Otis & Friends 2I’m Otis, Prairiewoods’ favorite squirrel, and I’ve taken over this blog for 2016 in honor of Prairiewoods’ 20th anniversary. You’ll hear from me or one of my friends each Friday.

As 2016 wraps up, Prairiewoods looks to the future …

Dear Friends:

The sign at the entrance to Prairiewoods says, “All are welcome.”

If you have been to Prairiewoods, you know that by welcome, we mean the warm hospitality so deeply rooted in our Franciscan heritage. And when we say all, we mean people of any culture or background, on any spiritual path. Truly, all are welcome!

As a friend to Prairiewoods—guest, program participant, retreatant, volunteer, donor, neighbor—you have personally experienced this welcome. More than that, you have contributed to the atmosphere of peace and healing that has transformed so many lives in our first twenty years!

You have helped Prairiewoods impact the environment, change lives and renew spirits—and we are truly grateful!

What Prairiewoods has to offer is vitally important: 70 acres of woods and prairies in which to reconnect with nature and experience the interdependence of all creation; programs and retreats that focus on spiritual growth, renewal and understanding; a generative community co-creating a shared future and holding space for what is emerging.

2016 Annual Report - coverIn a turbulent and rapidly changing world, our community needs Prairiewoods. Your gift can ensure that Prairiewoods remains a place of peace and transformation by helping us present a rich and varied slate of retreats and programs, while also keeping the cost to participants affordable. Plus, your gift now is automatically multiplied by a donation of matching funds through our Rooted & Growing campaign, so this is the perfect time to donate. Thank you for contributing to Prairiewoods’ welcoming spirit!

Peace and all good,
Jenifer A. Hanson, Director


Highlights from the Last Fiscal Year

Aug. 2015: Celebrated Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical Laudato Si’ with Praise Be series of programming focused on eco-spirituality

Sept. 2015: Kicked off 8th annual Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) retreat that lasts 9 months

Sept. 2015: Hosted Iowa’s 1st native music festival with Sweetgrass Flute & Nature Fest

Oct. 2015: Began hosting 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes

Dec. 2015: Provided meaningful gift-giving options at annual Holiday Bazaar and Cedar Rapids’ 18th annual Alternative Gift Market

Jan. 2016: Launched 2016 with announcement of 25 spiritual retreats

April 2016: Welcomed Diarmuid O’Murchu, MSC, and Peter Mayer to annual Spirituality in the 21st Century conference with 230 people

May 2016: Completed East Culvert Project to reshape eroded banks of Dry Creek to help our community with stormwater mitigation

June 2016: Celebrated our 20th anniversary with 200 friends at Garden Party fundraiser, raising $31,325 for future of Prairiewoods