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Loess Hills Prairie Seminar:
The Hills are Calling!

Come explore, learn, and relax in the Heart of the Loess Hills in Monona County, Iowa for the 47th Anniversary of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar!

Save The Date:

May 31-June 2, 2024

Friday - 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Saturday - 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM  

Sunday - 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Meal orders are open until May 24th

*Primitive camping & car camping on site. No electrical hook ups. No running water. Potable Water available. Porta-johns available on site.

A solar-powered phone charging station will be available.

PLEASE NOTE: We have begun updating our website for scheduling, session descriptions, and presenter information. Thank you for your patience, and do feel free to reach out with any questions in the meantime! Be on the lookout for more info in the coming weeks!

"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 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 the Following Links:

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 attendees from all walks of life to this precious wilderness. Plan to enjoy a wonderful weekend in Iowa's Loess Hills!

Video by Kyle Ranney

Laptop & Coffee

Weekend Activities:

This seminar was developed to serve students of all ages, educators, 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.

Please click on the corresponding buttons below to view this year's scheduled events and activities.


Pre-Seminar G.R.A.S.S. Event

Friday Evening Events

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Saturday Field Sessions & Events

Sunday Field Sessions & Events


Information for Teachers

Attending the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is worth one unit of teacher continuing education through the AEA. Please click the link below to log in to the AEA portal.
PLEASE NOTE: If you don't already have an account, you will need to create one if you wish to earn license renewal credit. If you aren't a teacher or associated with a school district, then you should create an account as a Pay Customer. You will be able to register the day after you create the account.


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Carolyn Benne

Founder of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar


Dianne Blankenship

Retired Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Coordinator

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Larry Benne

Founder of the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar

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Andrea Porter

Former Loess Hills Prairie Seminar Coordinator


Tyler Ruge

Current 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.

Register for the LHPS 2024!!!
Are you interested in buying meal tickets?
Is this your first time attending?

After submitting you will be redirected to the meal order and info page.

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