Resource Enhancement and Protection - Conservation Education Program (REAP/CEP) Grant
The City of Des Moines Park and Recreation Department has been awarded a Resource Enhancement and Protection – Conservation Education Program (REAP/CEP) grant to create rain garden toolkits that will help homeowners, businesses, parks and other groups get started on creating their own rain gardens.
The goals of the project are as follows:
To educate Iowans working with school grounds, businesses, city parks and private residences about the benefits of rain gardens;
To inform Iowans of the resources available for the installation of rain gardens at businesses, school grounds, city parks and private residences;
To increase the number of rain gardens planted at businesses, school grounds, city parks and private residences throughout the state of Iowa;
To reduce nonpoint source pollution of Iowa's waterways;
To build partnerships between organizations in the Greater Des Moines area that deal with water and water quality.
We are currently in the process of designing the toolkits and creating educational materials that will be made available to the public as soon as they are completed. For more general information and other resources on rain gardens, click here.
Environmental Project and Education
The Park and Recreation Department has a goal to expand its conservation efforts through Gray’s Lake programming and education that will provide the public with resources to further their enjoyment of outdoor experiences and knowledge tools to implement their own practices. The Park serves as a classroom for these efforts through bird watching, nature walks, nature art programs, fishing clinics, plant and wildlife classes, etc.
In January 2004, the Park and Recreation Department began assessing opportunities for native landscaping in our park system. The Urban Prairie Project marked the beginning of an effort to integrate small pockets of native prairie into the landscape of several Des Moines parks, schools and community green spaces. These Urban Prairies will serve as both educational resources and spaces for repose and relaxation.
Native plants are also being added to the park system in the form of rain gardens, garden-like plantings designed specifically to soak up storm water and reduce run-off. Rain gardens like those found in the city park system can be used in homes, businesses and schools to help reduce storm water run-off and water pollution in Iowa.
To guide these efforts, the Park and Recreation Department has assembled an Urban Conservation Advisory Committee to the Park Board. The mission of this committee is to promote a park management philosophy that is holistic and ecologically based through policies that direct the planning, design and maintenance of healthy green space in the City of Des Moines toward protection and enhancement of the natural environment.
These changes mark an exciting movement toward a more environmentally friendly Park and Recreation Department. Come out and get involved!
Urban Forestry Plan
The City of Des Moines’ urban forest is a significant public asset. Understanding its value and managing it in a manner consistent with other assets is critical to good stewardship.
Urban Forestry Plan
Partnering with Citizens to Improve Our Parks
With everything that’s happening in Des Moines, it’s no surprise that there are many exciting volunteering opportunities with Des Moines Parks and Recreation. It’s always a great feeling to enjoy the outdoor and indoor opportunities Des Moines has to offer.
You’re invited to join the ranks of many dedicated people volunteering in the Des Moines parks…a gift that benefits the entire community. Volunteers supplement Parks and Recreation staff and bring creativity and vitality to our organization while meeting new friends, learning new skills and even building résumés.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-248-6380 for more information.
Urban Environmental Education
Connecting You with Nature in the City
Reconnect with nature and your family! Restore yourself and refocus your children by getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Studies have shown that children are smarter, more cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied chances to play in the out-of-doors. That’s why the Park and Recreation Department offers educational programs for every age and every season.
Next time you’re at Gray’s Lake, or many of your other city parks, keep your eyes open for new interpretive signage. These signs help visitors to the city parks view and understand natural land management strategies, as well as different aspects of park and lake ecology. In the future, you may be able to access interpretive information with your mobile phone through a podcast while on a park walking tour.
Of course, educational programs reach far beyond signs. Thanks to ongoing partnerships with Polk County Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources, the Park and Recreation Department continues to offer popular nature story hours, intriguing pond exploration, creepy insect investigations, informative bird programs and more.
Additional outdoor programs sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department also include canoe classes and trips, a camping night at Gray’s Lake, eco-art, nature-based scavenger hunts and a “how-to” on gardening with native plants. Visit Parks throughout the year to see what’s coming up in your neighborhood that would interest you, your friends and your family.
Backyard Conservation and Habitat Creation
Canada Goose Habitat
Herbicide Alphabet Soup
Native Landscaping Resources
Native Species Blooming Periods
Small Urban Landscaping with Native Species