Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer With Us!

Each year we have a need for volunteers to help us clean up Yeader Creek, Easter Lake and Ewing parks, remove invasive species and more. If you are interested in participating in an upcoming event check out the events below or Contact the watershed coordinator.

While we work on planning events and finding volunteers to participate, we also love when people reach out to us looking for opportunities. If you have the desire or a group of volunteers ready to go, let us help you find an opportunity, date, and time that fits your needs and schedule. Contact the watershed coordinator for more information on how to plan a volunteer event.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

Timber Stand Improvement Volunteer Training – January 19th

  • 10am to 2pm
  • Jester Park Nature Center, Classroom B
  • RSVP Required  create your profile and register at: apps.polkcountyiowa.gov/communityservices
  • Contact:  Pat Spain l 515-323-5280 or Melissa Schmeling l 515-323-5331

Calling all Park Stewards, Trail Ambassadors, and general Conservation enthusiasts! Strengthen your impact in our parks and along our trails with this workshop devoted to cultivating healthy woodlands throughout Polk County. The goal of timber stand improvement (TSI) is to improve the structure, condition, health, and growth of tree stands in our parks. Join us and boost your volunteer resume and abilities by learning all about managing desirable trees through:

  • Invasive management
  • Basic tree biology
  • Principles of competing vegetation
  • Removal and/or benefits of diseased/dying trees
  • Thinning, pruning, and release in natural stands
  • Post-harvest treatments

Volunteer Lake Shore Restoration – February 16th

By spring 2019 Easter Lake Park will be fully up and running featuring a new trail around the lake and will be open once again for many outdoor recreation opportunities such as boating, paddling, fishing, and swimming. Be part of the Easter Lake Restoration by volunteering and contributing to restoration efforts along the lakeshore. 

  • 10am to 12pm  
  • Easter Lake Park – meet at shelter #1
  • RSVP Required 
  • Contact:  Pat Spain l 515-323-5280 or Melissa Schmeling l 515-323-5331

Volunteer Time Off: Woodland Restoration – February 27th


Many amazing local companies, organizations, and schools offer Volunteer Time Off (VTO) as an added benefit for their workforce. This provides an excellent opportunity to provide those within their ranks with a unique way to create positive impact within their community. If your organization offers VTO hours, come spend it outside with Polk County Conservation in a beautiful county park!

Invasive species removal is at the forefront of restoration efforts in our Iowa woodlands. Spend your time on the front line of this continuous battle as we removal honeysuckle, buckthorn, and oriental bittersweet from Easter Lake Park.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED as a detailed meeting location and workday information will be provided to those registered.

  • 10am to 2pm @ Easter Lake Park Shelter #3
  • RSVP Required  create your profile and register at: apps.polkcountyiowa.gov/communityservices
  • Contact:  Pat Spain l 515-323-5280 or Melissa Schmeling l 515-323-5331

Recent Volunteer Events

Yeader Creek Volunteer Clean Up – July 28th, 2018

United by Blue Blue Movement Road Trip

In July, United By Blue and Active Endeavors teamed up for their first ever joint waterway cleanup in Des Moines, IA! Working with Polk County Conservation, City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and Polk Soil and Water Conservation District we worked with volunteers to tackle the trash along Yeader Creek in Ewing Park! In total we cleaned up 1429 pounds of trash from Yeader Creek during this event.

This cleanup was one of 20 that United by Blue co-hosted nationwide this summer, from June-August, to establish community partnerships between their specialty retailers, conservation or municipal partners, and volunteers.  Learn more about their road trip accomplishments here.

Photos from the event!

Des Moines Earth Day Trash Bash – April 20th, 2018

This year as part of Des Moines’ Earth Day Trash Bash over 275 volunteers joined us at Easter Lake Park and Ewing Park to remove invasive species and clean up trash. The Easter Lake Watershed Project teamed up with project partner Polk County Conservation and the Iowa Natural Heritage foundation, and Green Iowa AmeriCorps  to lead this event.

For more information or to sponsor future Trash Bash events please visit https://earthday.dmgov.org/

Photos from this year’s event!

Woodland Restoration Work Day – March 13th, 2018


On March 13th, Green Iowa AmeriCorps was at it again helping to lead volunteers at Easter Lake Park. Volunteers helped restore natural biodiversity to the park by being hands-on in the invasive species removal process which is vital to the survival of native oak trees. By assisting in the removal of invasive species, volunteers learned proper identification techniques, helped reclaim land for community enjoyment, and restore Easter Lake Park for healthy wildlife habitat. This event is one of many volunteer events Green Iowa AmeriCorps has helped plan and lead at Easter Lake Park in the last year.

 Woodland Restoration Work Day – November 18th, 2017


On Saturday November, 18th we had a great group of volunteers working with Polk County Conservation and the Easter Lake Watershed Project to help remove invasive species and restore woodland areas around the park. Together with volunteers including families and individuals, Boy Scout Troop 98,  park stewards, and Polk County Conservation staff we were able to continue our goal of restoring all woodland areas in Easter Lake Park. Check out our photos from this fun day below!

Easter Lake Clean up

We’ve been seeing tons of trash and tires in the Yeader Creek and the lake bed and need some help cleaning it up! Join Polk County Conservation and the Easter Lake Watershed Project for a day at the park and help us on our way to improving Easter Lake!Please RSVP to julie.perreault@ia.nacdnet.net if you plan on attending! We need to ensure we have enough supplies for all our awesome volunteers! Thanks!
On Friday, meet us at 8am at shelter 4 at Easter Lake Park!

Easter Lake Clean up

We are on the way to cleaning up Easter Lake and we need your help! Join Polk County Conservation and the Easter Lake Watershed Project for day to help clean up trash and tires from the lake bed and Yeader Creek! We promise it will be a fun day!
It’s important we have enough supplies for the day – Please RSVP your attendance to julie.perreault@ia.nacdnet.net by June 6th

Des Moines’ Earth Day Trash Bash

Each year during Des Moines’ Earth Day Trash Bash event we have around 200 volunteers out at Easter Lake Park. Volunteers have helped us clear multiple acres of invasive species and trash throughout the park. This year with the lake empty we are looking forward to being able to help clean up trash and tires from the lake bed. Its has always been a fun and rewarding day that we look forward to each year.