5 Sturgis Corner Drive, Suite 1250, Iowa City, IA 52246
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Mail
Volunteer Opportunities

Bur Oak Land Trust currently maintains and preserves nine local natural areas for the enjoyment and education of the public. These areas are managed in part by the Trust’s Property Stewardship Specialist, volunteer property stewards, volunteers, and community organizations. Volunteers play a crucial role in maintaining and preserving our properties.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks on Trust properties including: prairie burns, invasive species removal, trash clean up, trail maintenance, planting native species, and harvesting prairie seed, to name a few. We have various workdays throughout the year to provide everyone the opportunity to volunteer on a Trust property. Bur Oak Land Trust also needs help in the office with mailing, publications, community relations, and events. If you wish to volunteer, we can find something for you, no matter what your experience.

If you are part of a group or organization and would like to schedule a volunteer day that would work better for you, feel free to contact us.

For workdays on the properties, contact Seth Somerville at seth@BurOakLandTrust.org or call 319-400-551 one.

General Volunteer Invasive Removal Workdays: check back often for new postings!

October 22 1:30pm-4:30pm at Big Grove: SIGN UP HERE

November 12 9:00am-12noon at Big Grove: SIGN UP HERE

November 14  1:00pm-4:00pm at Big Grove: SIGN UP HERE

December 4 9:00am-12noon at Pappy Dickens: SIGN UP HERE

December 4 1:00pm-4:00pm at Pappy Dickens: SIGN UP HERE

Property Stewards Workdays: check back for new postings!

Burn Crew: check back for new postings!

Interested in helping with property burns? Fill out this form: Burn Crew Info Form

AmeriCorps and CCI Team Workdays: check back for new postings!

October 20 9am-5pm at O’Mara-Newport: SIGN UP HERE



Notes from Seth

Conditions have been great for wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), a common roadside weed in Iowa. Wild parsnip is a non-native plant in the parsnip family that originated in Europe and it poses a health hazard.

Wild parsnip plant parts contain a substance called psoralen, which can cause a condition known as “phytophotodermatitis.” This reaction happens when plant juice gets on the skin and then the skin is exposed to sunlight. The results are skin color change, rash development, and in the worst cases, blisters, skin discoloration, and a type of burning pain. Wild parsnip burns often occur in spots or streaks. Dark red or brownish skin discoloration develops where the burn or blisters first appeared and can last for several months, even up to two years. Wear protective clothing before working with or being exposed to wild parsnip.

Wild parsnip typically acts as a biennial, forming a rosette of basal leaves the first year, overwintering, and then flowering the second year. Sporadically, it may behave like a perennial, remaining in the basal rosette stage for more than one year. The basal rosette of wild parsnip is comprised of large, pinnately compound leaves that resemble celery leaves. Leaves that develop on the stem the second year (or subsequent growth season) are alternate, pinnately compound, and branched with serrated, saw-toothed edges. The stem is hollow and grooved, 2 to 4 feet or more in height. The flowers are small, predominantly yellow, and 5-petaled, arranged in an umbel. The umbel ranges from 2 to 6 inches in width and sits at the top of slender stems. The flowering period for wild parsnip in Iowa is from May-July.

Eliminating seed production is crucial when controlling wild parsnip. Mechanical removal of flowers and seeds by hand-pulling or digging the root crown is an effective non-chemical control method, although it can be labor intensive. Since wild parsnip does not flower all at the same time, the area must be monitored for the duration of the season. Scouting and control practices, if necessary, should be done over several years to prevent reestablishment. Chemical control options can be used. Glyphosate applied as a 2% solution can be spot sprayed on basal rosettes. It should be applied in early spring or late fall when most desirable vegetation is dormant since it is a nonselective herbicide. Contact your chemical supplier for more options. Monitoring of the impacted site needs to occur for several years. This invasive species is spreading so fast, and is so dangerous to people not educated about it, that it is actually becoming a public health concern. We want people to enjoy the outdoors without worry of serious injury from a run-in with plants. Please consider becoming more aggressive at attacking this plant. And if you see it somewhere that concerns you, speak up and tell elected officials or public servants your concerns.

This is a before and after picture of the 2016 honeysuckle removal efforts at Pappy Dickens.

We had a great crew at Shimek with our new Yo-ho tools we recently obtained from a Yo-ho tool grant! This group was from NCCC (Americorp).

We had a great crew at Shimek with our new Yo-ho tools we recently obtained from a Yo-ho tool grant! This group was from NCCC (Americorp).

Hard working UNFI volunteers at Pappy Dickens (Oct 2015)

Hard working UNFI volunteers at Pappy Dickens (Oct 2015)

Pappy Dickens (Oct 2015)

Pappy Dickens (Oct 2015)

Pappy Dickens (Dec 2015)

Pappy Dickens (Dec 2015)

Get on our volunteer list!

Enter your email address below to receive notice of Bur Oak Land Trust prairie burns, invasive removals and other work sessions.

* indicates required