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

Community Item Swaps

We all have items we don't need that just take up space. Choosing to donate those items and choosing used over buying new saves money and it’s better for the environment. That is why Dakota County hosts Fix & Swap events in partnership with our Fix-it Clinics.

Community Swaps provide an opportunity for the community to leave their unwanted items and then take as many available items as they wish – for free. All items left over after the event will be donated to a local reuse retailer. 

Dakota County Recycling Ambassador Program

The Dakota County Recycling Ambassador program provides training on waste reduction, recycling, composting and solid waste.

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

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Dakota County Recycling Ambassador Program. 

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 - Event Waste Management Assistance

Green Squad volunteers help our county events recycle more and create less waste. Green Squad volunteers are composed of Dakota County Recycling Ambassadors who are trained to be good stewards of our resources and to help others make smart decisions when it comes to recycling and waste management. Volunteers must first complete Dakota County's Recycling Ambassador program to participate in Green Squad events.

Water Resources

​Protecting Dakota County’s valuable surface water and groundwater resources is an important responsibility for everyone who lives and works here. Dakota County helps protect water quality every step of the way.

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 videoawesome WCCO news story 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 (2024 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

Citizen Advisory Committees

Dakota County Citizen Advisory Committees support county government by involving citizens in the decision-making process, meeting requirements of state law, helping to define community norms and standards, providing technical expertise, serving as advocates, offering feedback, and reflecting the diverse interests of Dakota County clients and residents.

Community & Corporate Group Volunteering

 

Now is the perfect time to get out and help out. Group volunteering is a meaningful break from the work/daily routine to help build camaraderie, collaboration, improve team communications, and to help make lasting change. Dakota County’s volunteer opportunities offer many unique and rewarding experiences for your group to experience together. All supplies, training, and event organization is taken care of by us. All your group needs to do is show up, ready to work and have fun!  

 

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!

Internships & Temporary Positions

 

Dakota County is looking for the best and the brightest to join our team and take on the challenging and rewarding work of public service. The work we do is unique – we protect public health, keep our communities safe, ensure our vulnerable residents are cared for, help residents get back on their feet; protect our natural resources, get veterans the help they deserve, make sure traffic flows efficiently, inspire children to read and so much more. Grow your career at Dakota County where you can truly “Be More.”

Looking to explore more of our opportunities? Check out our website at https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Government/Jobs

Transportation Services

Disclaimer: The positions listed below are not with Dakota County Volunteers but with another organization located in Dakota County or serving Dakota County residents.

You may have to complete additional registration/documentation with the host organization to fully apply for these openings. The organizations that host these opportunities take full responsibility for the organization and management of their volunteers.

Fill in an application

Dakota County Parks

Countywide 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.  

Greenway: Mississippi River Greenway

The Mississippi River Greenway extends 27 miles along the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Hastings, providing scenic views of the river and connections to local parks and trails and other community destinations. This paved trail is intended for non-motorized uses such as walking, bicycling and in-line skating. 

Trailheads for the north segment are located at Kaposia Landing Park and Simon's Ravine Trailhead in South St. Paul off of Concord Avenue and Swing Bridge Trailhead in Inver Grove Heights.  The trailhead for the south/east segment are located at the Pine Bend Bluffs Trailhead and in the Spring Lake Park Reserve at the Lower Spring Lake Trailhead and Schaar's Bluff Trailhead.

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.

Thompson County Park - Take a Kid Fishing - June 09, 2024

What better way to enjoy a summer afternoon in Minnesota than on a lake fishing? No boat? No worries. Take a Kid Fishing allows you to enjoy a popular Minnesota pastime comfortably from the fishing dock on beautiful Thompson Lake in West St. Paul. Lots of hands-on stations led by community partners will be open so that you can learn more about fishing and other environmental topics. There will also be door prizes, giveaways, fun games, art activities and food trucks to help fill up your afternoon of fun. 

Volunteers are needed for this event to be a success. A variety of options are available to help, whether you want to share your fishing knowledge and experience with our young fishing enthusiasts or you would just rather help with general event support, there is something for everyone. To ensure a high-quality experience, pre-registration is required to volunteer. Take a look at the list of open positions below and get hooked on volunteering. 

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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