Our field reserves

The KU Field Station is made up of 11 distinct reserves in three different areas in Douglas, Jefferson and Anderson counties in Kansas. Each reserve is described below. Those in the Core Research & Operations Area, just north of the City of Lawrence, are listed first, followed by the reserves that make up the Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve, and the Anderson County Prairie Preserve.

Core Research & Operations Area

Reserves listed in this section are part of the 1,654-acre Core Research & Operations Area about 15 minutes' drive north of the City of Lawrence.

Fitch Natural History Reservation

This is the Field Station's oldest tract, established as such in 1947, with 590 acres serving as a place to study ecological succession and including public trails.
Stone wall with embedded plaque

John H. Nelson Environmental Study Area

This 618-acre area is home to the our research and field operations office, as well as the Armitage Center and Cross Reservoir. It provides extensive resources for research and teaching.
Group of people in small boat on lake

Rockefeller Experimental Tract

This 160-acre tract, purchased in 1956 with a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr., includes the 10-acre Rockefeller Native Prairie remnant and a paved ADA-compliant trail to a point overlooking the Kansas River Valley.
Woman writing notes in field

Robinson Tract

This 116-acre tract, once a portion of the Charles and Sara Robinson farm, was added in 1970. It provides woodlands and grasslands for teaching and research, as well as natural wetlands and wetland restored from previous disturbance.
Wildflowers in field

Suzanne Ecke McColl Nature Reserve

This 160-acre tract helps to protect the Fitch and Rockefeller tracts, and provides parking, additional wildlife habitats and land useful for conservation research. The Roth Trail begins here.
View of rammed-earth Roth Trailhead structure from side angle toward woodland

Native Medicinal Plant Garden

This 10-acre site, established in 2010, draws hundreds of visitors each year. It includes a demonstration garden of native plants, the KU Student Community Garden, and several areas devoted to specific research projects.
Crowd at garden area

Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve

Reserves listed in this section are part of the 396-acre Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve, about 20 minutes' drive southeast of the City of Lawrence. The entire Preserve is protected as a sensitive research area, but public tours are given twice a year and will be announced on the KU Events Calendar, the KU Field Station Facebook page and Instagram page, and elsewhere.

Breidenthal Biological Reserve

This 90-acre jewel of biodiversity is primarily made up of relatively undisturbed eastern deciduous forest, with remnants of savannah and a tributary stream. Ephemeral wildflowers bloom in spring.
Closeup of violets

Rice Woodland

The majority of the 80-acre Rice Woodland is relatively undisturbed eastern deciduous forest. It has recently been the subject of special study for woodland management.
Group of people and cars along woodland road

Wall Woods

This 37-acre tract of high-quality woodland has been part of the Preserve since 1974.
Close-up of green leaves in forest

2015 Expansion

Local landowners, working with our research center and eight other organizations, made possible the expansion of the Forest Preserve in 2015. Our annual fall tours explore this area. This area includes 109 acres declared the state's first Legacy forest by the Kansas Forest Service and 80 acres held by KU Endowment.
Group of people in autumn woods

Anderson County Prairie Preserve

The 1,200-acre Anderson County Prairie Preserve, about an hour's drive south of the City of Lawrence, is held by The Nature Conservancy and managed by the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research as part of the KU Field Station.

Anderson County Prairie Preserve

This preserve is set aside for the enhancement of native biodiversity within the imperiled tallgrass prairie ecosystem, with accommodation for research, education and outreach.
Wildflower meadow