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 at Free Fishing Friday – Friday June 2, 2017

Location: Gray’s Lake Park, 2101 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa
Contact: Barb Gigar at 515-494-3891 | Barb.Gigar@dnr.iowa.gov
Description: Volunteers are needed to: Register participants and check out rods and reels Distribute food Teach/Assist with basic fishing skills such as: casting, knot tying, tackle assembly Assist anglers to clean and cook fish
Requirements: Age 18 and up
Minimum Time Commitment: 4 hours 4 pm – 8 pm

Assist with Educational Programming and Outdoor Skills

Volunteers needed May – October 2017

Location: Springbrook State Park, 2437 160th Road, Guthrie Center, Iowa
Contact: Anne Riordan at 515-641-747-8383 ext. 10 | Anne.Riordan@dnr.iowa.gov
Description: Volunteers will be working with school aged children, presenting or assisting with natural resource education or outdoor skill programming. Some examples include hiking, fishing, orienteering, GPS, and aquatic life explorations. Training and lessons plans are provided.
Requirements: Age 18 and up

All volunteers must submit to and pass State of Iowa and Federal background checks according to our Unsupervised Volunteers Background Check Policy.

Minimum Time Commitment: 4 hours per week. Days volunteers are needed are Monday through Saturday during mornings and afternoons.

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.


Seeking volunteers, apply today!
+ Become a Campground Host - Hosts Needed

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 Unsupervised Volunteers Background Check 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

Parks Currently Needing Hosts:


  • Backbone State Park
  • Bellevue State Park
  • Ledges State Park
  • McIntosh Woods State Park

Wishing to help out a park listed above?
Read the campground host volunteer description and consider filling out a campground host application for that specific park.

For more information please contact your local DNR park.


+ State Lands Volunteer Program