Loess Hills Prairie Seminar
by Patricia D. Armstrong
May 30 - June 1, 2014
The Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is sponsored annually by Northwest Area Education Agency for educators, students, park and conservation persons, community leaders, and citizens. It is held at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area northeast of Onawa, Iowa (map) and in Onawa at the West Monona High School.
The seminar is a living memorial to its founder, Carolyn Frerichs Benne, Western Hills Area Education Agency environmental educator. She started the seminar in 1977 as part of the Western Hills AEA's role in providing education and training for K-12 educators in the areas of conservation, environmental and science education. From 250 to 300 adults and students regularly attend the weekend event.
The philosophy and rationale is grounded in the concept of the "total village" – the belief that schools are part of the larger community that must come together to share and learn about the natural world and how to protect it.
Mark your calendars for the 2014 Loess Hills Prairie Seminar
The Loess Hills Prairie Seminar, sponsored annually by the Northwest Area Education Agency, will be in its 38th year. It brings together dozens of facilitators and hundreds of participants of all ages, with diverse interests that relate to natural and cultural history, the Loess Hills, and prairie. Many field sessions teach about plants and birds, some explore nature writing or photography, others feature Native Americans, and more.
The public is invited to attend any session or program of interest. There is no registration fee and pre-registration is necessary only for those ordering meals. A popular seminar meal is offered at the Methodist Church in Onawa on Saturday, late afternoon. There will be a few tickets available at the seminar, but to be sure of seating, pre-order them.
People of all ages are invited. There are special programs for children, families, and adults and older students. Some field sessions are walks or hikes, some are held at camp and there are several tours by auto.
Educators will be able to register for credit through the Northwest AEA.
Field sessions begin at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area northeast of Onawa and run all day on Saturday, May 31, and on Sunday morning, June 1. More than 40 sessions will be offered.
Friday evening programs begin at 6:15 at the high school and feature important updates about the Loess Hills. Saturday evening programs begin at 6:00.
Special programs are provided for children during the evening programs. The Eulenspiegel Puppets will perform on Saturday evening. There are also many exhibits and a silent auction at the high school on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The Northwest AEA has much help from co-sponsors, the Iowa DNR and Monona County Conservation Board. Major supporters are the Iowa Prairie Network, Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy of Iowa. The complete list of supporters, the 2013 detailed program, and much more information can be found here on the Northwest AEA website.
For more information, please contact Gloria Kistner at Northwest AEA at 712/222-6080, 800/352-9040, extension 6080, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch for the 2014 program on this website by sometime in April, if not sooner. Indoor space is reserved at West Monona High School in Onawa during the day on Saturday (beginning at 9:30am) if weather conditions force the seminar to be indoors. The site on Sunday morning would be the Monona County Conservation Board Office in Onawa.