Friend's Groups

Be a Friend of the Land!
Mother Nature needs friends, too. Carter Lake clean up, Backbone State Park friends playground, friends of Pine Creek Grist Mill

Luckily, Iowa's beloved state parks and other public lands have a wealth of good friends - dedicated volunteers who raise funds, make park improvements and otherwise give support through our many "friends groups."

Across Iowa, these coalitions of concerned citizens work to improve, protect and preserve state parks, lakes, aquariums and other treasured natural resources.

Be a part of it!

Start, join, or donate to a friends group and help care for and give back to your favorite natural resource area.

Friends groups encourage businesses, civic groups and individuals to volunteer their time on behalf of state parks, monuments, historic sites and trails. 

Projects usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Building/facility improvement projects: Volunteers help restore hiking trails and build picnic tables, trail benches, creative play areas and picnic shelters.
  • Resource management projects: Volunteers improve prairie and forest landscapes by planting trees, picking prairie seeds and getting rid of noxious plants. 
  • Educational/interpretive projects: Volunteers help park visitors understand the unique ecosystems in the park. Projects include making interpretive signs, brochures, slide-AV shows and fundraising for kiosks.
  • Citizens may also make financial contributions to projects they care about. As a Park Partner, groups and individuals can give money, materials or labor for specific efforts. Typically projects vary in cost from $1,000 to $5,000.

Contact Information:
Contact individual friends group leaders or park staff for more information.


Friends Organization ManualThis organization manual will give step by step instructions to help you organize a DNR Friends Group in your local area.

Larned A. Waterman Center at the University of Iowa is a non-profit resources center with free information, newsletters and expertise for non-profits.

See if your favorite DNR location has a Friends Group.

Nonprofit Assistance