Annual Volunteer Events

Visit the Events Calendar to register for monthly volunteer opportunities.

For Detailed Annual Event Information: 

Trash Bash

Kick-off Earth Day with a Bash in partnership with the City of Des Moines and other supporting organizations! Trash Bash begins with a rally downtown which includes sponsor & volunteer recognition, team introductions, educational booths to build a sense of community and cohesiveness to the day’s activities, and an opportunity to recognize the thousands of hours these volunteers will put in. After the kick-off bash and lunch, team captains lead volunteers out to their project locations for an afternoon giving back to the community.

When: April 26, 2024 | Details TBD

Where: TBD

What: Litter removal and habitat restoration



National Trails Day

Make your mark on 1 of nearly 200,000 miles of trail throughout the U.S. this National Trails Day! Polk County Conservation and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you, your friends, and family out for a day of volunteerism and celebration in support of our treasured public trails.

Volunteers will lend a hand maintaining the trails in Easter Lake Park before gathering for an afternoon of food, fun, and community.

When: Date TBD | Time TBD

Where: TBD

What: Trail building and maintenance

River Run Garbage Grab (R2G2)

River Run Garbage Grab is a metro-wide event that allows volunteers the opportunity to remove trash from the Des Moines River or along its adjacent trails - paddlers, rowers, power boaters, walkers, hikers, bicyclers, mountain bikers, birders, etc. are all welcome!

Volunteers can choose from many land and water-based locations. Polk County Conservation will be stationed at the Yellow Banks Park and Sycamore Access boat ramps along the Des Moines River.

When: August 2024 | Details TBD

Where: Des Moines River and Raccoon River

What: Waterway and adjacent land cleanup

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands. Each year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers come together on the fourth Saturday in September nationwide to assist with various projects designed to restore and enhance public parks, forests, waterways and more. America’s public lands aren’t the only ones that benefits from National Public Lands Day. Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to mental and physical well-being. Spending time in the outdoors has been found to improve short-term memory, concentration and creativity—while reducing the effects of stress and anxiety. Volunteering on NPLD is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the many benefits that come from connecting with nature.

When:September 2024 | Details TBD

Where: Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

What: Native prairie seed harvest and invasive plant species removal

Moonlight Seed Harvest: Trunk or Treat

Join Polk County Conservation and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for a moonlit evening as we work to restore native prairie by collecting seed ready to harvest. This event will be followed by a bonfire, s'mores, and trunk or treat fun with a conservation spin!

When: October 19, 2024 | 5:00 - 8:30 PM

Where: Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

What: Native prairie seed harvest; bonfire; trunk or treat activities