Dakota County, MN


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Dakota County Adopt-a-Highway Program

Adopt a Highway Program

The Adopt-a-Highway Program looks for volunteers to collect litter along designated segments of County highways to help keep roadsides clean. Coordination of the program and supplies (safety vests, trash bags and training) are provided by the Dakota County Transportation Department.

One-Time Roadside Cleanups

Help us keep our roadways clean. Volunteers looking to collect litter along designated segments of County highways can help without adopting a section of road or forming a group. Coordination of the program and supplies (safety vests, trash bags and training) are provided by Dakota County Transportation staff.

Fill in an application

Dakota County Environmental Resources

Fix-It Clinics

Fix-It Clinics provide an opportunity for residents to receive free assistance from repair savvy volunteers guiding them through each step from troubleshooting to completed repair.

Several volunteer opportunities are available to help at a Fix-It Clinic. Volunteer fixers who have skills in soldering, electronics repair, electrical repair, sewing, wood working and general tinkering are essential to making the clinics successful. General volunteers to greet residents are needed as well.

Green Squad Events

What is Green Squad? We are volunteers that help our county events recycle more and create less waste. We are trained to be good stewards of our resources and to help others make smart decisions when it comes to recycling and waste management.

Master Recycler/Composter Program

The Master Recycler/Composter program provides training on waste reduction, recycling, composting and solid waste.

Graduates agree to volunteer 30 hours putting their skills to work. Graduates have the opportunity to staff informational booths at community events, make presentations, and work on special projects in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.

Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP)

The Wetland Health Evaluation Program engages citizen volunteers to help monitor wetlands in their community. Since 1997, WHEP volunteers have been monitoring wetland health throughout Dakota and Hennepin counties. They provide important information to city and county planners, engineers, resource managers, and others. The data is also used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to track wetland health throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. 

The Wetland Health Evaluation Program teaches citizen volunteers to become wetland monitors in their community. WHEP volunteers work in teams to evaluate the biological health of wetlands selected by their community. All training and equipment is provided and volunteer times are flexible and adaptable to a busy summer schedule. 

For additional information about this program, check out this intro video or visit the MN WHEP website.

Please select the team (city) you want to join. If desired team is full, please join the nearest team to your home location that is still available. For assistance, please contact Garrett Zaffke at garrett.zaffke@co.dakota.mn.us

 

WHEP Training (2022 Current WHEP Volunteers Only)

Training is recommended but not mandatory for you to be a part of the WHEP program. The training consists of three sessions: Field Methods, Macro ID, and Veg ID.

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Dakota County General Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Ending Homelessness

Heading Home Dakota is a 10 year plan to prevent and end homelessness, which was finalized in 2012. The work to create it included a variety of surveys and focus groups, a community retreat, analysis and utilization of data on homelessness in Dakota County, and the development of a strategic plan and an implementation guide to meet the needs in our community. Please check out our plan and join us in our effort to end homelessness in Dakota County!

Transportation Services

DISCLAIMER: The opportunities listed below are not managed by Dakota County but instead are associated with an organization located in Dakota County. You may have to complete additional steps with the host organization to fully apply for this opportunity. The organizations that host these opportunities take full responsibility for the management of the events listed below.  

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Dakota County Parks

County-Wide Natural Resources

Dakota County Parks offers a variety of opportunities for groups and individuals wishing to share their talents and time volunteering in their county park system. If you enjoy working with people or have a passion for nature, Dakota County Parks is the place for you.

Dakota Woods Dog Park

Help maintain your dog's mental and physicals health by getting them outside to roam. Dakota Woods Dog Park is a 16-acre, fenced-in, wooded park that is a great place to let your dog run and exercise on and off-leash. The park is centrally located in Dakota County, just east of Rosemount and north of Farmington.  

Lake Byllesby Regional Park

Lake Byllesby Regional Park is nestled in the scenic Cannon River Valley on Lake Byllesby Reservoir, the largest lake in southern Dakota County. This beautiful park offers vast open space for a variety of year-round activities including cooling off in the splash pad or lake, staying overnight in our campsite, or taking a boat ride to take in the sheer cliff facings on shore that are hundreds of years old. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the Lake Byllesby Dam before you leave.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park is the crown jewel and largest park in the Dakota County park system. Containing almost 2,000 acres, the park offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education. The Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, located in the eastern section of the park, offers park information, interactive nature displays, courses and programs for all ages, and equipment rentals. 

Miesville Ravine Park Reserve

Miesville Ravine Park Reserve is a large nature preserve that provides miles of trails for you to enjoy the picturesque Cannon River Valley. Located at the confluence of Trout Brook and the Cannon River near Miesville, this beautiful park offers the feel of scenic southeastern Minnesota in our very own backyard.

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Enjoy the feel of northern Minnesota from this scenic park that overlooks the Mississippi River. A rest stop along the Great River Road, Spring Lake Park Reserve is the "hidden jewel" of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. The Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead and picnic area provide a scenic overlook of the Mississippi River Valley as well as access to summer hiking and winter ski trails.

Thompson County Park

This charming 57-acre park provides a quiet get-a-way in the midst of West St. Paul. The park features a large picnic and playground area that overlooks Thompson Lake and miles of wooded trails that link Thompson County Park to Kaposia Park and to the Mississippi River Regional Trail. Thompson County Park is also the home of the Dakota Lodge — a four-season event center that is perfect for weddings, reunions, meetings, banquets, retreats, parties and much more.

Volunteer Trail Patrol Teams

Enjoy the outdoors while assisting park visitors with questions, directions, and providing an extra support measure in case of emergencies. Our patrol units offer a vital service to our county parks by providing trained individual assistance to our park users, helping to keep everyone happy and safe on our park and regional trails. Volunteer while personally enjoying the trails yourself, so easy and fun! 

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitetail Woods Regional Park is located in Empire Township in the center of Dakota County, one mile north of the Vermillion River. Whitetail Woods provides year round fun from sledding down hill in the winter to enjoying a walk through the flowering prairie during the spring to taking in the relaxing sounds of an outdoor concert during the summer. Looking to get away for a weekend? Unique cabins for rent offer year-round comfy lodging for you and your family to explore the outdoors.

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