Loess Hills Prairie Seminar

The sun sets over the Loess Hills in Monona County. (Photo by Robert Buman)

The sun sets over the Loess Hills in Monona County. (Photo by Robert Buman)

“Honoring Prairie and the Hills”

Whether avid prairie enthusiast or curious nature lover, you’re invited to join INHF at the 39th Loess Hills Prairie Seminar from Friday, May 29, to Sunday, May 31. Events will be held at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area northeast of Onawa and in Onawa at West Monona High School.

The Northwest Area Education Agency sponsors the seminar annually and invites educators, students, park and conservation persons, community leaders, and citizens. A living memorial to found Carolyn Frerichs Benne, a Western Hills Area Education Agency environmental educator, the prairie seminar brings together 300 people of all ages every year to promote conservation, environmental and science education.

Events for families and Iowa citizens of all ages are scheduled throughout the weekend, including campfires on Friday and Saturday nights, a silent auction and breakout sessions about birds, plants, insects, photography, history, soil, geology, ecology, prairie management, journaling, Native American heritage, landscaping and more

INHF members will lead two of the breakout sessions on Saturday, May 30, at the Outdoor Seminar Site:

8:15 a.m. | Landowners’ Conservation Options
INHF Land Stewardship Director Erin Van Waus will shed light on how and why people choose permanent protection for land they own. An introduction to land donations, bequests and conservation easements will be given, as INHF serves landowners who face these decisions.
10:15 a.m. | Place, Purpose and Prairie
INHF Loess Hills Land Conservation Consultant Tim Sproul and INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel will tell the tale of INHF using the story of Turin Prairie. They will share how and why we do what we do.

Volunteer at G.R.A.S.S. (the Great Race Against Shrubs and Shade)

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Remove woody species to keep Turin Prairie beautiful.

Join INHF, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and other partners during the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar to explore and volunteer at Turin Prairie on Friday, May 29, at 9:00 a.m.

With thoughts of energy and impact, watch the land transform before your eyes at this annual event. Participants will work in teams to remove brush from the large hillside prairie, which may involve use of chainsaws, loppers and handsaws.


Questions about the prairie seminar should be directed to Dianne Blankenship at bennaid@hotmail.com. Questions about G.R.A.S.S. volunteer event should be directed to Mary Runkel at mrunkel@inhf.org.

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Land Stewardship Interns Wrap Up the Summer

Intern CollageUnfortunately, the statewide and blufflands summer land stewardship internship program has come to an end, and all interns have headed home. Filled with accomplishment and learning, the internship program was 11 weeks long, allowing the interns to travel to all the corners of Iowa and work on 25 sites, including private and public properties. Here are some of the tasks and events in which they participated: Continue reading

2014 Loess Hills Prairie Seminar registration open

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Spring is an exciting time at INHF. The land stewardship staff gets back out on the land, we get to tour our favorite properties on field trips and Iowa comes alive with blooms and green spaces. Spring also means it’s time for one of our favorite events—The Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.

Information about this year’s seminar was just released. It’s a time for prairie and Loess Hills enthusiasts alike to gather and work toward making the land we hold dear better through trainings, discussions and a field day. Continue reading