Parks and Recreation Departments' Roles in Conservation

Southwoods3Parks and public lands serve an essential role in preserving natural resources and wildlife habitat, protecting clean water and clean air, and providing open space for current and future generations. Parks provide an essential connection for Americans of all ages and abilities to the life‐enhancing benefits of nature and the outdoors.

As the largest source of open space land in the country, parks and public lands are critical to the quality of life for all Americans. The quality of life for every person in every community is improved by clean, green, and accessible parks and open space.

Parks are key to ensuring the health of our environment because they play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, providing clean water and clean air, and enabling conservation of natural resources. Park and recreation professionals have become leaders in protecting open space for the common good, and actively lead in sustainably managing and developing land and resources for public use and environmental conservation for the benefit of the public and the resources. In addition, park and recreation professionals provide education and interpretation of the value of conservation to the public, connect children and youth to nature and the outdoors, and coordinate environmental stewardship with other public and nonprofit entities.


The benefits of conservation and environmental stewardship are many, including:

  • Providing carbon‐reducing sustainable landscapes that cleanse air and water, replenish aquifers, reduce storm water runoff, and protect wildlife habitat;
  • Offering the public access to safe, affordable, and healthy ways to experience and appreciate nature;
  • Contributing significantly to the economic well‐being of communities through energy and resources conservation and providing many economic benefits to communities derived from outdoor recreation.

*info taken from National Recreation and Parks Association

West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department's GREEN Team

The City of West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department is committed to using practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship. In February of 2007, a department-wide meeting was held to educate department staff on environmental issues and to generate ideas about what environmental initiatives could be undertaken by the department.  One result of this meeting was the formation of the GREEN Team.  The Parks and Recreation Department's GREEN Team meets monthly to plan environmental projects and events.

West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department's Specific Environmental Efforts

Since 1991, the WDM Parks and Recreation Department has made concerted efforts in environmental stewardship and sustainability practices. You can learn more about each effort by clicking on the titles below!

Tree City USA

Westridge Outdoor Classroom

Prescribed Burn Program

Nuisance Ordinance Revisions 


Park Master Planning

Valley View Park Planning
and Development

Jordan Creek Greenway
Lythrum Control

Prairie Seed Harvest

Fertilizer and Pesticide Usage

Prairie Planting/Restoration

Railroad Avenue
Improvement Project

Irrigation Rain Sensors

Trees Please Program

Adopt a Park/Trail

Woodland Hills Park Stormwater

Natural Landscaping

CurbIt! Grant Program

Bluebird Box Program

Controlled Bowhunt Program

Garlic Mustard Pull

City Campus/Pond Water
Improvement Project

Wild Rose Park Bioretention Basin

Valley Junction Planters