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 Events

Do you love your local parks and trails? Are you passionate about conservation and programs that assist in creek cleanups, park beautification, habitat restoration, and more? Or perhaps you live near a county park and want to be more involved in park improvements. A treasured system of local recreation opportunities exists, just waiting to be discovered and cared for by people like you.

We are seeking individuals to help plan and lead volunteer events and training, park improvement projects, water quality education, and fun activities to help build community around our urban parks and trails now and into the future as Park and Trail ambassadors. We have some big ideas – help us make them a reality!

Come and meet the volunteer team from Polk County Conservation, the Easter Lake Watershed Project, and your other fellow “outsiders” as we share how to get more involved with our plans to ramp up volunteer efforts in Polk County as well as the relationship between public places and stewardship. Join us at Peace Tree Brewing Company on May 9th at 6 p.m. to learn how you can discover, explore, and become a steward for the land as a Park and Trail Ambassador.

May 18th – Spring into Action: Endangered Species Day

  • 9am to 12pm @ Fort Des Moines Park
  • 2pm to 4pm @ Easter Lake Park
  • RSVP Required. Sign up for event here: http://signup.com/go/AQbQWTD
  • All ages are welcome to join us for this event!

Join Blank Park Zoo and Polk County Conservation as we work together to restore Iowa’s woodland flora. Invasive plant species put pressure on our native woodlands and we need your help in restoring this habitat. When we remove invasive plants we are helping our native plants and wildlife to flourish, plus the animals at the Zoo have the opportunity to enjoy a treat! Honeysuckle, an invasive plant, is one the favorites of animals in our care!

Spring into Action on May 18th to celebrate Endangered Species Day through woodland conservation efforts at Fort Des Moines Park and Easter Lake Park. Come and go as you please between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Fort Des Moines and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.at Easter Lake. All ages are welcome to join us for this event.

Registration required. Detailed meeting location, workday information, and equipment will be provided to those registered. To RSVP, please go to the following link: http://signup.com/go/AQbQWTD

Wear long pants, sturdy closed-toe shoes, gloves (supplied if you do not have a pair), and bring a refillable water bottle.

June 15th – Easter Lake Park Beautification

Easter Lake Park features a beautiful trail surrounding the newly renovated lake that provides scenic views, habitat for wildlife, and a hub for many outdoor recreation activities such as boating, paddling, fishing, and swimming. Be a part of this capital project in your community by contributing to park restoration and beautification.

  • June 15th, 2019 @ Easter Lake Park
  • 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Register by contacting conservationvolunteers@polkcountyiowa.gov

Easter Lake Grand Re-opening Volunteer

Celebrate the long awaited Grand Re-Opening of Easter Lake Park with us on Sunday, June 23 from 1-5 PM!

Volunteer with us and help with Rain Garden Insect Hunts, Scavenger Hunts & Geocaching, Water Quality Pond Study, Native Seed Bombs, Parking, Bike Valet, and more

Recruitment is currently taking place. Space is limited. Contact Melissa at Melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov

Recent Volunteer Events

Yeader Creek Volunteer Clean Up – July 28th, 2018

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.