Don't know much about the Loess Hills of Western Iowa? This section explores the makeup of loess soil, the ecosystem, the unique qualities of the area, and threats to the hills.

Tourism in Branson, Missouri
The Ozark Mountains are some of the oldest in North America. They are located in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Branson is a small town in Missouri's Ozarks. Only 6,050 people call it home, but almost 7 million people visit each year! Why? More

Mining the Missing Loess Hill
Mining-for fill dirt and limestone-is a controversial topic in the Loess Hills. Most residents believe the heart of the Hills is the front face-or west side. It's the most visible and the most fragile. More

A Guide to Country Living
Water, power, sewer and paved roads-these are all things that city dwellers enjoy. But for those who live in the country, the comforts of modern living are not as easy to obtain. More

What is a Conservation Subdivision?
A conservation subdivision is a housing development in a rural setting that has small housing lots that are close together, and common open space where the natural features of the land are maintained to the greatest extent possible. More

Tourism in the Loess Hills
For thousands of years before European settlement, prairie covered 80% of Iowa. This prairie provided habitat for 250-300 species. Today only 0.1% of the state's original 28.6 million acres is estimated to remain prairie.

Government Involvement in the Loess Hills
The Loess Hills of western Iowa have rare plants and animals, and fragile ecosystems. The hills are nationally unique and can only be found one other place-China. They are truly a national treasure. And one that is 95% privately owned. More

Should the Loess Hills Become a National Park?
Have you ever visited a national park-maybe the Grand Canyon or the Mammoth Caves? These publicly owned areas are certainly unique and worth seeing. More

Five Ways of Looking at Landscapes
There are many types of landscapes. Some are more usable than others. The natural state of the land may prevent people from using it. Human actions can limit the use of land as well. More

The Law of the Land
Owning a house in a town or a farm in the country can guarantee a couple of things More

The Loess Hills as a Working Landscape
"Unique and globally significant" - that is how the Loess Hills of western Iowa have been described. The 200-mile expanse of hills contains many distinctive ecosystems and vistas. More

Rails to Trails
Railroads were once the primary form of getting both people and products from one town to another through the first half of the twentieth century. Their popularity eventually gave way to the car, semi-truck, and airplane. As fewer people and products used the trains, the railroads abandoned their tracks. More

A Media Mogul and Working Landscape Architect
Ted Turner is the largest private landowner in the United States. This media billionaire (owner of TBS, CNN, TNT, the Cartoon Network) owns nearly two million acres of ranchland in Florida, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, and South Dakota. More

Who is Doing Business on a Working Landscape?
All businesses use land. Explore how they use it and what they use it for. More

Paper: A Natural Resource
Paper is perhaps the most familiar product developed from natural resources. More

"The Best of Agriculture" a photo essay
The next time you drive down a highway, take a look around. You'll notice farming seems to be taking place everywhere. But is a field just a field? More

Preservation: Not a Working Landscape
A preserved landscape is a habitat area that is taken out of production so that it can retain its natural state into the future. This is land with a quality or characteristic that makes it distinct and unique. More

Farming in the Loess Hills
When people think of farming, many picture endless flat lands of corn, beans or wheat waving in the wind. In the Loess Hills of western Iowa, farmers deal with steep ridges and rolling hills. The soil is different too. More

Hog Confinements and Manure Management
What's that smell?! Is it the odor of money or the stink of hog manure? It depends who you ask. More

How the Loess Hills Were Formed
Twelve to thirty thousand years ago glaciers were moving and melting over parts of the Iowa landscape and the states to the north. Due to changes in temperature, the front of the glaciers would melt in the summer and huge amounts of meltwater would flow down the Missouri River valley. More

The Wetland Ecosystem of the Loess Hills
Wetlands are places where the soil is saturated with water for at least several weeks during the year. Many wetlands have shallow standing water throughout the year, but others have water only during the spring when heavy rainstorms or melting snow increases the amount of water in the area. More

The Prairie Ecosystem in the Loess Hills
Prairies are landscapes where the soil, weather, and other conditions favor grasses over trees. Although prairie areas can be found anywhere along the Loess Hills, they dominate the southern and western slopes. More

The Woodland Ecosystem of the Loess Hills
Woodlands are one of three distinct ecosystems found in the Loess Hills of Iowa. Trees and woodland areas in Iowa’s original landscape were limited to places where fires were unlikely to occur and had plenty of water. More

Loess Hills Safari
Check out some of the plants, animals, and insects you might find in the Loess Hills More

Explore More: Working Landscapes
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.