By Matt Kelley (Radio Iowa)
The chief of Iowa’s Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau is asking Iowans to mark next Saturday (September 24th) on their calendars to lend a hand with sprucing up our state parks.
It’s the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ sixth annual Statewide Volunteer Day and Sherry Arntzen is encouraging everyone who loves and uses our park system to sign up.
“We have a number of different volunteer projects in some of the parks,” Arntzen says. “It could be putting together picnic tables, painting picnic tables, picking up trash, helping with some invasive species removal, planting trees, or staining other buildings that we have.”
There are projects planned all across the state at about one in every four of Iowa’s state parks. “So we have 71 state parks and forests. Right now, we have 18 parks that have scheduled events on the 24th,” Arntzen says, “but if people are interested in learning about other volunteer opportunities at some of our parks, we encourage them to reach out to the park offices direct.”
Arntzen says Iowa’s state parks are “beloved places for many Iowans,” and the DNR staff greatly appreciates the help volunteers provide. “We’re down a little bit this year on the number of scheduled projects, especially since COVID,” Arntzen says. “We have a large increase in our number of guests that we serve in our parks, so we have been quite busy this year with just our day-to-day operations.”
Some of the projects can be tackled rain or shine, but if the weather looks inclement, volunteers should contact the individual park office in case of changes to the date, time, or meeting location.
To sign up, log on to: www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer