Adopt A Trail Program

Is your family, group or organization looking for something to do together outdoors during the warmer months? Are you interested in helping to reconstruct a part of Iowa’s natural history? Do you want to take part in a valuable community service project? If so, check out the Adopt-A-Trail program at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge!

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Garden

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Garden

The goal of the Adopt-A-Trail program is to improve the quality of the prairie plantings along our primary hiking trails for the enjoyment of our visitors and the continued enhancement of the prairie. This is an opportunity for any group of at least 3 people, of any ages, to help reconstruct and maintain our native tallgrass prairie. You would become the caretaker for a 50×25 foot plot of reconstructed prairie adjacent to the Overlook Trail. Your responsibilities would include spreading seeds and planting seedlings of native plants in May, watering as necessary, and removing invasive species throughout the growing season (May-September). You must commit to having someone tend your plot at least 3 times per month during these months; you may work any day, anytime from sunrise to sunset.

Training, equipment and plants are all provided by Refuge staff or our many experienced volunteers. We will hold a spring orientation and kick-off to begin the training process, and staff are always available to help or answer questions.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

The Adopt-A-Trail program is prefect for families, church groups, scout groups, neighborhood groups or friends, civic associations, clubs, youth groups, or any other organized group. Participants can be any age, and don’t need any prior knowledge about the prairie. This program is a fun way to get your group together for a meaningful outdoor, community service activity. The whole group need not be present each time – many hands make light work, so divide it up as it fits into everyone’s busy summer schedules.

If you would like to find out more about the exciting program, please contact Nancy Corona by phone at 515-994-3400 or by e-mail at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is located just 20 miles east of Des Moines on Hwy 163 near Prairie City.

P.O. Box 399
9981 Pacific St.
Prairie City, IA 50228
Get Directions
The refuge roads and trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.

The Prairie Learning and Visitor Center is open year-round.
Regular Hours:
Sunday-Saturday from 9am-4pm

Winter hours:
December 1-February 28
Monday-Saturday from 9am-4pm; closed Sunday.

We are open on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day; we are closed on all other Federal holidays.