LHPS aerial view of Sylvan Runkel State Preserve photo by Ed   Weiner.jpg

Loess Hills Prairie Seminar:
Breaking Dormancy

Come explore, learn, and relax in the Heart of the Loess Hills for the 45th Anniversary of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar!

Save The Date:

June 3rd-5th, 2022

Friday - 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Saturday - 6:00am - 10:00pm  

Sunday - 6:00am - 12:00pm

"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


We are currently working on updating materials to reflect the 2022 year. Please check back periodically if you can't find what you are looking for.

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

Zoom Survey


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

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2009 Tom Rosburg leads more than one session at the LHPS. This is   the annual Saturday afternoon hi


Loess Hills Prairie Seminar

Carolyn Benne 1981 cropped .jpg

Carolyn Benne

Founder of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.

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Larry Benne

Founder of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar


Dianne Blankenship

Retired Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Coordinator

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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.


Evening Guest Speakers

Friday & Saturday


Friday & Saturday


Campfire Circle

Friday & Saturday

Field Sessions

Saturday & Sunday

Larry Stone photo of bug ID.jpg

Children's Programs

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday



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