Environmental Education


Des Moines County Conservation's environmental education staff can present a variety of programs on a wide range of topics to almost any group, including schools, civic groups, preschools, Scouts, churches, the disabled, and seniors. Most programs are free or low-cost.

We believe that by teaching children and adults in Des Moines County to appreciate, respect, and understand the natural world, we are also contributing to the protection of our natural resources in Iowa and beyond.

To learn why environmental education is now more important than ever, see the following document: Nature Explore Research Statistics (PDF)

Below is a summary of our Environmental Education programs and facilities.

Starr’s Cave Nature Center

Starr’s Cave Nature Center is the hub of Des Moines County Conservation’s environmental education program.

School Programs

Environmental Education staff can either visit your classroom or students are invited to come for a field trip to Starr’s Cave Park and Preserve or any of our other parks. We are frequently in Des Moines County public schools, Christian Schools, Head Start, and many preschools. Programs must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. For the first part of the school year August - December, we will take program reservations beginning early August. For school programs January - June, we will take program reservations beginning in December. To schedule a program or fieldtrip contact Starr’s Cave Nature Center at 319-753-5808.


All camps are designed to be fun and active and to provide high quality environmental learning experiences through games, crafts, stories, and in-depth exploration. Kids love coming to our camps and look forward to them each summer. Parents love our camps too because they know their kids are having fun AND are learning at the same time! All camps include a mid-morning snack.

Camps usually begin the third week of June but may vary depending on when the last day of school is and run through the first week of August. We have camps for 3 year olds all the way up to 13 year olds.

Public Programs

Throughout the year, Des Moines County Conservation hosts or helps with numerous public programs.

Hunter Education

Multiple Hunter Education courses are offered in Des Moines County throughout the year. For a list of upcoming courses, search the Iowa DNR’s Training Page.