Ecology Workshops and Biotic Surveys




For The Naturalist School, walking is a school of thought. So is crouching, stooping, stalking, squinting, muddy knees and peering through binoculars or a hand lens. And we take copious notes; here we know nature by experience, by hand, face to face, skin on skin. There are many nature programs that will line you up in chairs in a dark room to look at slide after slide, make you register on line and pay for parking. TNS meets in small groups* to explore native places and the only power point we use is fingers.




We bring experts on wide varieties of taxa into the field to walk and work with us. But the eyes and ears belong to the volunteers that join us in the field. Together we grow in knowledge and intimacy with worlds that pulse with wildness still and commit ourselves to protecting them. If you would like to join us, let us know! The only requirements are quiet curiosity and good boots.



The data we collect and the species lists we create inform the conservation plans of our program partners and contribute to ongoing ecological research. Our current program partners are Loess Hills Alliance, Harrison County Conservation, Iowa DNR, Golden Hills RC&D, and Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium. If your agency or nature center would like to host The Naturalist School for workshops, biotic surveys or volunteer-based field studies, contact Jack Phillips at

(Photos by Robert Smith, saw-whet owl by Abbe Richardson.)

*Please note: TNS is intended for adults and is not suitable for children unless otherwise designated. And please leave  dogs at home.