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Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

Beach Museum of Art
Kansas State University
701 Beach Lane,
Manhattan, KS 66506
(14th & Anderson Ave.)



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 ksuprairiestudies@ksu.edu.

Prairie Studies Resources and Recent Research

"Gordon Parks at Konza Prairie" by Patricia Duncan
"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:

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
General Resources
University level curriculum

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
Other regions
  • 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  ksuprairiestudies@ksu.edu.