Organized Youth Groups

Polk County Conservation offers a variety of programs for organized youth groups. All programs will be $1 per student with a $25 minimum. (Scout and 4-H programs are free but must have a minimum of 10 participating youth.

To schedule a program, please fill out the Program Request Form here and e-mail it to: or call Patrice Petersen-Keys at 515-323-5359.

Program List

  • Discovery Hike (All ages) - Spontaneous interpretation. Nature only knows what we will find.
  • Insectology (All ages) - Learn the characteristics of insects and their survival strategies. Collect insects to observe and identify.
  • Birding Bonanza (All ages) - Students learn about bird adaptations, practice using binoculars, and identify birds by sight and sound at a bird blind. Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt only.
  • Pond Study (All ages) - A pond is an amazing habitat full of animals. Students will learn about the food chain and use nets to explore and discover pond life.
  • Prairies (All ages) - Through hands-on discovery, students learn about Iowa's once vast prairies and their animal inhabitants.
  • Giants of the Prairie (All ages) - Explore the Elk/Bison exhibit at Jester Park, discover how bones were made into tools, toys and other fun facts.
  • Wild for Wildlife Hike (All ages) – Students will learn about wildlife in Iowa and the clues they leave behind. Students will visit the bird blind, elk/bison exhibit and hike through the woodlands. Jester Park only.
  • Creek Walk (6 and older) – Take a walk and cool off as we explore and investigate life in an Iowa stream. Dress to get wet and wear secure shoes (no flip flops) Jester and Thomas Mitchell Parks only.
  • Fishing (8 and older) – Learn about the different kinds of fish in Iowa, fishing safety, and casting. We provide the poles, you provide the bait.
  • Geology Hike (8 and older) – Through hands-on discovery, students will learn about Iowa’s geology. The will learn how rocks are make, the three categories of rocks and understand the rock cycle.
  • Geocaching (10 and older) –  Geocaching is a high tech scavenger hunt using GPS. Come learn the basics and try finding several geocaches hidden just for you.
  • Marsh Madness (10 and older) – Get down and dirty as a naturalist leads students into one the last remaining wetlands in Polk County. Geological formation, wetland history, ecology and hydrology will be explored though adventurous hands-on activities that will leave the students muddy, wet and wild about wetlands. Students must wear old shoes and clothes that can get wet and muddy. Engeldinger Marsh only.
  • Survival (10 and older) - Learn how to build a shelter, start a fire and even what types of plants are edible.
  • Canoeing (12 and older) – Participants will learn about equipment, techniques, and have a chance to practice skills on the water. Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt only.
  • Archery (12 and older) – Learn the basics of archery by focusing on form and safety. We’ll cover eye dominance, archery safety rules, range rules, equipment, and proper shooting techniques using a compound bow.
  • Air Rifle Target Shooting (12 and older) - Learn the basics of air rifle target shooting from PCC staff who are certified from the Student Air Rifle Program. We'll cover eye dominance, safety rules, range rules, equipment, and proper shooting techniques using an air rifle. Click here to learn more.
  • Kayaking (14 and older) – Learn the basics of recreational kayaking from a PCC naturalist. Participants will learn about types of kayaks, equipment, techniques, and have a chance to practice skills on the water. $50 fee and limited to 18 participants.