TNS in the Loess Hills

2018 Winter/Spring workshops, saunters, and surveys in Harrison, Woodbury, and Fremont Counties, Iowa.

The Naturalist School gathers naturalists in wild places throughout the continent, but our beloved Loess Hills speaks deeply to our wild hearts. Always rugged and beautiful, they inspire and challenge even the most ardent hikers, poets, and ecologists. Our TNS workshops, Saunters, and surveys are open to physically-fit and curious adults and young people, but may not be suitable for small children. (Please leave dogs at home.) Tuition is free to TNS members unless noted, and nonmembers and newcomers are always welcome, and we ask for a $20 donation for each event. Donations help us to continue our good work together. To become a member, visit the Support and Join Us page above. 

Pre-registration for each event is required. Contact Jack Phillips for more details. 

TNS in the Loess Hills is made possible with support from Harrison County Conservation, Loess Hills Alliance, Gilchrist Foundation, Iowa DNR, and Iowa Native Plant Society.

Harrison County Biotic Survey: Tuesday mornings, Harrison County, Iowa. In partnership with Harrison County Conservation, TNS works seasonal surveys of plants, animals, fungi, and other taxa. Contact Jack to sign up and for more details:

Loess Hills Oaks of Winter: a rugged hike. Saturday, February 3rd, Waubonsie State Park. 1-3pm. Contact Jack for details. .

Sunday Saunters at Gleason-Hubel WMA. Saunters are scheduled weekly throughout the year to take advantage of good weather and ecological phenologies. Watch this page for updates, or contact Jack to be put on the weekly email list. Our tentative winter Saunters are scheduled for February 18th and March 18. Contact Jack Phillips to sign up and for times, meeting place, and for more details. Sponsored by Harrison County Conservation.

What is a Saunter? As advocated by Thoreau and exemplified by Basho, Gary Snyder, Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, and others, a Saunter is a quiet, contemplative yet vigorous walk in a wild and rugged place. For more description, visit the Sauntering page above. (Please note: Gleason-Hubel is a very rugged site with steep, narrow trails and no facilities, and may be difficult for small children.

Eco-poetry with Genevieve Williams: Sunday, February 25th at Waubonsie State Park, 9am – 4pm. Donation for nonmembers: $45; free to TNS members. Contact Jack for workshop details and to register.

Late Winter Birding in Fremont County. Sunday, March 4th at Wa-shawtee Unit. Sunday, March 11th at Riverton WMA. Contact Jack for meeting time and place.

Saunter: Sunday, March 18th at Gleason-Hubel WMA. Contact Jack for meeting time and place. What is a Saunter? Visit the Sauntering page above. 

Spring 2018

Please note: all workshops are open to nonmembers for a $20 donation; free or reduced for members where indicated.

First Spring Saunter: Sunday, March 25th at Waubonsie State Park, 10am.*

Very early spring birds and woodland flowers at Gleason-Hubel: Saturday, March 31st. Contact Jack for meeting time and place.

First April Saunter with Readings from Mary Oliver, etc.: a quiet walk, some poems.* Saturday morning, April 7th at Waubonsie State Park. Call Jack to register.

Frog-song Saunter: Saturday afternoon, April 14th. Waubonsie State Park. Following the contemplative practice of Thoreau, Oliver, and others in the walking tradition, we will walk quietly and let the sounds of breeding amphibians mesmerize and enchant us.*

Sauntering and Writing: the practice of poetic walking and writing on foot.

Sundays April 15, 22, 29, Waubonise State Park Genevieve Williams, Matt Low, Jack Phillips, anna Stoysich, and TNS faculty. (April 15th, additional afternoon workshop.) Contact Jack for more information.*

*Open to TNS members, non-members welcome; $20 donation requested. Contact Jack for meeting place and to register.

Spring Birds and Woodland Flowers Workshop: Saturday morning, April 21st at Gleason-Hubel WMA, with avian ecologists Michelle Biodrowski and Jason Andersen.  Afternoon hike at other county preserves. Sponsored by Harrison County Conservation.

Spring Birds and Wildflowers, Part 2 at Gleason-Hubel WMA. Saturday morning, May 5th. Contact Jack.

Spring Birds and Wildflowers, Part 3 at Gleason-Hubel WMA. Saturday morning, May 26th. Contact Jack for details.

Summer Saunters and Nature Writing at Waubonsie State Park

Contact Jack for more details and to register. Free for TNS members, $10 donation for nonmembers requested.

Tree Frog Saunter, Sunday morning, May 27th.

Sunday Morning Saunter, June 10th.

Nature Writing Workshop: the Poetics of Fungi and Kin with mycologist Katie Thompson and TNS writing faculty. Saturday, June 23rd, morning through afternoon. Tuition: $35.00 ($10 for TNS members.)