Nature & Science

See also Conservation and Outdoor Recreation, Travel and Tourism

Main Topic
All Flint Hills topics
Symphony Journal Articles
Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journals’ celebrate the history, culture and ecology of the last stand of the Tallgrass Prairie through art, essays, and poetry.  Like an encyclopedia of the Flint Hills!
Symphony in the Flint Hills
 Astronomy Kansas Astronomical Observers  Enthusiastic group of night sky observers - assist with telescopes, providing observation experiences for public, etc.  Also described in NASA's Night Sky Network  Kansas Astronomical Observers
Go Astronomy!
Fun and informative site with great basic info on observing planets, stars, events, needed equipment, etc. Lists Kansas Astronomy clubs (“star parties”) and basic info for amateur astronomers.
Astronomy Clubs
Biodiversity, plants, wildlife, ecology
Biological Survey
Over 50 scientists doing research on species types, distribution, and abundance of plants and animals. Help manage reservoirs and research aquatic ecology. Special programs: Monarch Watch (involve your kids in this ), Natural Heritage Inventory of biodiversity and threatened species, and medicinal plants. (See Maps)
Kansas Biological Survey
All About Birds
Online guide has info and photos on 599 species; even recorded sounds for 219 species. Birding skills, bird videos.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Birds and wildlife
Audubon of Kansas
Conservation organization to protect birds and all wildlife. Focus on habitat protection - issues and programs. Magazine Prairie Wings online.
Audubon of Kansas
Climate - Kansas maps
Kansas Office of the State Climatologist
Maps of recent precipitation, percent of normal; monthly mean temperature, departure from monthly mean temperature
Kansas State University
Climate Change - fundamentals
Global Warming
Large site with basic information about causes, effects, and solutions to climate change. New information and articles.
National Geographic
Climate Change - resilience and adaptation
Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning
Case study of community in California already significantly affected by climate change. Report lists 50 adaptation strategies to deal with: extreme heat, floods, wildfires, rising utility and food costs, poor air quality, etc.
Pacific Institute
Eco-regions of Kansas MAP
Map of Potential Vegetation Cover of Kansas
Explains ecoregion concept. Shows 8 ecoregions /vegetative cover by color- including tallgrass prairie - at the time of white settlement. By A. W Kuchler
Kansas Native Plant Society
Oil and Gas Production MAP
Kansas Geological Survey (PDF)
Map of oil and gas fields in Kansas, more detail on energy production at the Kansas Geological website.
Oil and Gas Fields of Kansas
Wind - MAP of Industrial Wind Developments
Operating and Proposed Wind “Farms” in Kansas
Group promotes large-scale, industrial wind development in Kansas. Shows sites of industrial wind “farms” in Kansas: proposed, under construction, and operating, including some in the remaining Flint Hills tallgrass prairie ecosystem.
Kansas Energy Information Network
Soil Survey MAPS
Web Soil Survey
Powerful website. Click WSS icon to start survey. Enter location and Area of Interest. Then click tabs across top for wealth of information about soil types, ecological sites, etc. Soil Data Explorer tab has Intro to Soils section with helpful definitions.
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Ecology of Tallgrass prairie; wildlife
Prairie Ecology 
Wonderful page on ecology of tallgrass prairie, facts about fire, bison, identification photos and descriptions of reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, grasshoppers, prairie chickens, flowers. Inventory of species & more! 
Konza Prairie
Ecosystem services
Quantifying Ecosystem Services Valued by Society
Scientists recognizing and quantifying wide array of goods and services provided by naturally functioning prairie ecosystems (e.g., carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, flood water storage, water quality improvement, crop pollination). Addressing concern of loss or destruction of these processes by future changes in climate and land-use. Visit theEcosystem Services website.
U.S. Geological Survey
Geology - Flint Hills, rocks, fossils
Kid-friendly, extensive and informative site. Helpful geological Glossary and Fact Sheet on Geology of the Flint Hills Rocks and Minerals is available. Articles and photos on: physiographic regions, fossils, rocks and minerals, places to visit.
Kansas Geologic Survey

Bug Guide
Kids and adults will have fun with this easy-to-use “Clickable Field Guide” with wonderful pictures and explanations of common insects by order.
Iowa State University Department of Entomology
 Insects  Monarch Watch Involves students and public in project edicated to ongoing research and education aimed at the protection and conservation of the Monarch butterfly 
 Kansas Biological Survey at the University of Kansas
 Mammals Kansas Mammal Atlas and Mammals of Kansas site Click on "Species Accounts" in "Kansas Mammal Atlas." 
"Mammals of Kansas" site reproduces content in the out-of-print book "Mammals in Kansas." 
Sternberg Museum, Fort Hays State University
Kansas School Naturalist
(from above - List of online Print Resources)
Terrific Resources. Articles on everything natural - from pasture burning to spiders to snails to prairie chickens to meat processing to nature poetry. Great kid-friendly “I Didn’t Know That” series of fun facts.
Emporia State University Biology
Nature - Flint Hills
Natural Kansas: The Flint Hills
Special page on Flint Hills wildlife, wildflowers, geology, wildlife viewing areas. Good for young readers.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Nature and design
Studying nature and natural processes for ways to save time, material, and energy in architecture, industrial design, business and medicine.
Biomimicry Institute
Nature, wildlife, science
Outdoor Kansas
(from above - List of online Print Resources)
TRACKS magazine disseminates information and educational resources pertaining to the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the prairie, emphasizing Kansas ecology. Pdfs of TRACKS issues on wildlife, water, fish, math in nature, water, astronomy, evolution, climate change, deer, aquatic life, etc.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
 Nature - all species ARKive - Images of All Life on Earth  Engaging multimedia guide to the world's endangered animals, plants and fungi- Built with the cooperation and aid of world-renowned filmmakers, photographers, conservationists and scientists.  Activities for kids.
 UK group - Wildscreen
Plant and Insect
Biodiversity Information System
(from above - List of online Print Resources)
Plant and Insect Field Guides and References
Kansas State University
Plants - Native
Kansas Native Plants
Rich Resource Page with links about Plant identification, landscaping, invasive plants, prairie restoration, range management, forestry. Esp. great, kid-friendly pages on working insects, and state grass, flower, and tree.
Kansas Native Plant Society
Plants - Native Prairie
Dyck Arboretum (Hesston, KS)
Promotes conservation and prairie restoration - creates management plans for landowners. Encourages native prairie plants in landscaping and gardening. Beautiful “Plant Library” with photos and info. Teacher workshops.
Dyck Arboretum

Plants and wildlife
Great Plains Nature Center - Flora & Fauna
Huge educational site with info on plants, birds, fish, insects, mammals, amphibians, reptiles. The Great Plains Nature Center has large nature displays and numerous educational programs for kids and all ages.
Great Plains Nature Center
Plants - Perennial Polyculture  The Land Institute 
Visionary plant breeding research and education organization promoting entirely different paradigm of agriculture for the future: “natural systems” of perennial polyculture (based on diverse native prairie perennials) instead of annual monoculture, in order to save soil, water, and energy. See “Our Work” section. Past Land Reports available in pdfs. Located on west edge of Flint Hills. 
 The Land Institute
Konza Environmental Education Program
Large tallgrass prairie site owned by Kansas State University and focused on research and public education.  Extensive programs and resources. Konza Prairie
Kansas Prairie Primer
(from above - List of Website Links)
LINKS at right to info on grazing lands, ecological sites, grasses and wildflowers, grazing plants, endangered plants, invasive plants, woody plants, herbariums, arboretums, grazing systems, non-cattle grazers, burning, wildlife, habitat, water quality and quantity, climate change, urban sprawl, energy, ag economics, travel and tourism, conservation easements
Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
 Prairie Atlas of Biodiversity - tallgrass prairie Terrific resource - very readable with beautiful photos - on tallgrass prairie: grasslands, woodlands, water, wetlands, all wildlife, climate change, etc.  Amazingly, Chicago & Flint Hills have something in common - both are in the historic tallgrass prairie region!  Chicago Wilderness - alliance
National Geographic Encyclopedia
Overview of formation and different types of prairies. 
National Geographic
 Prairie - Grasslands  MBGnet-Grasslands 
 Ecosystem information onGrasslands of world, and all world biomes.  Online image archive based upon the video series “What's It Like Where You Live?” which explores terrestrial biomes and aquatic habitats. 
 Missouri Botanical Garden and the Evergreen Projec
 Reptiles & Amphibians
 Herpetology Info Page
 An academic portal dedicated to promoting the preservation and conservation of North American amphibians, crocodilians, reptiles and turtles.
 Center for North American Herpetology
Reptiles and Amphibians of Kansas
Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas
Has photos and descriptions of all frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, snakes. Click under Species Accounts at top left menu, click on category, and then click on species name to produce page with photos and info. 
Sternberg Museum of Natural History
 Soil FAO Soils Portal Wealth of information about soil science: soils & biodiversity, assessing & managing soils, degradation and restoration of soil.  Helpful definitions of terms.
 Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN
Soil and water conservation, wildlife
NRCS Distribution Center (for publications)
(from above - List of online Print Resources)
Over 150 publications (most available pdf): posters, booklets, fact sheets, etc. on soil features, water quality, wildlife, etc. for variety of audiences including farmers-ranchers, gardeners, teachers, scientists
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Water Cycle
USGS Water Science School
Graphic presentation of basic water cycle. See the Water Cycle interactive website. Be sure to click on each component for background explanation. This is part of huge site on water.
U.S. Geological Survey
Water - surface and groundwater in Kansas
Atlas of the High Plains Aquifer
Article explains surface and groundwater in Kansas. Includes maps of Kansas county surface-groundwater, 12 major river basins, annual precipitation, annual run-off, good graphic of water cycle and stream-groundwater interaction. Visit theMain Atlas page with other water articles.
Kansas Geological Survey
Water, geology, energy production, climate - Kansas
Public Information Circulars
(from above - List of online Print Resources)
Free online pdfs on rich array of topics: springs, groundwater, Kansas droughts and climatic trends, earthquakes, fossils, glaciers, hydraulic fracturing, Ogalla aquifers, meteorites, sequester of CO2, etc.
Kansas Geological Survey
Wildflowers and grasses of Kansas
Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses
Outstanding resource by K-State botanist-author-photographer - gives users over 6196 photos on over 849 species. Arranged by color, time of flowering, common name, etc. for easy finding. Beautiful and fun!
Mike Haddock
Mountain-Prairie Region (Kansas)
Wildlife and habitat protection and monitoring, invasive species, wetlands, endangered species.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife