Volunteers work on picnic tables.

More than 40 state parks will be putting Iowans to work Saturday as part of the Department of Natural Resources second annual statewide Volunteer Day.

Todd Coffelt is chief of the Iowa DNR’s State Parks Bureau. “It’s kind of an effort to close down for the summer,” Coffelt says. “We’re going to do seed harvest, picnic table repairs, and staining shelters. It’s a great time of the year, we’re past the 90-degree heat, so we’re looking for a lot of people to step out.”

Last year, roughly 600 volunteers helped with projects at 34 state parks. Coffelt is expecting 1,000 volunteers will be painting buildings, clearing trails, and picking up litter in 43 state parks. He credits the popularity of the parks for the expansion of Volunteer Day.

“We had a lot of questions about, ‘why isn’t there an activity at this park?’ or ‘why aren’t we doing this?’ or ‘how can I help?'” Iowans who want to help may need to bring tools and supplies. Information about the various projects is posted on the DNR’s website.

“If people have a pair of gloves, a bucket, or anything related to the activities…it’s one of those carry in, carry out opportunities,” Coffelt said. “We’re not trying to make more work for ourselves, so we want people to just bring their skills, contribute to what the activity is, and really make a difference in helping the parks out.”

The DNR also put out a call for volunteers this past spring to help prepare the parks for the busy summer season. According to Coffelt, the volunteer cleanup efforts are partly in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Iowa state park system, which takes place in 2020.

All the information about state parks Volunteer Day is online at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer