City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department


June 15th - September 21st, 2023
Gray's Lake Park

UPCYCLE volunteers, in partnership with the City of Des Moines, Blank Park Zoo, Trees Forever, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and Confluence Brewing help us improve our water quality, diversify our woodlands, and UPCYCLE our invasives into food and fun for Blank Park Zoo’s birds, reptiles, primates, and mammals. Volunteers will be provided gloves and tools to cut, remove, and treat invasive plants crowding out our woodlands and natives. The first 40 volunteers that sign up online AND attend the event will get a drink ticket to be redeemed following the workday at Confluence Brewing next door!

Gray’s Lake Park is a beautiful area, but the beneficial native species in the woodlands are competing with many invasive species such as honeysuckle. These invasive species shade out the native plants and dominate the landscape. We are working hard to open up the woodlands, bring back the natives, and increase diversity to create healthier natural areas. There are even added benefits reaching out beyond our woodlands as native species do a better job of holding the soils together and keeping them in place preventing them from running off into our creeks and streams. Although we don’t need these invasive species in our woodlands, they’ll help fill needs at the Blank Park Zoo where animals can use them for food, play, and practice foraging, flying, and other skills.

Call 248-6399 or text DSMVOLUNTEERS to 84483 to sign-up for weather-related updates.

COVID-19: In order to comply with emergency proclamations by the Governor or Mayor, as such may be amended from time to time, and as public health guidelines evolve, for the safety of staff and the public, the Parks and Recreation Department reserves the right to cancel at any time. In addition, the Department reserves the right to change the registration requirements at any time. The Department will contact the volunteers as soon as reasonably possible with such cancellation or changes.The City of Des Moines cannot guarantee that the volunteer or any of the event attendees will not become infected with COVID-19. Volunteers and attendees use the City’s facility at their own risk.

There are no shifts available at this time.

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