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Volunteer Spotlight: Francis Rolls Up His Sleeves for Conservation

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 Pottawattamie Conservation volunteer, Francis:

Francis volunteer spotlight image

How long Francis has volunteered with us: 

Francis has been volunteering for just over a year for Pottawattamie Conservation's Natural Areas Management team, but he and his family have a deep connection to Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek which he’s been visiting since he was a child.


What he does as a Natural Areas Management volunteer: 

Maintaining public land is hard work that can require blood, sweat, and tears, but Francis is always up for the challenge! As a Natural Areas Management volunteer, he helps our team treat and remove invasive plants, thin trees, cut firewood, and more. With roughly 2,500 acres to manage across the county, our three-person land management team is extremely grateful to volunteers like Francis who support their physically demanding work day-to-day.


Why Francis volunteers:

As a recent retiree, Francis was looking for something he could get involved in part-time that would allow a flexible schedule and keep him active and moving. As someone already connected to the Loess Hills and Hitchcock Nature Center, assisting with some of the park system’s more hands-on needs seemed like a good fit, especially when he gets to work and connect with others who “have conservation in the core of their heart.”


What he’s learned while volunteering: 

“That the staff is so knowledgeable and has such a deep appreciation of the Loess Hills from teaching us and preserving it for our visitors and future generations. What you don’t realize is that every small thing the staff and landowners do has a huge impact on protecting and cultivating our Loess Hills environment and we need to recognize those that have gifted and sold their property in the sake of conservation of the hills.”


Something (“not so”) interesting about Francis: 

According to Francis, who is a retired accountant and previous part-owner at Dickinson & Clark CPAs, PC, he worked hard most of his life to not be very interesting and feels he succeeded very well at that. 

All due respect to Francis, but we have to disagree!

It takes a special person to roll up their sleeves and get to work the way Francis does as he helps beautify public land across Pottawattamie County. We think that passion may have something to do with his deep connection to the Loess Hills where he grew up with his siblings. It seems his time as a child spent hiking, climbing cliffs, and taking in the stunning panoramic views left their mark, compelling him to do his part to protect the natural areas we have left for future generations.

Volunteers like Francis make a huge difference for our small organization by keeping our parks beautiful, providing a great experience for visitors, and supporting local conservation efforts that protect wildlife, pollinators, and us humans, too! His dedication, along with all of our other amazing volunteers, allows us to reach more people about the importance of natural spaces and be good stewards of the land. We truly couldn't do it without our passionate volunteers and can't thank them enough for everything they do to support conservation work.

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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Camp with Pottawattamie Conservation this Spring (4/10/2023)
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