Volunteer with the DNR
With the changing of the seasons come different opportunities for volunteers to become involved with our natural resources.  Let your interests guide you to the different ways you can help. 

What is your favorite season?  How can you turn your abilities or interests into a volunteer opportunity? 

In the spring,  volunteers for the  toad and frog survey are needed across the state to provide consistent data on toads and frogs breeding habits on an annual basis. Since 1991 volunteers return year after year to survey these animal populations.
As the leaves start to change many Iowans think of hunting and the harvest. In the fall our law Enforcement Bureau looks for volunteers to teach gun and archery safety at  Hunter Education and Safety classes around Iowa.

Finally, in the winter, DNR offices are busy getting ready for warmer weather. Mailings, database updates, and web site changes are a few of the things volunteers do during the winter months.

Volunteer Events

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 volunteer water quality monitoring program (IOWATER), empowers citizens to take a proactive approach to water quality. By monitoring the water resources in our backyards, we can ensure the protection, longevity and productivity of high quality water resources, as well as evaluate, assess, and improve those of lower quality.
  
AmeriCorps has been a successful part of DNR since 1999.  Members work side-by-side with staff to serve Iowa’s natural resources.

  

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 a crucial for the success of our state park systems in Iowa. The average host volunteers 20 – 40 hours per week while living on site in their own camper. 

Campground hosts . . .
  • work with DNR staff to ensure that campers have the best experience possible in Iowa’s state parks
  • provide a friendly presence in our campgrounds
  • act as models for other campers
  • answer questions and tell visitors about points of interest and what the park has to offer 
  • keep campers informed of park rules and area accommodations
  • perform light administrative and/or maintenance tasks.

The requirements to be a campground host are the ability to commit to at least four consecutive weekends and pass a  criminal background check according to our policy.

Benefits include:
  • Designated free campsite in the park with a host sign while hosting
  • Nametag and safety vest
  • Recognition from the DNR and the state of Iowa for valuable service performed

Ready to know more?
Read the campground host volunteer description and consider filling out a campground host application.


The following sites are looking for hosts from April - October 2016 (unless otherwise specified).

  • Lake Anita State Park, Anita, Iowa
  • Ledges State Park, Madrid, Iowa
  • Lake Darling State park, Brighton, Iowa
  • Springbrook State Park, Guthrie Center, Iowa
  • Volga River State Park, Fayette, Iowa
For more information please contact your local DNR park.

State Lands Volunteer Program – A Non-Profit’s Guide to Working with DNR
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. The completed form should be submitted to Linda King, Volunteer Coordinator at Linda.King@dnr.iowa.gov.
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.

Program Resources
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.

Questions, please contact Linda King, Volunteer Coordinator at 515-725-8261 or via email at Linda.King@dnr.iowa.gov