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Volunteer Spotlight: Pat AKA The Man with the Beard & Pipe

Join us as we shine a light on Pottawattamie Conservation volunteers to thank them for their time and talents and recognize the difference they make in our community. Our volunteers ROCK!

Below, take a moment to meet long-time Arrowhead Park volunteer, Pat.

How Long Pat’s Been Volunteering With Us:

It all started 31 years ago when Pat first started camping at Pottawattamie Conservation’s Arrowhead Park in Neola, IA. Pretty soon he was helping with anything he could, including the park’s annual fishing derby in June, Chili Fest in October, the Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids, cleaning up the park after storms and banding Canada geese.

For the past 10 years, Pat has also served as the park’s camp host where he assists park staff, answers questions from visitors, and checks on campers.


Why Pat Does It:

“I really enjoy camping and it’s really the best job I’ve had. I get to camp and help people as well as tell them where and what to do. LOL”


What Pat Has Learned While Volunteering:

Each summer the Iowa DNR visits areas across the state, including Arrowhead Park, to band Canada geese. Banding information is then collected by the USGS Bird Banding lab and used to track bird migration trends and survival. Pat has graciously volunteered to assist with these operations at the park, which he said was a very interesting experience - and not as easy as he thought it would be. 


Something Interesting About Pat:

There are two things you’ll never see Pat without - his beard, or his pipe. Because of this, the saying around the park by campers and visitors alike is that if you need anything, just see the man with the beard and the pipe and he’ll take care of you. After 31 years of frequenting and volunteering at Arrowhead Park, you can best believe that Pat has your back if you’re in need.

Passionate, dedicated volunteers like Pat are what make our parks such special places to visit, and for that the Pottawattamie Conservation team is forever grateful! It’s wonderful to see community members like Pat joining us in protecting our natural areas for generations to come.

Thank you for everything, Pat! (aka the man with the beard and pipe)


Explore Volunteer Opportunities & Apply Today

We are always looking for new faces to help us keep Pottawattamie Conservation parks beautiful and educate the public. Whether you prefer outdoors or indoors, our volunteer opportunities provide impactful ways for you to make a difference, connect with nature and support our community.

Regular volunteers have the option of setting their own schedule and are rewarded with educational opportunities and other benefits. Volunteers also receive an annual park permit and a discount on gift shop merchandise as a thank you for their efforts.

For more information on volunteer opportunities or to schedule a private volunteer project please contact Dana Kruse, Volunteer and Facilities Coordinator at (712) 545-3283 or email him at


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