Below, take a moment to meet Pottawattamie Conservation volunteer, Monte:
Monte has been a part of our HawkWatch team since 2019. This avid group of birders comes together every fall season to monitor the fall migration of raptors including the Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, or Sharp-shinned Hawk as they head south for winter. Hitchcock Nature Center is an optimal location to view this annual migration as birds take advantage of the westerly winds and vortex-like thermals (updrafts that pull birds up into the sky without them needing to exude much energy) that form in this area of the Missouri River Valley.
Monte also helps out with large events like the annual Hitchcock Experience 100-Mile Endurance Race by supporting the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol to provide food, water, and first aid to runners, regularly offers his photography skills to use in park marketing efforts, and enjoys helping with other park improvement projects throughout the year.
“The place is wonderful, the staff is awesome, so why not try and be a part of it?”
Monte may not be a self-proclaimed birder, but he believes in the power of the data that the HawkWatch team gathers every year. This research helps monitor raptor population changes and can help discover culprits like lead poisoning which we now know negatively impact more than 50% of golden and bald eagles.
“Covid showed me how important Hitchcock was as I watched the crowds from up on the tower. Seeing families spending quality time together made it obvious that having a place like Hitchcock to visit is good for the whole community.”
Being a part of HawkWatch is not for the faint of heart. It requires spending hours at a time atop Hitchcock Nature Center’s 60-foot observation tower and scanning the skies for migrating wildlife in all types of weather and wind conditions (and believe us, it is windy up there!).
Knowing that, you would think that someone who has a fear of heights and despises cold weather would steer clear of HawkWatch, but not Monte. He may not always be happy about it, but every season he trudges up the tower to take part in an effort larger than himself. Raptors, HawkWatch, and Pottawattamie Conservation staff are better for it, too. Thank you, Monte!
Volunteers like Monte 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! Their 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get a full year of free access to all Pottawattamie County parks.Become a member of the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation