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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. The unofficial start to summer is the camping season. Each year the DNR searches for couples, families, or individuals to become campground hosts living at state parks in their campers at free designated campsite in exchange for performing light maintenance and office duties at our state parks. 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 when things usually quiet down, DNR offices are busy with activity to get ready for warmer weather. Mailings, database updates, and web site changes are a few of the things that keep volunteers busy during the winter months.

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.


Current Volunteer Opportunities

Become a Campground Host

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 volunteer group for our state park systems in Iowa with the average host volunteering 20 – 40 hours per week while living on site in their own campers.  These volunteers also lend a hand to park staff on busy weekends and holidays to keep campers informed of park rules, area accommodations, and what the park has to offer.  

Campground hosts live in their campers at state park campgrounds during the busy summer season and work with DNR staff to ensure that campers have the best experience possible in Iowa’s state parks. Live-in hosts provide a friendly presence in our campgrounds and act as models for other campers. They answer questions, direct visitors to points of interest, and perform other 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. 

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 over the campground host volunteer description and then consider filling out a campground host application.

If you like to camp and meet new people, this is the volunteer experience for you!

The following sites have openings for 2015 campground hosts:
(looking for hosts from April - October unless otherwise specified)
  • All openings for 2015 campground hosts have been filled.

For more information please contact your local DNR park.