The Prairie Studies Initiative encourages, compiles and disseminates interdisciplinary scholarship and art about the Prairie, especially within Kansas. We have included on this page a number of resources we think highlight the importance of the Prairie, the pedagogical and research opportunities provided by the Prairie, and more general resources highlighting the importance of place-based education. Do you have a resource that we should add to this list? Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com.
Prairie Studies Resources and Recent Research
|"Gordon Parks at Konza Prairie" by Patricia Duncan. Gordon Parks, born in Fort Scott Kansas, was a photo-journalist, poet, novelist, composer, and filmmaker, His was a powerful voice for change and social justice. Parks's semi-autobiographical novel "The Learning Tree" and its film adaption drew inspiration from his early experiences in Kansas. Parks often reflected on the enduring presence of the prairie within him.|
The prairie provides a rich context for inspiring, challenging, and reminding humans of the unique relationships they form with a place. Here are some more web locations to find out more about Prairie research:
Konza Prairie Biological Station - The Biological Station is the central organization supporting research.
Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) - The Long-Term Ecological Reseach Center posts recent research from long term studies in Konza on their website.
- K-State Libraries' Saylor Prairie Ecology Endowment - an endowment used by K-State libraries to the purchase of library materials related to prairie studies.
- K-State Libraries' Prairie Studies Initiative Resources Guide - The Morse Department of Special Collections contains a wide variety of manuscripts, archival collections, and rare books related to Kansas' Flint Hills, the Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve, and North American Grasslands history.
Pedagogy Tools and Resources
One goal of the Prairie Studies Initiative is to support conversations around place-based knowledge that can be used by University faculty, (K-12) teachers, and other learning communities. We have collected here materials and links to materials that could be used to facilitate discussions of Kansas and the Prairie through a place-based pedagogy.
Kansas Prairie Education Resources
Konza Environmental Education Program - hosted by the Konza Biological center
“The Prairie Through New Eyes” (pdf) a regionally focused interdisciplinary curriculum developed by Beach Museum Staff
Promise of Place - a New England based program, that has compiled research and best practices for Placed Based Education
Digital Environmental Humanities - an interdisciplinary site focused on applying digital scholarship to the humanities
University level curriculum
Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs a program and series of education modules focused on helping develop interaction between Natural History Museums and students during student projects
Other Place-Based Initiatives
|"Earth, Fire, and Water, Z-Bar Ranch, 1994" by Larry W. Schwarmm.|
The Prairie Studies Initiative is part of a larger movement among universities and researchers to support place-based research and teaching initiatives. To ground ourselves in this larger context, we produced an initial survey of programs modeling this type of work across the country and the world and identified a "handful" with similar missions. Each program explores the significance of place through use of various tools: academic or aesthetic research, pedagogy, artistic expression, and community engagement. These programs provide a powerful window into both the local contexts and the global significance of a particular place. If we didn't contact you, but you would like to share your program please fill out this google form.
Here we provide a list of programs we found inspiring during the early development of PSI.
Prairies and the Great Plains
Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska Lincoln- an interdisciplinary research center that also supports a curricular initiative around Place Studies
Center for Great Plains Studies, Emporia State University - a Kansas Program focused on developing artistic and literary expression about the plains
Center for Prairie Studies at Briar Cliff College - a program designed “to educate, acquire and respect a sense of place from the prairies of Iowa’s Loess Hills to the global arena,"
- Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College - A program focused on creating interdisciplinary teaching and learning resources and opportunities
- Art and Ecology Program - a program developed at the University of New Mexico, that looks interdisciplinarily at ecology and place through art. See this blog post exploring the pedagogy.
- Antioch New England Institute - Center for Place-based Education - a program focused on developing community-based education programs that develop environmental awareness
- Bucknell Place Studies Program - An educational program that "focuses on the human-nature relationship in the Susquehanna Valley and beyond"
Center for Collaborative Conservation - an interdisciplinary research and teaching center at Colorado State University, focused on regional and global sustainability projects
University of California Santa Barbara Desert Studies Project - A Program at UCSB that focuses on integrating arts-based research and the production, performance and exhibition of art works into Desert Studies, an interdisciplinary research field that has tended in the past to be heavily weighted towards the natural and agricultural sciences.
- School of Global Environmental Sustainability - an umbrella organization encompassing all research and education that deals with the complex environmental, economic, and societal issues of sustainability on Colorado State Campus
If you are interested in sharing a program or research institute at your university and you represent the program please fill out this google form. If you don't run the program, but would like to share it with us, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.