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Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie & Meika Make a Dynamic Duo

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 volunteers, Stephanie and her granddaughter Meika:

Stephanie and Meika

How long Stephanie & Meika have volunteered with us: 

Stephanie started volunteering with us at Hitchcock Nature Center two years ago and Meika, her granddaughter, started coming out and volunteering alongside her about a year ago.


What they do as volunteers: 

Stephanie has been involved with a number activities over the past two years. From welcoming visitors at Hitchcock Nature Center’s Loess Hills Lodge Gallery to providing educational and hands-on support for after school programs, summer camps and Pottawattamie Conservation events including our annual Botna Bend Bison Fest and Maple Tree Tap programs and Hitchcock’s annual Litter Busters park cleanup, she is always willing to jump in and share her love for nature with others.

Meika often joins Stephanie but said her favorite thing to do is spend time at the Loess Hills Lodge Gallery.


Why Stephanie and Meika volunteer:

Meika thinks the best part about giving back with her grandma is helping others and seeing families have fun and enjoy the park. Plus, the view is “always pretty."

Stephanie shared:

“I really like to interact with the people who visit because they have similar interests in nature and respect for the land and that is refreshing. It’s also relaxing to come out and just take in how pretty everything is.”

As someone who loves being outdoors, she enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of the Loess Hills with others and working alongside and learning from staff.


What they’ve learned while volunteering: 

Meika has learned a lot about nature during different events she volunteered at including a native seedball-making event and attending Botna Bend’s Maple Tree Tap in the spring. Working alongside her grandma in the lodge, she has also learned some customer service skills including why it’s important to be kind and nice to others.

As Meika said, “It’s like running a small store!” 

Stephanie has really enjoyed working alongside our knowledgeable naturalists and park rangers and appreciates all of the learning opportunities that volunteering with Pottawattamie Conservation provides. 

“I feel one of the most important things I’ve learned is how important our native plants are, how little we have left of them, and the need to preserve them.”  


Something interesting about Meika and Stephanie: 

Meika LOVES to wear bright, shiny things and is obsessed with cats. She also is a gymnast, a dancer, and plays volleyball.  

Stephanie was a nurse for 42 years at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. She is an avid outdoors person and especially loves bird watching, camping, getting dirty in the garden, and sitting around the campfire. Fun fact: She writes with her left hand but does everything else right-handed/footed!

Volunteers like Stephanie and Meika 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.



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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