Educational Programs on Konza Prairie
The Konza Environmental Education Program (KEEP) offers educational programs for school groups. Our trained volunteers ("docents") will lead your group in an activity that highlights the biology, geology, ecology, and history of the tallgrass prairie. If you wish to simply visit our Nature Trail without a docent guide, you do not need to contact our office.
If you wish to schedule a guided visit for your school group, please call: (785) 587-0381 or email us at Konzaed@ksu.edu.
Nature trail kiosk - the entrance to the Konza Prairie public trail system
Guided Hikes and Tours - for school groups:
- Nature Trail Hike - you may either have a hike guided by one of our trained naturalists or you may take your class on the trail yourself. The trail is 2.6 miles long and you can expect it to take 2 - 2.5 hrs. Because of the length of the hike and challenging terrain, this hike is not recommended for children younger than 2nd grade.
- Butterfly Hill Hike - this is an easy hike for all ages, but must be done with the guidance of a trained Konza naturalist. This trail is located around the restricted headquarters area and is not part of the public trail system. Expect it to take 1 - 1.5 hrs.
- Hokanson Homestead - this pioneer home site offers insight into the life of a homesteading family in the late 1800’s. The Hokanson Homestead still has the actual barn built by the Hokanson family and other original remnants to give visitors clues to life at that time. The area will show students what a gallery forest looks like near a prairie stream and how a pioneer family settled in a prairie area. Groups can walk from the Trail kiosk back to the Homestead and then return to the kiosk. Expect the roundtrip to take 1 - 1.5 hrs. It is an easy walk for all ages.
- Bison Loop Driving Tour This is a tour of the 10-mile Konza Bison enclosure. A Konza naturalist will accompany your class and share information on the bison herd management, survival, and prairie ecology. This is a fun activity that your students will remember for years. Expect a full loop tour to take 1.5 hrs.NOTE: KPBS does not have a bus or van for this event - the group requesting a tour must provide the vehicle to transport all participants together.
- Watching Wildlife on the Prairie - your class would learn how to move quietly through three different habitats taking note of the different sights and sounds around them. This activity teaches kids how to pay attention to their environment and "see" what is happening in their world. Time required is 45 minutes - 1 hr.
- Konza Experience - this activity is in cooperation with the Flint Hills Discovery Center (FHDC). Groups visit both the FHDC and Konza Prairie doing a specific scavenger hunt worksheet at each place. By putting both experiences together, visitors get an excellent taste of what the tallgrass prairie is all about. Allocate 1.5 hrs. at each site with at least 30 minutes travel between locations.NOTE: there is a separate charge for admission into the FHDC and the group requesting the activity is responsible for making the reservations with the FHDC.
NOTE: Field trips or other visits are not available during the month of July
Field Trip Information
Interactive Science Activities - for school groups:
**These activities are only for teachers who have completed our Summer Teacher's Workshop (PDF).**
Hands-On Science Activity Options
- Catching Grasshoppers on the Prairie - students learn how to systematically capture grasshoppers on two different sites and then learn the differences between species of grasshoppers. They learn about transects and the completion of data forms. Allocate 1 - 1.5 hrs. for this activity.
- Stream Macroinvertebrates - students wear rubber boots to walk into Konza Prairie's Kings Creek to use samplers to catch some of the important "large bugs" found in our pristine water. Students then take their samples back to our lab to identify their organisms. Some species are only found in clean water, other species are more tolerant of poor water quality. Students learn the importance of clean water. Note: this activity is limited to 25 students. Additionally, the water must be running in Kings Creek in order for us to complete this activity. Allocate 1.5 hrs. for this activity.
- Stream Chemistry - teams of students wear rubber boots and use a LaMotte testing kit to measure some of the chemical and physical properties of Kings Creek. Each team will have a different goal and they will report their findings to the group as a whole at the end of the exercise. Note: this activity is limited to 25 students. Allocate 45 minutes for this activity.
- Effects of Fire on the Prairie - students work as teams of 2 or 3 to investigate the effects of fire on the prairie near the Konza Prairie headquarters area. They are assigned specific areas on the prairie to evaluate the presence of grasses, forbs, and wooded plants. Students also learn how to fill out a data form correctly and work as a team. Allocate 45 minutes - 1 hr. for this activity
- Grazing Ecology - students assess the effects of grazers - bison and cattle - on the biodiversity of the prairie. Allocate 2 hrs. for this activity.
These sets are intended to be a full week of curricula to guide students through the ecology of the prairie. Students will be introduced to ecological concepts and the use of data to find answers and solve problems.
All of the material is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.
Elementary Prairie Week Curriculum targeting K-4th grade students
Middle-School Prairie Week Curriculum targeting 6-8th grade students
Each day has a PowerPoint, Teacher's Guide, and Student Worksheet. Time needed: 45-60 minutes per lesson.