Earth Month
2021 Apart but togeth er for change
April 1-30 Greater DM Metro

Earth Month 2021, is a collaborative project between the Cities & citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Clive, Norwalk, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Polk County Conservation, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Living History Farms, and Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce.


In 2020, we canceled Earth Day Trash Bash, Iowa's largest volunteer Earth Day event, as our communities moved to slow the spread of COVID-19. In 2021, we are back but reimagined.

Earth Day in the U.S. began in 1970 as 20 million Americans, from all walks of life, mobilized in an effort to change our environment. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people per year in 192 countries.

This year, Earth Day is Every Day!

Thanks to volunteer safety protocols we'll have opportunities spread out thru the Metro for small groups to volunteer while being physically-distanced over multiple dates in April-Earth Month. We will help you plan ahead, protect yourself and provide you opportunities to give back to make the Metro a great place to live, work and play again!

A volunteer in action

Registration

This is a great way to build team culture and see each other safely outside. So, whether you are working remotely or in an office, homeschooling kiddos, or all of the above...we're here for you and are ready to do "Earth Month" pandemic-style. We know your offices are a bit different too, so we won't expect there to be Captains or team registration matching you to your normal locations. We want to make this as easy as possible for you to grab your "pod", "unit", "team" or sign-up alone. This is a first come- first served come as you are gig. And if you aren’t ready to be around others, feel free to head out into your neighborhood and pick up trash. You can still sign-up and then just share with us how much you did and where you cleaned to help our communities reach their goals.

City:
Clive
Who:
City of Clive Parks and Recreation
Doug Harris
(515) 223-5246
dharris@cityofclive.com
Where:
Clive Greenbelt (4 locations listed below)
Volunteer confirmation details will be emailed Wednesday, April 21 confirming staff site contact, locations, COVID updates and more.
Why:
The Clive Greenbelt has 297 acres of greenspace and is considered a premier park in the metro. This trail system connects to downtown Des Moines and sees thousands of visitors a year.
When:
Fri. April 23, -
What:
  1. Clive Greenbelt Litter Clean-up (10 volunteers FULL)
    73rd Street Entrance to Greenbelt
    Pick up trash along the trail and surrounding areas.
  2. Clive Greenbelt Litter Clean-up (10 volunteers FULL)
    Porter Greenbelt Shelter (10490 Maddox Parkway)
    Pick up trash along the trail and surrounding areas.
  3. Clive Greenbelt Litter Clean-up (10 volunteers FULL)
    Campbell Park Concessions (12385 Woodlands Parkway)
    Pick up trash along the trail and surrounding areas.
  4. Invasive Species Removal-Location along Clive Greenbelt TBD closer to date (10 volunteers FULL)
    Restore habitat by cutting and removing invasive plants, such as honeysuckle, near the trail.
Covid:
Face masks and social distancing (>6ft.) required. Tools and equipment will be used for one person only and washed/sanitized after usage. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and water bottles (supplies will be available for those that need them).
Registration:
register with volunteer form - https://clive.rja.revize.com/forms/2008
Note:
Adults 18 and older. Training and tools provided on-site by Parks staff. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and water bottles. Restrooms will be available at some areas throughout the Greenbelt Trail (plan ahead).

City:
Des Moines

Who:
City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation
parksvolunteer@dmgov.org 515-494-8552
Where:
Gray’s Lake Park 2101 Fleur Dr.
Details:
  1. 4/09/21   9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.   Litter Clean-up along Fleur Drive (10 volunteers) Map
  2. 4/16/21   1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.   Invasive Species Removal (10 volunteers) Map
  3. 4/23/21   1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.   Flower Planting at the Chris and Marcie Coleman Bridge (pedestrian bridge crossing the Raccoon River) (FULL) Map
Registration:
Here
COVID:
Protocols
Note:
Minors are allowed with parent signature. Restrooms are available onsite.

Who:
City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation
parksvolunteer@dmgov.org 515-494-8552
Where:
East Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway Trail: Map
When:
4/10/21
What:
Group will help cleanup the Trail next to Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway going East and West.
Volunteers Needed:
FULL
Registration:
Here
COVID:
Protocols
Note:
Minors are allowed but parents need to sign the waiver. Restrooms will not be available onsite.

Who:
City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation
parksvolunteer@dmgov.org 515-494-8552
Where:
E.K. Davis Park 1400 Forest Ave.: Map;
Belle Turner Park 800 Jerlynn Ave.: Map;
Grandview Park 3230 Easton Blvd: Map;
Prospect Park 1225 Prospect Road: Map
When:
4/14/21; 4/21/21; 4/28/21
What:
Adding and spreading mulch at the playground.
Volunteers Needed:
8
Registration:
Here
COVID:
Protocols
Note:
Minors are allowed with parent signature. Restrooms are available onsite.

Who:
Trees Forever
Kacie Ballard
(515) 661-8334
kballard@treesforever.org
Where:
Trees Forever
When:
4/22/21
What:
Volunteer opportunities may have a wide range but they involve everything trees! We could be planting, mulching, staking or watering trees around the city of Des Moines!
Why:
Planting and caring for trees in the city of Des Moines is essential for canopy growth. There are many benefits to having trees in a community and we provide those benefits with every single tree planted and cared for!
Volunteers Needed:
10 volunteers max
Covid:
This volunteer opportunity will be taking place outside, allowing more space for social distancing, and masks will be required.
Registration:
Email Kacie Ballard at kballard@treesforever.org to sign up!
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Staff will be present during the event. Yes – tools will be provided by Trees Forever. Please wear clothing you are comfortable getting dirty in and close-toed shoes. If you have gloves you like to work outside with, please bring those as well. Unsure if accessible bathrooms are nearby. But plan for no bathrooms.

Who:
City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation
parksvolunteer@dmgov.org 515-494-8552
Where:
Glendale Cemetery 4909 University Ave: Map
When:
4/23/21
What:
Group will help remove undergrowth around the pond and along the University trail.
Volunteers Needed:
FULL
Registration:
Here
COVID:
Protocols
Note:
Minors are allowed with a parent signature on the waiver. Restrooms are available onsite.

City:
Johnston
Who:
City of Johnston Parks and Recreation
Nate Osmundson
(515) 444-6347
nosmundson@cityofjohnston.com
Where:
Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area. We will meet at the Terra Park 6300 Pioneer Parkway
When:
April 23
What:
Invasive Species Removal and Litter Clean Up
Volunteers Needed:
Two teams of 5 for a total of ten people.
Registration:
nosmundson@cityofjohnston.com
Covid:
City of Johnston - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
Note:
Minors with consent/accompanied by parent/guardian. Tools will be provided. Please bring your own work gloves. Restrooms are available.

City:
Norwalk
Who:
Norwalk Parks & Recreation
Dakota Springer; Robin Leaper
(515) 981-9206
rleaper@norwalk.iowa.gov
When:
Fri. April 23
Registration:
Please visit here to register. More info at our website
Covid:
City of Norwalk - COVID-19 Response Update


Project 1:
Park clean up
Where:
Elizabeth Holland Park
We will meet at the SE Parking lot; Colonial Parkway, Norwalk
What:
Pick up trash around the park getting ready for spring
Volunteers Needed:
FULL
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Parking: SE parking lot at Elizabeth Holland Park


Project 2:
Tree planting
Where:
Elizabeth Holland Park
We will meet at the SE Parking lot; Colonial Parkway, Norwalk
What:
Planting trees, moving dirt, mulch, watering in the trees
Volunteers Needed:
5
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Parking: SE parking lot at Elizabeth Holland Park


Project 3:
Build fishing line receptacles
Where:
Elizabeth Holland Park
We will meet at the SE Parking lot; Colonial Parkway, Norwalk
What:
Build fishing line receptacles for people to place at ponds around town for people to place broken fishing line in instead of disposing on shoreline
Volunteers Needed:
FULL
Note:
Adults 18 and older. Parking: SE parking lot at Elizabeth Holland Park


Project 4:
Trail clean up
Where:
Highway 28
We will meet at the Kum&Go at the intersection of North Avenue & Highway 28
What:
Pick up trash along the trail on east and west side of highway 28 from North Avenue to Beardsley Street
Volunteers Needed:
10
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Parking: Kum&Go at the intersection of North Avenue & Highway 28


Project 5:
Park clean up
Where:
City Park/Brownie Park
We will meet at the West parking lot at City Park on North Avenue
What:
Pick up trash around the park getting ready for spring
Volunteers Needed:
FULL
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Parking: West Parking lot at City Park on North Avenue


Project 6:
Park clean up
Where:
Windflower Park
We will meet at the North Avenue parking lot
What:
Pick up trash around the park getting ready for spring
Volunteers Needed:
5
Note:
Volunteers of any age are welcome! Parking: Windflower Park parking lot on North Avenue

City:
Pleasant Hill
Contact:
(515) 309-9453
parks.info@pleasanthilliowa.org

Project 1:
Garlic Mustard & Honeysuckle Removal
Where:
Brown’s Woods
When:
April 24, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Parking:
In the old parking lot
Note:
No registration required. Wear a mask. Bring gloves and water.


Project 2:
Garlic Mustard Removal
Where:
Jester Park
When:
April 24, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Parking:
Meet at Shelter #2
Note:
No registration required. Wear a mask. Bring gloves and water.


Project 3:
Garlic Mustard Removal
Where:
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
When:
April 24, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Parking:
Meet at the Campground Shop
Note:
No registration required. Wear a mask. Bring gloves and water.

City:
Urbandale
Who:
Living History Farms
Stacie Stearns
(515) 278-5286 ext. 158
sstearns@lhf.org
When:
April 8 or April 15, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (2-4 hour shifts available)
Registration:
(515) 278-5286 ext. 158 or sstearns@lhf.org
Covid:
Living History Farms urges staff, volunteers and guests to do their part to follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Wear a mask or face covering, maintain a safe distance of 6 feet between yourself and other groups; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and most importantly, stay home if you are feeling sick.

Living History Farms encourages those who are part of a high-risk population, such as the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, to take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.

The following COVID-19 Safety Protocols are required by all Staff and Volunteers:
  • Staff, volunteers, visitors and guests to the museum are required to wear masks or face coverings as recommended by the CDC.
  • All staff, volunteers, visitors and guests are required to maintain proper social distancing.
  • All staff and volunteers will have their temperature taken upon arrival and a health screening form must be completed.
*These policies are subject to change as CDC guidelines change.
Note:
Must be 18+ to volunteer. Tools will be provided by LHF. Please bring your own water bottle and work gloves. Restrooms are located at the Murray Conference Center.


Project 1:
Pruning trees and shrubs
What:
Pruning trees and shrubs, removing invasive plants
Why:
Removing these tree hazards reduces the spread of honeysuckle and other invasive plant material. This will also ensure a safe area for Day Camp kids and visitors.
Volunteers Needed:
4-6


Project 2:
Trail clean up
What:
Trail clean up, removing down branches and prune low hanging branches.
Why:
This will ensure our visitors have a safe experience while visiting.
Volunteers Needed:
3 teams of 4-6 volunteers


Project 3:
Litter removal
What:
Litter removal along Douglas and 128th street
Why:
This creates less pollutants in our water and soils and protects the wildlife.
Volunteers Needed:
FULL


Project 4:
Litter removal
What:
General litter cleanup on the 500-acre farm
Why:
This creates less pollutants in our water and soils, protects the wildlife and protects LHF equipment while mowing.
Volunteers Needed:
4-6

City:
West Des Moines
Who:
West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Dept.
Melanie Perry
(515) 222-3435
Melanie.perry@wdm.iowa.gov
Where:
Raccoon River Park
We will meet at the Nature Lodge
When:
Friday, April 23, -
What:
We will be doing a couple different project in Raccoon River Park. We will all meet at the Nature Lodge
  1. Tree Mulching (8 volunteers FULL)-Please bring your own gloves and meet at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge.
  2. Shoreline Litter Pick-up (5-10 volunteers FULL)-Meet at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge.
  3. Litter Pick-up (5-10 volunteers FULL)-Meet at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge.
  4. Paddling Litter Pick-up (Unlimited) -Volunteers must bring their own kayak/canoe and meet at the boat ramp. We will provide mesh bags for trash.
Why:
Spring is a great time to clean up our parks. The amount of plastic that we see in and around the water is almost staggering. During flood events this trash will end up in our rivers and eventually in the ocean. Spring is also a great time to mulch our trees. This is labor intensive and volunteers would greatly decrease the amount of time this task takes. Mulch around the trees holds the rain water, reduces weeds and creates a healthy growing environment for the trees.
Covid:
Covid protocols by Parks and Recreation
Registration:
Please contact Melanie Perry at melanie.perry@wdm.iowa.gov
Note:
Minors will be allowed for the trash pick up. The mulching project will be supervised by forestry staff. The trash pick up will meet at a central location, given bags and then the volunteers will work on their own. (boat will meet at the boat ramp and given bags there) There will be bathrooms available throughout the park (portapots) and the rest rooms at the Nature Lodge will be open.

City:
Des Moines
Who:
City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation
parksvolunteer@dmgov.org 515-494-8552
Where:
Anywhere you would like.
When:
Anytime you would like.
What:
If you are interested in helping out on Earthday or sometime in the month of April but still aren’t comfortable being in groups then we still want to provide an opportunity for you to help. If you fill out our waiver and set up a time to come to our office to pick up supplies, we will get you set up so that you can pick up trash in your own neighborhood or near where you live. After you help us out, we’ll set up a time to have the items delivered back to us and need the total hours your worked so we can add them to our records. If you have any questions, please contact us and we will be glad to help.
Registration:
Here
COVID:
Protocols
Note:
Minors will need parent signatures on their waivers.

Covid-19 Protocols

Volunteer registration online will help us prepare and keep you safe. We ask that volunteers self-screen for symptoms before heading outdoors. Masks are required unless you are alone or can stay distanced by six feet or more at all times. Tools and supplies are disinfected after each use. If you have any questions, please reach out to your site lead where you register. They'd be more than happy to help!

Covid banner

Awards

Whether you join an organized Earth Month project or head out to do a clean-up on your own. Make sure to share with us along the way #EARTHMONTH2021DM. We’ll be keeping our eye out for winners of the Best Selfie, Finders Keepers and those showing their Team Spirit.

Awards - team spirit
Awards - best selfie
Awards - finders keepers

History

Thanks to our community's commitment to a better environment and a healthier community, in 2019, we had 93 volunteer teams at 75 project locations throughout the greater Des Moines metro. Volunteers removed almost 45,000 pounds of litter, recycled more than 9,500 plastic bags, cleaned more than 10 miles of trails, cleared 7.5 acres of invasive species, and moved more than 100 cubic yards of mulch and more. While 2021 will look different we're excited to welcome you back!

History - from previous Earth Day actions
History - from previous Earth Day actions
History - from previous Earth Day actions

Special thanks to the following organizations::
Cities & citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Clive, Pleasant Hill, Johnston, Urbandale, Norwalk, Pleasant Hill, Polk County Conservation, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, West Side Chamber of Commerce, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Ingersoll Business Committee, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines Water Works and Living History Farms.