Welcome to the KU Field Station

Road into forest with people sitting on gateway structure

Celebrating 75 years of learning

With the arrival of naturalist Henry Fitch in 1948, the KU Field Station was established as an active research site. In 2023, we will celebrate this important anniversary with public events throughout the season. Please check back for details.

The KU Field Station, the biological field station of the University of Kansas, was established in 1947. Its mission is to foster scholarly research, environmental education and science-based stewardship of natural resources. Since the late 1990s, the Field Station has been managed by the Kansas Biological Survey & Center Ecological Research.

All field station sites are situated within the grassland/forest transition zone (ecotone) of North America, where the eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie biomes meet. Faculty, students and visiting researchers use the Field Station's diverse native and managed habitats, experimental systems, support facilities and long-term databases to undertake an a wide variety of scholarly activities.

The Field Station is available to any person or group whose research, teaching or conservation interests are compatible with our mission. The Armitage Education Center, in addition to being a flexible space for research and educational activities, is a highly popular site for KU faculty and staff meetings and retreats. We also offer K-12 education and public outreach programs.

We are part of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a 30-year, continentwide ecological monitoring project and one of the most extensive long-term initiatives in the history of the National Science Foundation.

It also holds membership in the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers and the Organization of Biological Field Stations.

Visit our KU Field Station web mapping application  for administrative, ecological and hydrological spatial data on the Field Station. An archive of historical aerial photography, beginning in the 1940s, shows how the area has changed through time. All data within this application can also be downloaded in GIS, Google Earth, and web service formats from the metadata catalog of the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research.

Stay up-to-date on public events

Our monthly newsletter provides information about KU Field Station public programs and volunteer opportunities for the upcoming month, as well as highlights and photos from previous events.

Our nature trail system

Our five-mile trail system, minutes from town yet a world away, is open to the public dawn to dusk every day. Interpretive signage at three trailheads and along the Rockefeller Prairie Trail helps tell the story.
Entrance to woodland trail

Our field reserves

The KU Field Station is made up of 11 distinct reserves in three different areas, all within an hour's drive of the City of Lawrence.
Spring wildflowers on forest floor