Our name explained…[wän -dər-luhs]It all started with an Instagram hashtag by some local bicycle riders. WanderLoess is a play on words–“wanderlust” meaning a desire to travel and explore, and “loess” (pronounced ‘luss,’ rhyming with ‘bus’) being our local soils. Wander evokes exploration, curiosity, and learning about local places. We are focused on our local communities which are unlike anywhere else in the world. Soil is important to every place, but especially so in rural, agricultural areas like Western Iowa. Loess is a German word for “loose” and describes the soils throughout our region. In addition to the globally-significant Loess Hills landform on the eastern edge of the Missouri River Alluvial Plain (floodplain), the Southern Iowa Drift Plain landform to the east of the Loess Hills also consists of deep loess soil deposits.
Our History…WanderLoess was conceptualized in 2015 during a planning process for Harrison, Pottawattamie, and Mills counties. The project, called the Loess Hills Missouri River Region Parks to People Plan, identified rural arts and cultural program development as a priority for Southwest Iowa. The program was initially called “Porchlights” and was envisioned to include “Coordination of talented artisans, naturalists, chefs and performers translates into an exceptional online and off-line events calendar which delivers education, recreation, local food experiences, arts, and entertainment.” WanderLoess is a “museum and folk school without walls,” where local residents and visitors can learn about the myriad arts and cultural activities happening throughout the region. We aggregate sites and events in a one-stop shop for all things arts and culture in Southwest Iowa, in addition to hosting a few events of our own.
Who We Are…Our Mission: To create and promote enhanced connections and destinations of culture, nature, and community for the betterment of all. Our Vision: An exceptional, preserved landscape framing communities that embrace and integrate culture, history, agriculture, nature, and recreation. WanderLoess is coordinated by Golden Hills RC&D, a grassroots nonprofit based in Oakland, Iowa, as part of the Loess Hills Missouri River Region Parks to People plan. Funding for coordination is provided by Harrison, Pottawattamie, and Mills counties and Iowa West Foundation.
712 South Highway Street P.O. Box 189 Oakland, IA 51560