Skip to the content

Admission into Jester Park
& the Nature Center is FREE

Field Trip Opportunities

Field Trip Opportunities

Polk County Conservation is putting more emphasis on getting students outdoors. We have developed theme based field trips. These field trips may have two or more naturalists or volunteers leading the programs. Don’t forget winter is a great time to explore the outdoors so consider a winter field trip.

Our goal is to provide students with memorable experiences and to help them make stronger connections to the natural world.




All field trips are FREE except for any field trip involving canoes and/or kayaks. The $50 fee helps cover the cost of transportation and equipment replacement. To schedule a field trip, contact Patrice Petersen-Keys at or 515-323-5359.

Habitat Discovery
  • Grades - 3rd - 5th
  • Length - 4 hours
  • Months - September, October, May
  • Location – Jester Park 

Through hands-on discovery, students will explore Iowa’s habitats including a woodland, prairie, and pond. They will contrast the features of the habitats, find the essential components of habitat, and examine how animals adapt to their habitats.

Geology Rocks
  • Grades - 3rd – 5th
  • Length - 3 - 4 hours
  • Season - Spring or Fall
  • Location - Jester Park

Through hands-on discovery, students will learn about Iowa's geology. They will learn how rocks are made, the three categories of rocks, and understand the rock cycle.

Insect Safari
  • Grades - Kindergarten - 2nd
  • Length - 3 - 4 hours
  • Months - September, October, May
  • Location - Jester Park

Through hands-on discovery, students will explore a variety of insects in the woodland, prairie, or pond. They will identify different types of insects, identify the life cycle stage of the insect and examine how insects adapt to their habitats.

Trees and Plants
  • Grades - Kindergarten - 2nd
  • Length - 3 hours
  • Months - fall or spring
  • Location - Jester Park

Through hands-on activities students will explore an Iowa woodland. They will contrast trees, plants and seeds, and observe the life cycle of trees and plants.

Wild for Wildlife
  • Grades – Kindergarten - 8th
  • Length - 4 hours
  • Season – spring or fall
  • Location - Jester Park

Students will learn about wildlife in Iowa and the clues they leave behind. Hands-on activities may include hiking, bird watching, and catching critters in a pond or prairie.

Outdoor Skills
  • Grades - 6th - 12th
  • Length - 3 - 4 hours
  • Season - All but some activities are seasonally dependent
  • Locations - Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt and Jester Park

This field trip is full of fun and excitement. Year round outdoor skills include: archery, air rifle target shooting, geocaching, orienteering, fire building, and survival skills. Winter activities include: ice fishing, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing. Spring through fall activities include: fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

Life in the Cold
  • Grades - Kindergarten - 12th
  • Length - 3 - 4 Hours
  • Season - Winter
  • Locations - Jester Park Nature Center

Plants and animals have developed a wide variety of strategies for dealing with the low sun, cold, snow and ice of an Iowa winter. Learn these strategies, and then hike the woods, prairies, and frozen ponds at the Jester Park Nature Center to observe some of those strategies in action.

Winter Adventure
  • Grades - 3rd – 12th
  • Length - 2 - 4 hours
  • Season - Winter
  • Locations - Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt and Jester Park Nature Center

Come explore the great outdoors in the winter. This field trip can include snowshoeing, ice fishing, and a winter hike. Warm up indoors around a wood stove.

Optional Activities: In addition to the above listed field trip themes, service projects and hikes can be added to any field trip.