2011 Recipient #1
Adult Range Schools
The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition holds two adult range schools for ranchers, land managers, college students, agency personnel, and others interested in grassland ecology. The school for eastern Kansas is set for August 16-18 at Camp Wood YMCA at Elmdale and focuses on the tallgrass prairie. The western school is August 23-25 at Camp Lakeside, Lake Scott County Lake, and The Nature Conservancy's Smoky Valley Ranch in Logan County targeting the mid-/short-grass portions of the state.
We have averaged a total of 50-60 students each year (15-20 at the western school and 30-40 at the eastern school). We design the agenda to include a diverse set of topics and speakers relative to the theme - this year it is Looking Past the Fence - rangeland watersheds from top to bottom. Two main foci are plant identification and measuring and monitoring plant health. KNPS has provided two presenters at these schools previously - Jeff Hansen and Iralee Barnard. The agenda will include one or both of them this year. These two are in addition to ranchers, NRCS, Extension, and other featured speakers/experts. We spend a good chunk of the time on plant identification, botany, and educating people about the plants they manage for a living. This portion of the agenda always receives high marks in our evaluations.
As in 2010, each student will receive a plant field guide (underwritten by US FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program) ad a three-ring binder full of materials to take with them for reference and use. KGLC has hosted these schools since 2005 and KNPS has provided money for scholarships since 2009 for two ranchers. We appreciate the assistance and financial support provided by KNPS in this educational effort.