Natural Areas

Northeastern Iowa, along the Upper Iowa River, is a natural draw for students interested in a variety of perspectives, including biology, environmental studies, recreation, contemplative studies, or art.

Anderson Prairie

The 24.7-acre Anderson Prairie has 71 species of flowers and 5 types of grasses. Trails through the prairie are excellent recreation option for students. The Biology Department cares for the prairie through controlled burns and continued experiments.

Dunning’s Spring

Dunning’s Spring #2

Pulpit Rock

Palisades Park

Known as the Driftless Area, this part of the Upper Midwest escaped the most recent glaciation. It features rugged topography with a great variety of natural habitats.

Students can walk out their back door and step on to the trail system to enter the prairie or woods. Because of their easy accessibility, many of the natural areas are used by hundreds of students each year for field laboratories. The diversity of habitats and ongoing restoration projects provide many opportunities for student research projects in ecology, microbiology, geology, hydrology, entomology, and more.

Luther’s natural areas provide a scenic backdrop to the school. These expanses include:

  • Woodlands
    Luther’s woodlands include Hickory Ridge Woods and Roslien Woodlands, which are used by students for their fieldwork, classes, land stewardship, hiking/running trails, and more.
  • River and Floodplain
    Students use the Upper Iowa River, Lindeman Pond, and Hoslett Study Area for biological and other environmental sciences. Beyond the classroom, these waters provide enjoyable opportunities for recreational activities, including kayaking, swimming, ice skating, and more.
  • Prairies
    Restored and reconstructed prairies allow students to learn about ecology while enjoying the aesthetics that come with Iowa prairies.
  • Remote Natural Areas
    Other natural areas include more forests, grasslands, and bodies of water in Lionberger Environmental Preserve, wetland plants in Freeport Marsh, and a large maple basswood forest at the Weigle-Roslien Tract.

Hiking, kayaking, bird watching, and other outdoor activities are encouraged in these locations.