Iowa’s largest conservation area, Chichaqua Bottom Greenbelt (CBG), continues to draw people to this pristine wildlife area. GOF has funded natural area studies at CBG by local universities to help manage the area and learn more about the rare plant species. Wildlife viewing blinds bring people closer to nature and provide unique viewing experiences for school groups, colleges, researchers, and the general public.
GOF has worked with Polk County Conservation on various wildlife habitat enhancement projects at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Thomas Mitchell Park, and Jester Park. Nearly 200 acres of wetland and upland habitat at Chichaqua has benefited, along with the re-seeding of many acres of grasses and forbs. Fisheries improvements have also occurred at Thomas Mitchell and Jester Parks.
We get numerous requests from Eagle Scouts needing to conduct community service projects. They come up with the project ideas, receive authorization, and then plan, fundraise and construct their projects. GOF provides funding to support projects.
Students in the Greater Des Moines area can experience naturalist-guided outdoor field trips made possible through GOF. Students are bused to Polk County Parks to take part in outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, and geocaching. “..capitalizing on a child’s ‘intrinsic interest’ in the natural world, and actively engaging that child in the educational process, would create an enthusiastic learner for a lifetime.” – The Educational Efficacy of EE, 1997
Naturalists and park rangers conduct more than 100 public environmental education programs annually. This mobile unit stores and transports outdoor gear for these programs including hunter education, archery, fishing and ice fishing, kayaking/canoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, which allows for instructor demonstration and participant training.