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 & Opportunities

  • No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided for the listed events.
  • Registration is required for each event and is due the day prior to the event date
  • Contact ConservationVolunteers@polkcountyiowa.gov with questions and help registering for any of the volunteer opportunities.

National Public Lands Day – September 25th, 2021 @ Easter Lake Park

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. This celebration welcomes thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country. The theme for 2021 is â€śMore Ways to Connect to Nature.” We invite you to join Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Polk County Conservation, and Polk Soil and Water Conservation District staff in park beautification projects before we gather for a late afternoon of fun, food, beverages, and the opportunity to enjoy the paddle board, kayak, and canoe recreational amenities provided by Easter Lake Boat Rental.

An RSVP is required for this event. Registration is capped at 56. 

Event Partners: Easter Lake Boat Rental, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Polk County Conservation, The Cellar at White Oak Winery

Volunteer Projects: 1-4 p.m.

  • Trail resurfacing
  • Native seed harvest
  • Garden maintenance
  • Shoreline and park cleanup (litter removal)

Food/wine: 5-6 p.m.

  • Complimentary food and wine provided by The Cellar at White Oak to volunteers

Recreation: 5-7 p.m.

  • Free kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals for volunteers until 7 p.m.

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Schmidt at mschmidt@inhf.org or  515-288-1846, ext. 35

Join our growing network of volunteers at Easter Lake! – October 9th, 2021 @ Easter Lake Park

Come learn about the exciting volunteer opportunities that abound at Easter Lake Park and what it means to be a Steward of the land. Help us protect and conserve this urban oasis – join us for this special event where you will learn how you can make an impact and leave a positive ecological footprint as a Steward of Easter Lake.

Topics will include an introduction to current Easter Lake volunteers and activities, and discussion of a variety of ways Easter Lake Park can use your help including invasive species removal, trail enhancements, litter removal, garden maintenance, water quality monitoring, and more!


DEADLINE: Noon the day before

COST: Free

AGES: All ages welcome

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.

2021 Upcoming Dates

  • Volunteer Time Off: November 17th @ 10am to 3pm | Easter Lake Park
  • Volunteer Time Off: December 1st @ 10am to 3pm | Easter Lake Park
  • Volunteer Time Off: December 8th @ 10am to 3pm | Easter Lake Park
  • These events are hosted by Polk County Conservation.

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 ConservationVolunteers@polkcountyiowa.gov

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 ConservationVolunteers@polkcountyiowa.gov

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