodge. 700 Kepler Drive, Mt. Vernon, IA 52314
Raking in cabin/lodge areas and litter pickup along trails. Cancelled if raining.
Bring work gloves and rakes if available. Park will supply trash bags.
Contact: Park office 319.895.6039 or Palisades_Kepler@dnr.iowa.gov
Stone shelter. 15316 Great River Road, McGregor, IA 52157
Prune trees and shrubs along trails.
We will be pruning trees and shrubs along the trails and picnic area. Bring gloves. Friends Group will provide bottled water.
Volunteers Needed: 15-20
Contact: Park office 563.873.2341 or Manager Matt Tschirgi at email@example.com
Meet at Campground. 2148 340th Street. Forest City, IA 50436
We will be painting the storage buildings, working with the friends group to process firewood, weather sealing picnic tables, picking up trash on trails, possibly doing some trail work
Wear work clothes and bring gloves.
Volunteers Needed: no limit
Contact: Park office 641.581.4835
Meeting Location: Campground, 22620 Co. HWY S-56, Eldora, IA 50627
Clean up park, repair picnic tables, remove invasive species and plant trees.
Bring gloves, water, bug spray, & sunscreen. Wear paint/work clothes.
Contact: Park office 641.858.5832 or Ranger Andrew Place at firstname.lastname@example.org
9:00 - 11:00 AM
Beach parking lot, 4530 McClintock Road, Palo, IA 52324
We will be removing grass/weeds/saplings from the beach sand in preperation for opening the beach hopefully next year.
Bring gloves, rakes, shovels (some will be provided).
Contact: Park Office (319) 436-7716
Park office. 680 Road M-47. Harlan, IA 51537
Boardwalk trail extension.
We will be extending the wooden boardwalk trail section by about 75 feet to by pass a wet area of the trail. Wear old clothes, work gloves, and waterproof boots; trail section can be muddy if we receive rains ahead of time. If you are able please bring cordless drills.
Volunteers Needed: Any interested.
Contact: Park office 712.773.2701 or Manager Corey Fangman at Corey.Fangman@dnr.iowa.gov
Meeting Location: Lower beach parking by dam. 24550 US Highway 34, Kellogg, IA 50135
Remove brush from lake dam.
Bring gloves and water. Wear long pants. Bring loppers if you have them.
Volunteers Needed: As many as interested.
Contact: Park office 641.774.5632 or Manager Mike Schrader 641.203.2734
Site 46 in the Lower campground.
Celebrate 2018 volunteers at the Volunteer Potluck!
Bring your favorite dish to share along with beverages.
Volunteers: All are invited.
Contact: (319) 878-3811
1:30 - 4:00 PM
Campground Gazebo, 2437 160th Road, Guthrie Center, IA 50115
Work in pollinator plots, make seed balls and bee houses. Plan to stay afterward for the Western Iowa Folk Jam in the Gazebo!
Water bottles, gloves and small shovels if you have them.
Contact: Anne Riordan 641.295.6028 or email@example.com
Noon - 2:00 PM
Park Office, 5001 Talbot Road, Sioux City, IA 51103
Remove invasive species and help clean up litter in the park.
Bring gloves, water and bug spray. Tools provided. Weather dependent; call the park office and listen to the recording in case of rain.
Volunteers Needed: Any who are interested
Contact: Park office 712.255.4698 or Park Ranger Jason Dykstra at Jason.Dykstra@dnr.iowa.gov
Where to Meet:
Park Ranger's Office, 1215 220th Street, Gladbrook, IA 50635
Mulch the trails. We need help with loading, spreading, and raking the mulch on the trails.
What to Bring:
Bring gloves, water, bug spray, and sunscreen. Wear work clothes for working in the woods.
Volunteers needed: All we can get!
If it is a rainy day we will need to cancel the event.
Contact: Russ Pedersen, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9:30 -11:30 AM
Park Office, 2780 Viking Lake Road, Stanton, IA 51573
Plant trees throughout the park.
Work gloves and shovels if available.
Volunteers Needed: 10-20
Contact: Park office 712.829.2235 or email@example.com
Park Office, 10225 Ivy Rd. Fayette, IA 52142
Stain sign posts in Albany and Lakeview Campground and seal picnic tables.
Bring old paint brushes and or rollers to help apply stain and or paint to the sign posts and picnic tables. Make sure to wear old cloths that can get dirty, latex gloves will be provided.
Volunteers Needed: 25-50
Contact: Park office 563.425.4161
NOTE: This event will be Sunday Sept. 23 from Noon to 3:00 PM
Park Office, 3155 SE Walnut Woods Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50265
Split and stack firewood, and remove invasive species along trails and around Purple Martin Lake.
Bring work gloves, water bottle, sturdy boots/shoes. Bow saws and or Loppers/Pruners (not required; some tools provided).
Volunteers: Any interested
Park Office, 21301 Co Road E-34. Anamosa, IA 52205
Repair picnic tables and stain Dutch Creek shelter.
Volunteers Needed: 10-15
Contact: Park office 319.462.2761 or Manager Dennis Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wa-Shawtee Maintenance Building, 2585 Waubonsie Park Road, Hamburg, IA 51640
Build new picnic tables and install new benches
Part of the all-day PawPaw festival at Waubonsie State Park, wear good solid work clothes and prepare to get dirty! Friends Group will provide refreshments, and the park will supply needed equipment. Bring your own gloves.
Volunteers Needed: 10-20
Contact: Park office 712.326.2786
Park Office, 1884 Wildcat Road, Muscatine, IA 52761
Scrape and paint picnic tables.
What to Bring:
Wear clothes for painting. Bring a hydration source and snack if you want. Paint, scrapers, and brushes will be provided.
Contact: Park office 563.263.4337
Park Office. 32801 Campground Lane, Missouri Valley, IA 51555.
Help clean up trails and picnic tables.
Wear old clothes and bring work gloves and water bottles.
Contact: Park office 712.642.2069 or email@example.com
Park Office, 729 State Forest Road, Harpers Ferry, IA 52146
Put together 20 new picnic tables.
Bring gloves, water to drink, rachet set, hammer and/or level if available.
Contact: Please RSVP your attendance by calling the Park Office (563) 586-2254.
If you like to camp and meet new people, this is the volunteer experience for you! The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for campground hosts to live in our state parks for the months of April – October helping DNR staff with light maintenance duties, checking in campers, and being a resource for visitors enjoying our state parks and forests.
Campground hosts are provided a free campsite while they are actively hosting during the camping season. The average host volunteers 20 – 40 hours per week while living on site in their own camper.
Campground hosts . . .
All campground hosts must pass a criminal background check according to Unsupervised Volunteers Background Check Policy.
Parks Currently Needing Hosts:
Wishing to help out a park listed above?
Read the campground host volunteer description and complete a campground host application for that specific park.
For more information please contact Teresa.Rosenberg, 515-725-8489, or your local DNR park.
Volunteers needed to assist with programming at Springbrook, Walnut Woods and Lake Anita State Parks. Ideal volunteers would have a teaching or science background and enjoy leading natural resources educational programming and outdoor skills training, primarily for children. Volunteers are needed at Springbrook to assist with school groups on weekdays in April and May, but there is also an opportunity to assist with youth groups throughout the summer at all 3 parks.
Hours vary according to group schedules, but would average 7-15 hours/week. Candidates must be able to pass a background check. Contact Anne.Riordan@dnr.iowa.gov for more information.
Special events are planned by Iowa DNR and our partners calling on volunteers to come together for a purpose. A popular example of a special event is our
Watershed Awareness River Expedition (AWARE) Project. Each year a river or watershed is designated for clean up. It’s a hands on volunteer experience where you can volunteer for as little as a few hours or for the whole week.
Iowa's locally-led volunteer water quality monitoring program, empowers watershed and conservation groups to take a proactive approach to water quality. By engaging volunteers to monitor water quality in their project areas, they can ensure the protection, longevity and productivity of high quality water resources, as well as evaluate, assess, and improve those of lower quality.
The State Lands Volunteer Program allows select nonprofit organizations and individuals providing services on behalf of them to be eligible for liability protection under Iowa Code chapter 669 (Iowa Tort Claims Act) while performing qualifying volunteer services for the DNR. These nonprofit organizations and the individuals providing services on their behalf are considered state volunteers while providing authorized volunteer services for no compensation.
Who can participate?
For the purpose of this program a volunteer means an organization incorporated under Iowa Code chapter 504 as a nonprofit organization, or an individual providing services on behalf of the nonprofit organization, that provides volunteer services for the benefit of lands under the jurisdiction of the department and that registers as a volunteer under this program. A volunteer may include a friends group or organization as defined in rule 571—14.1(461A). A volunteer shall not include an organization or individual that operates a concession operation as defined in rule 571—14.1(461A), unless that concession operation remits all receipts and returns all net proceeds after qualifying expenses from such operations to the department for the benefit of the state parks system or otherwise procures goods or services for the benefit of the DNR.
What are qualifying volunteer services?
Qualifying volunteer services are, unless otherwise specified, limited to activities undertaken on lands under the jurisdiction of the DNR to benefit such lands. Volunteer services do not include any administrative functions of a nonprofit organization registered under this program. Some of the most common types of volunteer services include organized work days, special events, and concession operations.
What is the process to register?
Groups interested in participation in this program must complete the State Lands Volunteer Program Registration Form.
All submitted registration forms will be reviewed by the DNR to determine whether the registrant will be designated a volunteer under this program. The DNR will evaluate the volunteer’s ability to perform the services, the DNR’s identified need for such services, and the DNR’s ability to manage the volunteer’s proposed activities, if applicable.
DNR will issue an authorization letter to those registrants who will be admitted to the program. The authorization letter will state the terms of the registrant’s participation in the program. The DNR may authorize the registrant’s proposed activities in part and deny them in part and may provide reasons for any program denials. Registration must be renewed every other year or as soon as substantial changes are planned to the approved services contained in the authorization letter, whichever occurs first.
1. State Lands Volunteer Program Registration Form
2. Volunteer Project Planning Form – This form was created to assist groups in providing detail to local DNR staff regarding a specific event/project. This is an optional form.
3. Volunteer Waiver – Registrants will be required to have all volunteers who participate in activities sign a DNR volunteer release and liability waiver.
4. Volunteer Log – Registrants should complete a volunteer log at the conclusion of each event.
5. Volunteer Code of Conduct – DNR encourages registrants to share this code of conduct with their volunteers.
The Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program (VWMP) is for enthusiastic and sharp-eyed, sharp-eared volunteers who have a passion for wildlife and its conservation. With more than 800 species in our state, the wildlife staff cannot possibly keep track of all these critters in every corner of the state. We need volunteers that are willing and interested in collecting data on two important and sensitive groups of wildlife.
Full DNR Events Calendar >>