We're Hiring!

Want to impact parks and natural resources in Des Moines County? Two positions are available related to DMC Conservation: 

CORES Position

We've put together a Community Outdoor Recreation Education Specialist (CORES) position through funding we received through local community organizations. The person in this part-time/seasonal position will create and lead community outdoor recreation programs designed to increase participants' familiarity and comfort with recreating outdoors with the ultimate goal of giving them the skills and knowledge needed to stick with the activities outside of organized events. This person will also serve as a central point of coordination between the public and local outdoor organizations, connecting community members with the various activities hosted by groups such as the Flint River Archery Club, local shooting sports teams, and others. The position is based out of Starr's Cave Nature Center and is highly flexible and customizable based on the selected candidate's schedule and competencies. 

For more information, find the full job description and application instructions here

Big Hollow Watershed Coordinator

Though not technically a position with Des Moines County Conservation, the person selected for this role will work closely with us, focused on our main park, Big Hollow Recreation Area. 

The Des Moines County Soil & Water Conservation District is hiring a watershed coordinator for the Big Hollow watershed. This person will work with landowners in the 4,000+ acre watershed to install conservation practices designed to improve water quality. The position will be based out of the Des Moines County USDA Service Center. 

More information and application instructions can be found here

Bat Data Collection at Starr’s Cave

Starr’s Cave, a natural treasure in Des Moines County, has been closed to visitors for years due to the threat of White Nose Syndrome among bat populations. This May, the conservation team is once again collaborating with the Department of Natural Resources to collect vital bat data from the cave. Equipped with protective gear, staff members carefully enter the cave weekly to gather bat droppings. These samples are then sent for analysis, aiding in understanding and monitoring the health of the bat population.

Field Trips Galore!

May is the perfect month for field trips, and Des Moines County Conservation has 13 exciting excursions lined up. While this means the nature center will be bustling with activity, visitors are advised to call ahead to check if the center is open for public visitation during field trips. Although the exhibits won’t be available during these times, the park and its trails remain open for exploration. Don’t worry, though—exhibits will be accessible on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 for those eager to learn more about the local flora and fauna.

Native Pollinators at Hickory Bend

In collaboration with Prairie Roots Landscaping, Starr’s Cave staff invites nature enthusiasts to an enlightening afternoon at Hickory Bend focused on native pollinators. This educational hike promises insights into native plants, insects, and even includes a monarch/pollinator kit for participants. Don’t forget to RSVP for this enriching experience at 319-753-5808!

Bike A Trail

Join us for an exciting biking adventure along the Flint River Trail! Save the date for May 18th from 9 AM to 11 AM. We'll kick off at the Flint River Trail parking lot, located just south of Hickory Bend Recreation Area.

To ensure everyone finds the starting point easily, meet us at 8:30 AM at the Starr's Cave parking lot, where our naturalist will lead a caravan to the trailhead. Alternatively, you can catch a ride in the van to the starting point.

If you prefer to meet us directly at the trailhead, here are the directions: From Highway 61, head west on Iowa City Road for approximately 1.6 miles (the road will bend north). Turn left (west) on 155th St. and go about 2 miles. At the stop sign, turn right (north) and continue for approximately 0.3 miles. The access road will be on your left.

Registration is required so we can make the necessary preparations and arrange bikes for those who need them. We have a limited number of bikes available. To register, please call the Starr's Cave Nature Center at 319-753-5808.

The ride will cover approximately 8 miles along the Flint River Trail and gravel roads. While the route is mostly flat, please be aware that there is no shade. The ride will be an out-and-back, allowing participants to leave at any time. Remember to bring water to stay hydrated and dress appropriately for the weather. Your safety is our priority, so helmets are mandatory during the ride. In the case of inclement weather, the ride will be canceled. Please note that no maintenance services will be provided during the program.

Memorial Day Closure

As we honor and remember those who served, Des Moines County Conservation will observe Memorial Day on May 27th, with all offices closed for the day.

Outdoor Youth Jamboree

Mark your calendars for the Outdoor Youth Jamboree on June 1st at Big Hollow Recreation area—the biggest free parks event of the year! This exciting event offers a plethora of recreational activities, including open observatories, shooting sports, compass activities, boat rides, and much more. Registration is free and available both online and on the day of the event.

Hike A Park Events

Get ready to lace up your hiking boots and explore the beauty of our parks with our Hike A Park events! Join us on the following dates:

These events are a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring.

Inaugural Banquet a Success!

The Partners for Conservation Foundation hosted the inaugural "I Heart County Parks Banquet" on April 4 at Barn on the Ridge just north of Burlington. About 100 people attended the event which featured raffles, live and silent auctions, and a great BBQ dinner all to raise funds for local county parks and programs. Some items given away included a kayak, guns, wildlife art, an e-bike, a mountain bike, a guided canoe trip, and lots more. In all, over $6,000 was raised to support our work throughout the county. 

Thank you to everyone who supported the event and mark your calendars for the first Thursday in April every spring as that will be when the event takes place annually from now on. 

Reserve yourself a stay at Big Hollow

As summer nears, we encourage you to make your campsite and cabin reservations soon. Many weekends are already booked and more reservations are coming in every day. Half of the 32 campsites and the Wilson Foundation Off Grid Cabin at Big Hollow Recreation Area can be reserved up to a year in advance and the newly available Ranger House Cabin has a 3-month rolling reservation window currently. The other half of the campsites at Big Hollow, and all sites at the 4th Pumping Station and Welter Recreation Area are first-come-first-served. 









published Monday, April 29, 2024

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