Understanding our environment

Research and Operations Center, including Armitage Education Center

A tour group visits the Armitage Education Center.

This area includes (in order from south to north) the Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden, the Robinson Tract, the Fitch Natural History Reservation, the Suzanne Ecke McColl Nature Reserve, the Rockefeller Experimental Tract (including the Rockefeller Native Prairie) and the John H. Nelson Environmental Study Area (including the Research and Operations Center and the Armitage Education Center). The area is situated just north/northeast of the Lawrence Municipal Airport, about a 20-minute drive from KU's Lawrence campus.

Field office: 785-843-8573

Operations management center and workshop: 785-843-9816

Map to Field Station sites, ending at Armitage Center, 350 Wild Horse Road, Lawrence, KS 66044

Driving directions: From the junction of U.S. 59/24 and U.S. 24/40 in north Lawrence, proceed 1 1/2 miles east on U.S. 24/40 (past the Lawrence airport) to East 1600 Road. Following green signs with directions to the KU Field Station, turn left (north) onto 1600 Road. (The entrance to the field office and Armitage Center is about 4 miles from this point.)

About 1/2 mile north of 24/40, on the west side of 1600 Road, is the Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden. It is just north of Prairie Moon School, formerly Grant Township Elementary School.

Continue another mile north (1600 road veers west past the medicinal plant garden, then turns sharply east and north again); at the top of the hill on the left side of the road is the entrance/parking lot for the Robinson Tract, which is used exclusively by researchers.

Continue north on 1600 Road for another mile to reach the Fitch Natural History Reservation and the Suzanne Ecke McColl Nature Reserve. Parking is available on the west side of the road. You will see the Roth Trailhead, a large rammed-earth structure designed and built by KU architecture students. The entrance to the Fitch Reservation is marked by a large stone and wrought iron gate, with the pedestrian entrance on the north side of the gate. The Roth and Fitch public hiking trails begin at these sites and link to other trails.

The Rockefeller Experimental Tract is about 1/2 mile farther down the road as 1600 merges with 1st Street (Jefferson County). Parking and information are available. You will see another trailhead/shelter designed by KU architecture students, and informational signage is posted here. The Rockefeller Prairie Trail, which is ADA-compliant, begins here and proceeds through restored and native prairie to the scenic Kaw River Valley Overlook (yet another KU architecture student project).

The entrance to the Research and Operations Area (field office) and the Nelson Environmental Study Area is another 1/2 mile down the road on the right. Continue on 1600 road as it turns north, west, then north again. The headquarters, labs, maintenance shop and Armitage Education Center are about 1/4 mile in from the entrance gate (also designed and built by KU architecture students).


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