3 events, 1 great weekend in the Loess Hills

There’s always a good reason to get outdoors, but this trifecta of events will make it impossible to stay inside. Join Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in western Iowa over the first weekend of June. We’re celebrating our great state’s natural areas with a combined volunteer event, the dedication of a new Bird Conservation Area and the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar. 

GRASS (The Great Race Against Shrubs and Shade)
Help INHF, The Nature Conservancy and Iowa DNR crews remove brush from Turin Prairie. This is one of the largest combined volunteer restoration events in the state, and you’ll definitely feel part of something bigger as the land transforms before your eyes.

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Volunteers are all smiles after last year’s GRASS event.

What: Brush removal, which may involve assisting a chainsawyer to haul brush to piles and/or using loppers and handsaws to do the same.
When: Friday, June 3 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Turin Prairie, North on Oak Ave.
Details:  No experience necessary. We encourage you to work at your own pace as work can be intense and the terrain can be steep and uneven. Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves and a portable water bottle. Contact Mary Runkel with questions at 515-288-1846 or mrunkel@inhf.org.

Loess Hills Bird Conservation Area Dedication
Join the Iowa DNR at a dedication for Iowa’s newest Bird Conservation Area (BCA): the Loess Hills Wildlife Area, Loess Hills State Forest, Preparation Canyon State Park, and a 42 mile section of the Loess Hills — including the Loess Hills National Natural Landmark. This area boasts diverse grassland, forest and savanna habitats, which create crucial habitat for nesting and migratory birds. Many declining species can be found in the new BCA, including grasshopper sparrows, state endangered barn owls and red-headed woodpeckers.

When: Friday, June 3 at 3 p.m.
Where: Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Campground
Details: The ceremony will include brief presentations and the unveiling of a new sign. Refreshments and a short hike in the Sylvan Runkel State Preserve to follow.

Loess Hills Prairie Seminar
This free, family-friendly weekend encourages nature-lovers of all generations to connect with one of Iowa’s last wilderness areas: the Loess Hills. This annual event is in it’s 40th year, and is sponsored by the Northwest Area Education Agency. The fun starts early Friday evening and lasts through late Sunday morning. Each day is broken down into educational sessions for all ages and interests, and evenings are spent listening to featured speakers and programs.

Participants at the 2014 Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.

When: Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5
Where: Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Campground and West Monona High School
Details: Tent camping is available at the Seminar Campgrounds, and for those who choose to eat on-site, meals must be pre-ordered by May 27. All sessions and programs are free. For a full itinerary or more information, please visit here.

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