Volunteer Opportunities

Restoring and protecting Easter Lake would not be possible without the hundreds of volunteers that have worked with us to bring our favorite lake back to life!

Each year we have a need for volunteers to help us clean up Yeader Creek, Easter Lake and Ewing Parks, remove invasive species, take care of pollinator and rain gardens, and more.

We welcome all the help we can get! At past events we have had area businesses, schools, residents of the watershed, and lake users volunteer with us to restore our lake and watershed. See below for our upcoming events and other volunteer and stewardship activities to learn how you can get involved!

Upcoming Events

Invasive species removal is at the forefront of restoration efforts in our Iowa woodlands. Spend your time on the frontline of this continuous battle as we remove honeysuckle, buckthorn, and oriental bittersweet from Easter Lake Park to improve local habitat and biodiversity, reduce erosion and improve water quality! Learn more about woodland restoration in Easter Lake Park here.

No experience necessary. All equipment will be provided for the listed events. Dress for the weather. Wear long pants, sturdy closed-toe shoes and gloves (provided if you do not have a pair). Please bring a refillable water bottle. Registration Required.

Upcoming Dates

For the dates listed above, all volunteers should plan to meet at Easter Lake Park, Shelter #3. Contact Melissa at Melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov for more information or if you have difficulty registering for the event.

Additional Dates

Additional workdays have been planned in partnership with Green Iowa AmeriCorps for spring 2020. Contact Leah at GreenIowaDM@gmail.com or call (515) 471-8686 (ext.104) for questions about the events listed below.


Sharpen your skills to help us better fight invasive species in Easter Lake Park this winter and spring by participating in this upcoming training event hosted by Polk County Conservation.

Volunteers are an integral part of Polk County Conservation and contribute a combined total of well of 14,000 hours each year to County Parks including Easter Lake Park. Polk County Conservation’s mission is to equip each participant with a unique set of skills to create effective, capable, and knowledgeable volunteers in the field of conservation. In January, the first installment of in a 3-part series will be held dedicated to providing the information and skill sets you need to be a steward of the land.

Each course will comprise of a classroom presentation followed by breakout sessions where you will acquire a new skill. This month we will explore the history of Iowa woodlands and the restoration principles in place in our family of parks and trails. Choices of woodland restoration skills include chainsaw safety and certification, pesticide applicator license, and fundamentals of park stewardship.

Chainsaw Safety and Certification: You will leave this course knowing the basics of the proper chainsaw safety and use. As a certified volunteer, you will be permitted to use County chainsaws at public and private volunteer events. Must be 18+ years of age.

Pesticide Applicator’s License: Details forthcoming. You must be 18+ years of age.

Fundamentals of Park Stewardship: You will receive plant identification training as wells as instruction on the proper use of tools and equipment used by Stewards at public and private workdays. Equipment includes handsaws, loppers, brush mowers, and brush chipper. Must be 15+ years of age.


  • April 22nd, 2020 @ Easter Lake Park
  • 10am to 3pm – Volunteer at the park
  • 4:30pm to 7 pm – Environmental organization fair
  • 7-8pm – Yoga at the Park

Earth Day 2020 marks 50 years of mobilizing millions of people worldwide to take action in addressing the many environmental challenges and opportunities facing the planet today. The Earth Day Network is putting out a call to citizens around the world to come together on this historic day to bring creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery to the forefront on April 22nd.

We will celebrate this momentous event in Polk County by removing litter and invasive species as well as care for the pollinator and rain gardens throughout Easter Lake Park. This event is designed as a come-and-go as you please experience throughout the day with an evening session complete with an environmental organization fair to provide you with local resources and information about active community groups.

After spending a day caring for the land, we invite you to wind down with us as we close this day of celebration by caring for our mind and body with yoga provided by Good Vibes at sunset.


What is the Adopt-A-Garden Program?

At Easter Lake Park, multiple pollinator and rain gardens have been installed to provide important habitat and protect water quality in Easter Lake. The Adopt-A-Garden program helps us keep these gardens looking beautiful and functional by recruiting volunteers to help maintain the gardens!

As a volunteer, you will help keep your garden healthy and vibrant through periodic weeding and other basic gardening duties as well as reporting any issues that arise.

As a volunteer you will help protect special gardens in our park! Why are these gardens so special? The gardens have been planted with native plants that require less watering and do not require fertilizers and pesticides. They increase the soil’s capacity and reduce stormwater runoff improving water quality in Easter Lake. Native plants also provide shelter and food for wildlife, promote biodiversity, and are beautiful to look at too!

How to Adopt a Garden

If interested in adopting one of these gardens contact Melissa at Melissa.schmeling@polkcountyiowa.gov. A training session will be held on May 2nd, 2020 @ 10am to 12pm. More information to come!


Through Polk County Conservation, several programs exist for those seeking to have a larger impact in conservation at County parks including Easter Lake Park!

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, park stewardship can help plug you into the right experience. This program offers tremendous ownership to you, the volunteer, and provides an invaluable service to staff.

What is a Park Steward?

A volunteer Park Steward is an individual who works independently or has the opportunity to lead other volunteers on scheduled work & volunteer days. Stewards have the freedom to work according to their own schedules or set up events in the park or along the trail of their choice. These individuals receive training and are also provided all the tools necessary to carry out stewardship duties.

Duties mainly focus on natural resource enhancements in natural areas such as invasive species control, wildlife/insect surveys, wildlife restoration, prairie and wetland seed harvests and restoration, etc.

How to become a Park Steward

If you are interested in becoming a Park Steward fill out and submit a Volunteer Application Form to Pat Spain at Pat.Spain@PolkCountyIowa.gov or Melissa Schmeling at Melissa.Schmeling@PolkCountyIowa.gov

Volunteer Application Form

Visit Polk County Conservation’s Website


Help keep trash out of our streets, watershed, and Easter Lake by participating in the City of Des Moines’ Adopt a Street Program. Volunteers such as businesses, church groups, families, or other groups can choose sections of streets they want to adopt and plan their very own cleanup events with supplies provided to them!

Learn more here…


clean water starts with you