Polk County Conservation

How to Help & Volunteer


Commemorative and Memorial Gift Program

Commemorative Gift Program Application Form

Donate to the Great Outdoors Foundation

Donate to the Jester Park Nature Center


To view a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities, please click here. Annual events are listed in the drop down menu to the left.

To view the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award Winners, please click here.

Volunteerism with Polk County Conservation focuses on hands-on restoration and preservation of high-quality natural areas as well as participation in ongoing construction and maintenance projects in our parks and along our trails and waterways. Volunteers work alongside conservation professionals, learning about the Iowa landscape and participating in projects that yield immediate results.

Volunteering with PCC is also a great way to lend a helping hand while enjoying the great outdoors. All community members (youth and adult) are invited to participate in a variety of activities and projects throughout the year. Public workdays are held on a once per month minimum basis with dates posted quarterly. Private workdays are also available and can be tailored to your group’s wants, needs and schedule. No experience is necessary, and all training and equipment is provided. Please check this page to keep up-to-date on the most recent event details.

If you would prefer to have quarterly updates and the latest available projects emailed directly to you, please provide Community Outreach Coordinators Pat Spain (pat.spain@polkcountyiowa.gov) or Melissa Schmeling (melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov) with your email address to add to our volunteer database.

Workday Details

Calendar of Events

Click here to open upcoming events and projects, volunteer positions available and for the latest news from our department. Public workdays are posted on the calendar tab accessible by clicking here.


Please register for a public workdays by contacting Pat Spain at pat.spain@polkcountyiowa.gov/515.323.5280  or Melissa Schmeling at melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov/515.323.5331. Registration is important for equipment planning purposes.

Park and Trails Maps and Addresses

Click here to access the Parks and Trails tab of the website. Maps and addresses of the maintained areas where we will host workdays be on this page. Verify the exact meeting location within the park or trail in each event listing.

What to Wear

Wear long pants and sturdy, close-toed shoes for working on uneven terrain in heavily vegetated areas on restoration workdays. Dress both weather and task appropriate if working on a construction or maintenance project. Old shoes, boots or waders are recommended for stream cleanups. PCC staff has a limited amount of waders available.

Check with staff if you are unsure of what would be appropriate to wear for the specific project in which you are participating.

Inclement Weather Cancelations

If inclement weather is approaching and a workday must be canceled, a message indicating the cancelation will be left at 515.339.0933. In the absence of a cancelation message, the workday will proceed as planned.

Volunteerism for All

The majority of volunteer events are setup with people of all ages in mind. We will tailor each work day to fit the needs and abilities of all present. With safety in mind, manual tools such as loppers and hand/bow saws are reserved for individuals ages 15 and above; use of ready-to-use herbicides and power tools for ages 18 and above.

Get More Involved

We offer several programs for those seeking longer commitment in conservation. Whether you are a student looking for a more in-depth experience; a retiree seeking a fulfilling pastime, an individual passionate about the Iowa landscape and our natural resources; have a knack for construction; or any level in-between, the following programs will plug you into the right experience. Our programs offer tremendous ownership to you, the volunteer, and provides an invaluable service to our staff.

Click on the following to access program information:

Adopt-A-Park Program


Environmental Education and Equestrian Services

Special Projects and Individual/Group Volunteer Activities

To assure safety and to provide the best possible volunteer experience, Polk County Conservation asks and expects volunteers to follow a Code of Conduct. Also, you may open a Volunteer Application Form, complete the form online, save it, and email it to:

Pat Spain, Community Outreach Coordinator

Melissa Schmeling, Community Outreach Coordinator

Contact Us

Administration Office
11407 NW Jester Park Drive
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

More Contacts