Volunteers,

Though this past month we had to cancel almost all of our normally scheduled events again, we are still thinking about you. In the coming month of June, we would have kicked off our UPCYCLE program. This is a program where we partner with Trees Forever, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and Blank Park Zoo to lead volunteers in removing invasive species around Gray's Lake. For the past few years, Confluence has also donated 1 beer ticket (for volunteers 21 and up) to be redeemed that same night. Hear from a few of our partners below:
Like many of our programs this summer, UPCYCLE has been put on hold for the time being. That doesn't mean our partners aren't thinking of everyone. Please read the notes below from some of our partners about missing our volunteers:

"This volunteer spring season has been one of the most unique season's we've ever experienced. While a typical spring would have included several volunteer gatherings to help remove garlic mustard, invasive species, and work alongside our conservation partners, it's been inspiring to see all the volunteers that continue to help keep Iowa's natural areas beautiful and healthy. We can't wait to see all of our volunteers again soon, but appreciate ALL they are doing in the meantime for our community." - Melanie Schmidt, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

"Volunteers are an essential part of UPCYCLE! I will miss having the opportunity to work alongside volunteers from four organizations who share a passion for the natural world. You have all made an impact on our parks, woods, and animals at the Zoo. I am looking forward to when we can all be together again! Thank you all for your passion and support of the UPCYCLE program."  - Chris Eckles, Blank Park Zoo
We want to give a special shout out to our Volunteer Group of the Year in 2019 Watchmen Communities. They were nominated last year because of their efforts in multiple clean-ups of Prospect Park. The group, led by Lokus Ngo, organized children and their families to adopt and care for the park throughout the year. They educated youth, marched through the community and hosted multiple fun clean-ups. Their dedication to enhancing and beautifying the neighborhood is amazing. Watchmen Communities encourage the communities they are in to take care of each other and our natural spaces.
During the COVID Crisis, this group has stepped up again for their community. They have been spending countless hours to help make and donate masks to various organizations including Des Moines Parks and Recreation. We want to thank them for their donation and encourage anyone who is able to donate to their cause. The money will go to more mask supplies, you can find how to donate below.
We also want to recognize Bill and Pam Thompson, two of our volunteers, who have not only helped our City through their individual efforts but they have championed our causes through the Parks Area Foundation as well. On May 18th, City Council officially named the access road from Corning Avenue to Riverview Park, “Bill and Pam Thompson Parkway”.   Please read the submission by one of our staff for our annual Volunteer Awards night:

"Pam and Bill Thompson have committed themselves to serving the citizens of Des Moines in a variety of different ways. One of their volunteer efforts is with the Parks Area Foundation. The Parks Area Foundation is an organization that raises money for civic and
neighborhood based betterment projects such as the mural of Riverview Park painted on the wall of Highland Park Hardware, or the rehabilitation of the Aqualand Building at the corner of 6th and Euclid.
They are both highly active in the efforts to revitalize Riverview Park. Pam and Bill began partnering with the Department in 2014 with the Riverview Park Planning Initiative. Over the past years, they have led the Parks Area Foundation in a planning and fundraising effort to re-develop Riverview Park. They have helped the foundation raise over $600,000 towards the revitalization of Riverview. "