Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

2019 Field Trips

CERA prairie in GrinnellCERA prairie in Grinnell 1
CERA prairie in Grinnell 2
CERA prairie in Grinnell 3CERA prairie in Grinnell 3
CERA prairie in Grinnell 4CERA prairie in Grinnell 4

This information is for 2019. Please check back in early winter 2020 for information about 2020 field trips.

Once you are at the Gathering, sign up for pre-planned off-campus trips offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. Costs vary. You can also design your own trip with information provided at the Local Arrangements table.

Known as the "Jewel of the Prairie," Grinnell has some of Iowa's most entrepreneurial independent restaurants, a host of unique retailers and a charming downtown. Likely field trips will showcase local walking tours of buildings by world-renowned architects and local artists, Iowa’s agriculture, the Mother Mosque, a historical look at the Amana colonies, and guided tour of the prairie with the author of Hiking Iowa.


Off-Campus Field Trips

Monday, July 1

The role of farming, climate change food insecurity. Farm tour with Captain Awesome Eric Morrison from Grinnell Heritage Farm Theme: Food systems and climate change

Grinnell Heritage Farm, owned and operated by Andrew and Melissa Dunham, produces USDA organic vegetables, flowers and herbs. Andrew is a 5th generation Iowa farmer. The 80 acre farm, located northeast of Grinnell, has been in the family for 153 years, and is counted amongst the oldest family farms in central Iowa. Meet the Farmers! Learn more about Grinnell Heritage farm  

Tuesday, July 2

Scattergood Friends Historical Tour

Theme: Quaker History

Description TBA

Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) - Prairie Restoration with Iowa Author Elizabeth Hill

Topic/Theme: Women in Nature, Prairie

The Conard Environmental Research Area is an exceptional resource for engaging in environmental inquiry, providing inspiration and raw materials for artistic expression, teaching students and community members of all ages about the history and character of our past, present, and future landscape, and serving as a model for land preservation and ecological restoration. Guided by Iowa author Elizabeth Hill, participants will learning about the intertwined practices of conversation, restoration, and how Iowa’s landscape has transformed.  Take a gentle hike on the tour!

CERA is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, photography, painting, drawing, and other facets of the study and enjoyment of nature.

Wednesday, July 3

Cedar Rapids - Mother Mosque and African American Museum

Topic/Theme: Cultural Communities in Iowa

Departure at 12:15pm, returning to Grinnell around 5:30pm

African American Museum Cedar Rapids

The African American Museum of Iowa is a statewide museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and teaching Iowa’s African American history. As Iowa’s leading educational resource on the topic, we educate more than 30,000 people each year through museum tours, traveling exhibits, research services, youth and adult education programs, and community and fundraising events.

The African American Museum of Iowa was founded by a small group of members of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids in 1993. The church provided meeting space and money to launch the organization. Learn more about the museum.

Historic Mother Mosque

The Mother Mosque of America: This field trip will take you to the oldest mosque in the United States, nestled among a quiet neighborhood of homes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The trip will be to Cedar Rapids where Imam Taha Tawil will serve as host for this event, sharing the history of the Mosque and its importance not only to the immigrants who started it but to all of the United States. An informal question and answer period will be provided and, if time allows, an additional visit to the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids can take place. A donation offering to the Mother Mosque is requested. Learn more about the Mother Mosque 

Thursday, July 4

Amana Colonies

Topic/Theme: Intentional Communities

An information tour will be hosted by Jon Andelson, local Grinnellian and professor in anthropology. Fifty miles east of Grinnell on U.S. Highway 6 are the seven Amana Colonies, founded by German Pietists in 1854 as a religious communal society.  The villages are strategically located on the community's 26,000 acres of land, which consists of roughly equal amounts of cropland, pasture land, and timber.   We will tour the seven villages and learn how the communal system worked, its benefits and drawbacks, and what led to the vote by the members in 1932 to reorganize as a joint-stock corporation and end church control of the community.  Stops will include the Amana Heritage Museum, the church, an intact communal era kitchen, a cemetery, and some of the modern businesses that have roots in Amana's communal past, including the woolen mill and the furniture shop.  We will have lunch in one of Amana's several restaurants, and you will have some time to wander the village of Main Amana on your own. Learn more about the Amana Colonies

Friday, July 5

Field Trip TBD


Create Your Own Field Trip

Opportunities to design your own experiences in and around Grinnell

Following are suggestions for places to explore on your own during the Gathering. You can also review the list of field trips and include those places in your self-designed trips.



• Get active at the new aquatic center, 11 public parks, bike trails, disc golf course and Rock Creek State Park

• Discover Grinnell’s history with a visit to the Grinnell Historical Museum

• Get inspired by a tour of the word-class art exhibits at Faulconer Gallery on the Grinnell College campus

• Admire the ornate details of Merchants National Bank, designed by Louis Sullivan

• Explore the unique shops in our legendary downtown

• Join the fun at community events and festivals

• Learn about the local foods scene from a local producer and visit the Grinnell Farmers Market on Thursday afternoons

Take an architectural walking tour of downtown Grinnell

• Learn more about Grinnell’s thriving economy from the Chamber of Commerce

• Dine at one of Iowa’s hottest independent restaurants (grill your own steak, eat at the historic  train depot, savor the flavors of Iowa’s Best Bite contest winner, and much more)

• Learn gardening secrets from local gardeners responsible for earning Grinnell the distinction as the “Best Bloomin’ Town in Iowa”

• Take an industry tour at one of Grinnell's businesses

Learn more about places to visit in the Iowa region


The Local Arrangements table will contain information on all listed opportunities for you to peruse during registration time on Sunday, from 7:30 am to 8:30 am Monday through Friday and afternoon hours following lunch on Monday through Thursday.  Field trip sign-up will take place at the adjoining table.