May 29th - May 31st, 2020

Getting people; getting children acquainted with what's out here will make people concerned about what is happening here. If we get acquainted with natural communities we feel at home. Any place we feel at home, we feel like protecting.

~Sylvan Runkel


Note: Due to Covid -19 Pandemic outbreak, we have made the very hard decision to postpone the on site 2020 Loess Hills Prairie Seminar. We want everyone who is part of this amazing event to be Happy, Healthy, and most Importantly safe during this time. We will aim for the best seminar we can create in 2021.  

In light of the pandemic we have created a virtual experience for you to view. We hope you find it enjoyable. Please click the link below:


We are currently working on updating materials to reflect the 2021 year. Please check back periodically if you can't find what you are looking for. Please remember, if you plan on purchasing meals fill out a registration form and send to mccbnat@mononacounty.org /

mail to: 318 E. Iowa Ave Onawa, IA 51040

We are looking for silent auction items to help generate funds to run the seminar from year to year. If you are planning on attending just bring the item(s) with you. 


Please Click Following Links:

Program Brochure  Tri-fold Brochure Event Poster 

Registration Form  Driving Directions

G.R.A.S.S. Event Map


The Loess Hills Are One of Iowa's Last Wilderness Areas!

This seminar attempts to connect to this wilderness quality for everyone. Plan to enjoy a wonderful weekend in Iowa's Loess Hills!

Activities Include:
Evening Talks, Entertainment, Children's Programs, Field Sessions, Campfires, Great Food, and Great Conversation



Loess Hills Prairie Seminar


Carolyn Benne

Founder of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.

Larry Benne

Retired Loess Hills Prarie Seminar Coordinator

Dianne Blankenship

Retired Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Coordinator

Andrea Porter

Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Coordinator

The Loess Hills Seminar began in 1977 with a group of approximately 25 people who wanted to study the unique characteristics of this special area. To get an accurate feeling of the “Hills,” and preserve the delicate ecology  the group backpacked into the interior for the first seminar. Since then the increased number of participants has necessitated a more convenient location. The original idea of preserving the “back to nature” concept  of the seminar however, is still a major goal of the organizers.

The Loess Hills are a geological formation created  thousands of years ago during the glacial periods. The Missouri River Valley flooded every summer with the ice melt from these glaciers. During the cool months, however, the flows declined, creating expansive mud flats. Winds dried and picked up this soil causing huge dust storms. Much of the wind-blown soil or loess was dropped near the mud flats in “dirt drifts” exceeding 200 feet in depth.

There are several reasons why the Loess Hills are unique. The soil itself is composed of “silt-sized” particles. This allows water to rapidly pass, which creates an arid or dry condition. South- and west-facing slopes of the Hills are baked in sunlight, while slopes  facing north and east are more shaded. These shaded slopes are often wooded with relatively young stands of Bur Oak.

The sunny, steep slopes have remained in native grasses and flowers, genetically tied to the same vegetation that was here before settlers arrived. The combination and quality of both timber and prairie make this ideal for study.

Weekend Activities:

This seminar was developed to serve students of all ages, families, professionals in the conservation field, and all community members. Each year we see families come back. It has grown to be a multi-generational event.


Friday & Saturday

Evening Guest Speakers

Friday & Saturday


Friday & Saturday

Campfire Circle

Saturday & Sunday

Field Sessions

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

Children's Programs

We Hope To See You!

Come Explore, Learn, Enjoy, and Relax in the Heart of the Loess Hills.

Friday - 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Saturday - 6:00am - 10:00pm  

Sunday - 6:00am - 12:00pm  

Click Here:

Program Brochure

Tri-fold Brochure   Event Poster    Registration Form 

Driving Directions Map 

 G.R.A.S.S Event Map

2020 Virtual Experience: Due to Covid - 19 Pandemic




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(712) 433-2400

318 E. Iowa Ave
Onawa, IA 51040
Monona County

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