How You Can Help

Volunteer at Henry County Conservation!

Volunteering for the Henry County Conservation Department is an important part of our continued growth in recreation and environmental education. It is a fun and rewarding experience. Your expertise and skills will be greatly appreciated.

Projects at Henry County Conservation include construction projects, maintenance, nature center staff, and environmental education day camps


Iowa Citizens Help Keep Track of Imperiled Wildlife

It’s 10:00 on a summer night along a gravel road anywhere in Iowa.  A raucous chorus of male frogs are making themselves heard as they vie for mates in the farm pond next to the road.  A volunteer stands clipboard in hand, ear cocked, mentally sorting out each of the calling species and the number of individuals that might be using this seemingly ordinary pond. 


Skip over to a Saturday morning by the river where another volunteer has binoculars trained on the tallest tree in the vicinity.  In this tree is a one ton nest, home to two bald eagles and their young.  Are there two or three young in that nest?  Hard to tell and a follow up visit will be needed; in the meantime, notes are taken and a peaceful half hour is spent watching one of the most spectacular birds in North America. 


Both of these volunteers were trained through Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program, or VWMP for short.  The state is big, the species are many, and the staff to monitor those species is few;  volunteers are really crucial to ensure that these species remain stable.  Every March and April, IDNR staff travel around the state leading 6 training workshops, readying folks to collect data on some of Iowa’s critical wildlife.  Participants in these workshops have begun a journey to become Certified Volunteer Wildlife Monitors and will be intrinsically involved in wildlife conservation in Iowa.


Two types of trainings are offered: one for folks interested in monitoring raptor or colonial waterbird nesting sites and one for people more interested in performing a frog call survey. Raptors and colonial waterbirds (Herons, Egrets, Night-herons and Cormorants) are targeted because of their role as top predators and their dependence on particular habitats.  Frogs and toads are also an important group for data collection because of their dependence on clean water and evidence of a global decline among all amphibians.


Each year an army of volunteers helps the IDNR keep an eye (and ear) on these important resources.  The Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program provides an opportunity for adults who love the outdoors and wildlife to be directly involved with the conservation and monitoring of Iowa’s resources.  VWMP Bird workshops in 2011 will be held in Jackson, Palo Alto and Warren Counties in March and frog and toad survey trainings will be held in Wapello, Crawford and Warren Counties in April.  For more information visit: or contact Stephanie Shepherd,