Understanding our environment

KU Field Station: Summer Short Course Series

A field botany class visit the Field Station's Breidenthal Reserve.

We regret that no courses were available in 2016. We currently are developing public courses to be offered in the future. The information below describes courses taught previously.

With the exception of the fly-fishing course, each of these classes is offered as a one-credit-hour KU summer course. They are listed in the online KU Schedule of Classes as sections of BIOL 418 or EVRN 420 (for undergraduate students) or BIOL 701 (for graduate students). Those taking a course not for credit may do so via our registration page on the KU Continuing Education website.

All KU Field Station Summer Short Courses are taught at the Armitage Education Center at the Field Station, located north of Lawrence. If you plan to get there on your own, see the map and directions to the Armitage Center.  For students needing transportation from the main KU campus, a van will leave the Haworth Hall loading dock (off Sunnyside Ave.) at 12:30 p.m. each class day and return at the end of the class period. (Transportation is not available for the fly-fishing course.)

If you will need a van ride, or have other special needs, please contact Bob Hagen, Field Education Coordinator (864-6386 or rhagen@ku.edu) when you enroll or before the class begins to ensure that van space is available, or that other accommodations can be made. These are field courses, so part of the class time will be spent outdoors. The instructor for each course will provide more information about the schedule and any preparations needed for particular sessions. If you have questions about an individual course, please contact the instructor.

Course descriptions

Introduction to Field Botany
1:30-4:30 p.m., MWF (1 credit)
Instructor: Caleb Morse, R.L. McGregor Herbarium Collection Manager, KU Biodiversity Institute.
(864-4493, email: cmorse@ku.edu)



This course is designed to teach basic skills in plant identification and the use of keys, emphasizing field identification of common plant families of the southern Great Plains. Students who successfully complete the course should be able to assign to family the majority of the plants encountered in Kansas and use a technical manual to identify any species in North America. A background in biological sciences is recommended but not required.

The major part of each class session will consist of laboratory work, with brief lectures to introduce new topics and short excursions to nearby field station sites. There may be an optional Saturday or Sunday field trip offered as part of the class; further details will be available by May 1.

Recommended (not required) text:
J.G. Harris and M.W. Harris, Plant identification terminology: an illustrated glossary, 2nd Ed. (2001).

Introduction to Kansas Fishes
1:30-4:30 p.m., MWF (1 credit)
Instructor: Ed Wiley, Emeritus Curator, Ichthyology Division, KU Biodiversity Institute, and Emeritus Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
(email: edwiley@sunflower.com)


This course will provide a brief introduction to fish biology and diversity, emphasizing the families found in Kansas. There will be five afternoon sessions. The first will include a field trip to collect fish from a local site. On the other afternoons, the major part of each class session will consist of hands-on laboratory work accompanied by brief lectures to introduce new topics. These sessions will focus on the biology and ecology of freshwater fishes, especially the features important for their identification. During the course students will gain familiarity with the major groups of fishes found in our region, as well as practical experience in using fish identification keys.
Recommended (not required) text:
Cross, Frank B., and Joseph T. Collins. 1995. Fishes in Kansas. 2nd Edition. University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Lawrence, Kansas.
(A free digital version is available online at: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/31793)

Introduction to Field Entomology
1:30-4:30 p.m., MWF (1 credit)
Instructor: Bob Hagen, Field Education Coordinator, Environmental Studies Program; and Courtesy Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
(864-6386, email:  rhagen@ku.edu


This course is intended as an introduction to the biology and identification of local insects. A background in biological sciences is recommended but not required. Most of each class session will consist of laboratory work focused on learning to recognize major groups of insects and develop skill in the use of identification keys. There will be some fieldwork to collect and observe insects during class sessions, but most of our collecting will be done during optional field trips in the morning or evening of class days. A schedule and other information about these excursions will be provided one week before the course begins.

Recommended (not required) text:
Salisbury, Glenn A., and Stephan C. White, Insects in Kansas. (2000, revised 2007)
Ordering information

Introduction to Fly Fishing
6:30-9:30pm, two days (noncredit)
Lead instructor: Scott Campbell, Aquatic Biologist and Outreach/Public Service Coordinator, Kansas Biological Survey
(864-1502, email: swcamp@ku.edu)

This two-evening course is designed to introduce beginners to the pleasure and enjoyment of fly-fishing. Participants will learn about standard equipment, casting, knot tying, fishing techniques, fly-tying, basic entomology, and the ecology of lake and stream game fishes. Experienced instructors from Yager’s Flies, Free State Flyfishers Club and KU will be on hand to teach the course and offer limited personal instruction. All equipment and materials are provided, although participants should feel free to bring their own. Enrollment is limited to 16 people, 16 years of age or older.