In the summer of 2017, we brought our day camp program to Iowa DNR State Parks for the first time. Wildlife Camps are day camps for students entering 3rd – 7th grade. Our goals for campers include: 

  • Awaken an awareness of the natural world and wildlife in our state parks
  • Nurture an appreciation for wildlife and natural ecosystems
  • Inspire action by developing a “land ethic”

Account Set-Up & Registration

Account Set-Up & Registration 

Registration is now OPEN!
Click the yellow button above to register for camp. 
Account Set-Up Instructions
Please Note: This is a new registration system and a new account is required

Iowa Wildlife Camps at State Parks

Iowa Wildlife Camps is offering a full summer of learning, exploration, and fun in the Wild! Summer camp registration will open on Monday, March 7, 2022. Below you will find our camp offerings for Iowa Wildlife Camps at State Parks. Please pay special attention to the location and date of each camp. Plan to sign your camper up for a camp that is open to the grade they will be entering next school year. Each camp costs $160 (cost may be reduced in some locations thanks to local sponsorships).

 If you have any questions, please contact Iowa Wildlife Camps Director, Ellen Carman at ellen-carman@uiowa.edu.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Backbone State Park

Dundee, IA

July 18-22

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Spend a week exploring Iowa’s first dedicated state park, Backbone State Park. Situated in the valley of the Makquoketa River, campers will spend the week surrounded by the park’s unique ridgeline of exposed limestone. Campers will experience activities such as studying wildlife, playing nature-based games, exploring natural habitats, engaging in outdoor recreation activities, and participating in conservation efforts.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Big Creek State Park

Polk City, IA

TWO WEEKS AVAILABLE: July 11-15 & July 18-22, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Campers will spend a week at Big Creek State Park exploring the habitats surrounding Big Creek Lake. Campers will engage in activities such as studying wildlife, participating in conservation efforts, exploring the natural habitats of the park, and enjoying outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games. Activities will vary each week of this camp so that campers may attend both weeks if desired.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at George Wyth State Park

Waterloo, IA

June 13-17, 2022

For campers going into 4th – 7th grade  

Spend a week immersed in wildlife at George Wyth State Park. This state park is known as an “urban wildlife sanctuary” full of woodlands and lakes creating great natural habitats for campers to explore. Other activities this week will include studying wildlife up close, playing nature-based games, and participating in conservation efforts and outdoor recreation activities.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Lake Darling State Park  

Brighton, IA

July 25-29, 2022

For camper going into 3rd – 7th grade

Lake Darling State Park offers wooded hills and valleys, and a shoreline nearly 18 miles long for campers to explore this week. Other camper activities will include studying wildlife, playing nature-based games, participating in conservation efforts and outdoor recreation activities.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Lake Macbride State Park

Solon, IA

TWO WEEKS AVAILABLE: June 27- July 1 & July 11 – July 15, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Explore the wildlife and landscape at Lake Macbride State Park, the largest state park in Iowa. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, studying wildlife exploring the woodlands and lakeshore, and enjoying outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games. Activities will vary each week of this camp so that campers may attend both weeks if desired.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Ledges State Park

Madrid, IA

June 27 – July 1, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

This week campers will explore the sandstone ledges and slopes at Ledges State Park. Campers will engage in activities such as participating in conservation efforts, study wildlife study and the natural habitat of this park, and enjoying outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa, IA

June 20-24, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Campers will explore Iowa caves and the natural landscape this week at Maquoketa Caves State Park. Surrounded by enormous bluffs and forested areas, campers will learn within some of Iowa’s most unique geological formations. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, studying wildlife and natural habitats, and enjoying outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

Dubuque, IA

June 13-17, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Campers will explore the landscape and history of Mines of Spain State Recreation Area this week. Campers will engage in activities such2 as participation in conservation efforts, studying wildlife and the natural habitats at this park, and enjoying outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Palisades

Cedar Rapids, IA

July 18-22, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Spend the week on the bank of the Cedar River, learning within river bluffs, deep ravines, and the forested areas at Palisades-Kepler State Park. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, exploration of natural wildlife and habitats at this state park, outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Pikes Peak State Park

McGregor, IA

July 25-29, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Surrounded by beautiful views of the Mississippi River, this week campers will explore the bluffs and valleys of Pikes Peak State Park. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, exploration of natural wildlife and habitats, and enjoy outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Springbrook State Park

Guthrie Center, IA

June 6-10, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Spend a week learning about the landscape and wildlife in the rolling hills and mature timber of Springbrook State Park. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, exploration of natural wildlife and habitats, and enjoy outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Volga River State Recreation Area

Fayette, IA

August 1-5, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Spend a week in scenic northeast Iowa, exploring the Volga River, remarkable rock formations, prairies, and natural woodlands at Volga River State Recreation Area. Campers will engage in activities such as participation in conservation efforts, studying wildlife and their habitats within this park, and enjoy outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Walnut Woods State Park

West Des Moines, IA

June 27 – July 1, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

Campers will spend a week surrounded by Iowa’s largest stand of black walnut trees at Walnut Woods State Park. During this week campers will get the opportunity to participate in conservation efforts for the Purple Martins that inhabit the area, study other wildlife and the natural habitats within the park and enjoy outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Iowa Wildlife Camps at Wapsipinicon State Park

Anamosa, IA

June 6-10, 2022

For campers going into 3rd – 7th grade

This week campers will be immersed in the natural wonders of Wapsipinicon State Park as they learn within the unique geology and historical handcrafted structures at this park. Campers will engage in activities such as the participation of conservation efforts, exploration of the wildlife and natural habitats of the park and enjoy outdoor recreation activities and nature-based games.

Camp Information and Policies

Thank you for choosing to participate in Iowa Wildlife Camps at State Parks this summer! We are looking forward to adventures that will include fun, hands-on investigations within some of our ecosystems at each of the individual state parks. We will learn the science of nature while still experiencing the best of recreation. Below you'll find all the information you'll need to know for your campers to have a successful time with us!

  • In case of emergency or to notify us of an absence or for registration information, please call Ellen Carman at (319) 467-1181.
  • Special events and inclement weather may affect activities completed.
  • Campers are expected to be respectful to themselves, others, and nature. If a camper does not follow these guidelines, staff will communicate it to families. Staff will also notify families if a camper becomes ill or injured at camp. The Director reserves the right to dismiss any camper whose choices or conduct becomes detrimental to the program, others, or themselves. No refunds will be made for dismissed campers.

Given the fluid nature of the presence of the virus in our community, all information below regarding COVID-19 policies and procedures is subject to change based on guidance from the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

  • Policies regarding Covid-19 are currently being reviewed and revised for the 2022 summer camp season.

Campers will meet Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted in the camp descriptions.

  • 7:45 AM – 8:30 AM Student drop-off time
  • 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM Formal camp activities
  • 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM Student pick up time  

Because we spend all, if not most, of our time in the outdoors you should come prepared for sun, rain and everything nature may bring. We recommend either wearing and bringing:

  • Sunscreen
  • T-shirts are preferred over tank tops to prevent sunburned shoulders
  • Raincoat or poncho; Programs will move inside when necessary
  • Proper shoes are important! This could be a pair of tennis shoes, hiking boots, or sandals that stay snugly on feet and are designed for hiking and exploring outside

  • Campers should bring their own snack, lunch, and water bottle. Additional water will be provided.
  • We’ve seen a reduction of non-recyclable waste generated at lunchtime. We would love to see this continue! If possible, avoid over-packaged products and bring reusable containers. 
  • We will follow a carry-in/carry-out policy.

Refund policies and instructions for 2022 will be posted soon.

Work for us!

Instructor 
Assistant Coordinator 
Coordinator

Questions about the camps or employment? Email Ellen Carman at ellen-carman@uiowa.edu or call (319) 467-1181. 
Need our Federal ID Number for childcare credit? Federal Identification Number: 42-600-4813

Contact Us

Ellen Carman
Director of Iowa Wildlife Camps
ellen-carman@uiowa.edu
(319) 467-1181

Related Links:
Wildlife Camps