Meet Joe Polka

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

four daughters who are spread throughout the country, but he treats the staff and other volunteers at the nature center like family. There’s no doubt that Joe gets up in the morning and thinks about what he’s going to do at Burr Oak Woods that day, and it really doesn’t matter what day of the week it is—he’ll be there.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center is home to many talented and giving volunteer naturalists. There is no way we could name them all and recount the many ways they make our lives easier. More importantly, there is no way we could ever touch the number of Missourians that we do without all of our volunteers. They all have their niche in the life of the nature center.

We do want to offer our special thanks, however, to this one volunteer who has gone above and beyond all of the others in the state of Missouri. Joe Polka, you’ve made your mark and impacted thousands of people. We’re glad you hang your hat here

Share your passion

The only thing more fun than doing your favorite outdoor activity is sharing your passion for it with others.

Feel the pride

Become a vital part of one of the nation’s most respected conservation departments—an agency dedicated to managing Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources.

Enjoy the satisfaction

Know that your work makes a difference for Missouri’s people and nature—today and for the future.

A small sampling of volunteer roles

  • Naturalist: This position requires the highest level of commitment. As a naturalist, you will receive a comprehensive training course covering a variety of conservation topics. After graduation, your skills will be used to greet and assist visitors, lead interpretive programs and care for nature center animals and resources.
  • Instructor: In this role, your job will be to help the Department teach people how to enjoy outdoor activities safely and successfully. Activities include hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, bird watching and many others. Qualifications and training for outdoor skills instructors vary.
  • Conservationist: As a general volunteer, you may be asked to staff the reception desk, develop programs, help maintain the facility, perform office tasks or lead a special workshop. As with other volunteer positions, general volunteers are trained and appreciated as a valuable part of the conservation workforce.

Contact your local conservation facility or visit to find a volunteer opportunity that’s a good match for your outdoor passion and skills. See page 1 for a list of regional phone numbers.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

1401 N.W. Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015

Building Hours

Open year ’round, Monday through Saturday, 8–5 p.m.; Sunday, noon–5 p.m.; closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Area Hours

Open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during daylight-saving time, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Telephone and Website

(816) 228-3766;

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