Conservation

Summer Camps

These day camps are designed to encourage hands-on learning through outdoor explorations, activities, games, crafts, and more. Camps will be led by naturalists. Campers are asked to bring a water bottle and sack lunch for day long camps. Prepackaged snacks will be provided.

Summer Camp Registration Opens - March 7, 2022 at 8am

Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the public and the staff. In response to the ongoing development of COVID-19, Polk County Conservation programs will adhere to social distancing, smaller group size, increased sanitation and mandatory facemasks.

Ages 6-7

Frog, Toads, Snakes Camp

Session 1: June 9-10, 2022 - 9-11:30am

Session 2: June 9-10, 2022 - 1-3:30pm

We will explore the world of reptiles and amphibians while hiking the trails, playing games, making crafts and meeting special guests. Campers are sure to discover everything that makes these creatures ‘toad’ally cool!

  • Fee: $40
  • Registration deadline is May 26
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
Nature Explorers Camp

June 13-17, 2022 - 9-11:30am

Five days of explorations in nature…what could be better than that!?! Come and spend a week at Jester Park hiking, playing games, working on projects, and getting to be part of the nature that is all around us. From the animals to the plants, to the soils and the waters, this week will definitely be the best of the summer.

  • Fee: $100
  • Registration deadline is May 30
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Noisy Nature Camp

Session 1: June 23-24, 2022 - 9:11:30am

Session 2: July 28-29, 2022 - 9-11:30am

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of us exploring nature and its many sounds! Join us as we listen and create our own sounds using materials we find in nature.

  • Fee: $40
  • Registration deadline is June 9 and July 14
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5

Ages 8-9

Nature Discovery Camp

Session 1: June 14-15, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: July 26-27, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Discover the wonders of nature and unlock some of nature’s mysteries. How does a snake catch it’s food? Can a lizard really regrow its tail? Whose footprints were left in the mud? Bring your nature detective skills for two days of discovery. Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is May 31 and July 12
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
Can You Dig It? Camp

Session 1: June 29, 2022 - 9am-11:30am

Session 2: August 3, 2022 - 9am-11:30am

There are billions of interesting things to discover underground, let’s explore the world of soil and learn how important it is!  

  • Fee: $20
  • Registration deadline is June 15 and July 20
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Dinosaur Discovery Camp

July 6-8, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Mastodons, mammoths, and prehistoric sharks…oh my! For three days learn about the creatures that roamed the water, land, and skies of Iowa millions of years ago. Come and dig for fossils, hike the trails that once were home to giant sloths, and swoop into a variety of games, crafts, and activities that will bring these ancient creatures to life. Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is June 22
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Ages 10-11

Junior Naturalist Camp

Session 1: June 20-22, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: July 18-20, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Do you know a child who loves the outdoors? Campers will spend go fishing, canoeing, hiking, geocaching, building campfires and more while exploring the outdoors. On the last day of camp, campers will receive a badge and certificate. Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is June 6 and July 1
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5

Ocean Exploration Camp

July 11-13, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Did you know that Iowa was once covered by an ocean? From whales to reefs, to trilobites – these three days we will explore oceans both in today’s world and from long ago. Get ready for some fun as we dive into learning about the plants and animals that call these salty waters home as well as investigating how weather, climate, and human activities are effected by ocean patterns and change. Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is June 27
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Ages 12-16

Paddle Camp 

Session 1: June 14-15, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: July 12-13, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Learn the basics of both canoeing and kayaking, including self and assisted rescues. Then try out your new skills on an adventurous river trip. Bring a sack lunch, filled water bottle, towel, sturdy water shoes and dress to get wet each day. Camp led by American Canoe and Kayak Certified instructors, all equipment and PFD’s provided.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is May 31 and June 28
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Chichaqua Bottom Greenbelt, Longhouse
Shooting Camp

Session 1: June 28-29, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: July 26-27, 2022 - 9am-3:30pm

This camp will introduce participants to the lifelong sport of target shooting. We'll learn the basics of archery, air rifle and even throw Atlatls. The experience continues with a visit to the Butch Olofson Shooting Range where we'll practice our skills using .22 rifles and 20 gauge shotguns. All equipment, ammo, targets, ear and eye protection provided. All shooting activities led by certified trained range instructors.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is July 2
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Olofson Shooting Range, Polk City
Survival Camp

Session 1: June 16, 2022 - 9am - 3:30pm

Session 2: August 4, 2022 - 9am - 3:30pm

Set your kid’s imagination and adventurous spirit free as they learn about the natural environment and important survival skills. Activities range from plant identification, animal tracking study, and survival skills like fire and shelter building. Kids will gain confidence and comfort in being outdoors, while have a great time and staying active. Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $45
  • Registration deadline is June 2 and July 21
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
Be the Change Camp

July 14-15, 2022 - 9am - 3:30pm

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Participate in service learning projects, practice some citizen science, explore nature and learn more about how to work together to help the planet! Bring a sack lunch and water bottle. 

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is June 7
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Pathfinders Experience Camp

July 20-22, 2022 - details below

Lions, tigers, and bears…nope, we don’t have any of those, but we do have two and a half days of adventures for students aged 12-16 looking for a unique summer experience. We’ll spend a few days exploring and getting to know each other, then spend the night at Jester Park! Making food, going on a night hike, and having a campfire are all highlights of this new program. Bring a sack lunch for Wednesday and Thursday and water bottle. Dinner, and breakfast provided.

  • Schedule: July 20 - 9am-3:30, July 21 - 9am to overnight through July 22 to 11am.
  • Fee: $150
  • Registration deadline is July 6
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center