Understanding our environment

Rockefeller Native Prairie

A fall tour at the Rockefeller Prairie.

 

In 1956, E. Raymond Hall, former director of the Kansas Biological Survey and the KU Museum of Natural History, obtained a personal check from John D. Rockefeller to acquire the 160 acres now known as the Rockefeller Tract. At the edge of this area lies a small 10-acre remnant of original native prairie with a rich diversity of more than 200 native plants—including two endangered species, the western prairie fringed orchid and Mead’s milkweed. This is one of only four locations in the world where both species occur together.

Today less than 0.5% of Douglas County’s original 300,000 acres of tallgrass prairie remains. This makes the long-term protection of the Rockefeller Native Prairie vitally important in preserving our local natural heritage. It is a reminder of what an original prairie looks like, but it also provides a valuable seed bank of rare prairie plants and, together with other portions of the Rockefeller Tract, is highly useful in studies of prairie ecology, restoration and management.

For more information about this important remnant of a vanishing ecosystem, or to provide support through the Friends of the KU Field Station, contact Scott Campbell, Survey associate director for outreach and public service, swcamp@ku.edu or 785-864-1502. See the Rockefeller Native Prairie handout.



 

 

 

 


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