TNS in the Loess Hills

2018 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! 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:

Oaks of Winter: A Walking Workshop

Saturday, February 3rd, Waubonsie State Park. 1-3pm. Contact Jack for details. .


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.

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.

Spring Birds: Migrants and Residents

Sunday, April 22nd at Gleason-Hubel WMA, with avian ecologists Michelle Biodrowski and Jason Andersen. Contact Jack for more information and to register. Sponsored by Harrison County Conservation.

Sauntering in Woodbury County

Saturday, April 7: Sauntering with Jack Phillips, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. A Saunter is a way of walking in wild places that creates space within ourselves as nature opens before us. A Saunter is for human adults, for the nourishment of body and soul. Our method of sauntering seeks to deepen native intimacy and contemplation of nature. For a contribution of $20, participants will receive a copy of A Pocket Guide to Sauntering, and an afternoon of walking contemplation, writing, and inspiration in the rugged Loess Hills. Wear good boots and bring a notebook. Please register by Monday, April 2 by contacting Jack or the center at 712.258.0803