Steinfort Family Leaves A Conservation Legacy

KLT wraps up this year preserving another 1,895 acres of prairie, woodlands, wildlife habitat, and prime farmland in Geary County. Conserving this land is a family affair. Gratitude goes to the Steinfort family for their unwavering patience and cooperation. Together they worked with KLT to preserve their family’s land as a working farm with rolling hills, wooded streams, and fertile farmland. Thanks to Eldon and Sue Steinfort, Roxie McGee, Frances Benson, and their spouses and children for leaving this conservation legacy for us all.

Thanks also to Fort Riley's Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) Program for their funding support.


These are few scenic views of the Steinfort family farmland.

As I reflect upon the years of work that went into conserving the Steinfort family land, I remember meeting around a crowded table with the Steinfort siblings, their spouses, and children. There were lots of good questions about how the process works and the impacts upon their family. It was a very good discussion. And I knew this was a deliberative, shared decision for everybody. It was a family affair. On behalf of the Kansas Land Trust, we are honored to be stewards of their family legacy.

Scenic Ranch Preserved in the Flint Hills

The Kansas Land Trust celebrates the preservation of the Youngmeyer Ranch in Elk County. This 4,700-acre prairie nested in the Flint Hills will forever be preserved as a working ranch. Owned by the Earl W. Jr. and Terri Youngmeyer Family Foundation, this prairie will also be an ecological research site for Wichita State University. Over 500 prairie plant species have been documented on this site including rich biodiversity indicator species such as green dragon, bottle-brush sedge, ground-plum milk vetch, bread-root scurf-pea, inland ceanothus, and two-flower celestial-lily. This prairie also provides rich wildlife habitat for the greater prairie chicken.
 
KLT gives special thanks to Daniel Offidani, trustee for the Youngmeyer Family Foundation, and our funding partners. Over the past several years the Kansas Land Trust collaborated with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to conserve over 16,000 acres, including the Youngmeyer Ranch, through a Native Environment Conservation Plan with financial support from Tradewind Energy and Enel Green Power North America, owner and operator of the Caney River Wind Project.
 
Working with our partners, KLT will invite you to a dedication of this conserved prairie next spring.


Seasonal photographs from the preserved Youngmeyer Ranch including a photograph of Dead Man's Gulch.

Celebrating More Preserved Prairies

On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Kansas Land Trust sponsored a gathering in Reading, Kansas to show how conservation easements can be used to preserve farms and ranches in perpetuity.
 
The event was held in the Reading Community Building and hosted by Linda Evans, a landowner who has preserved 860 acres of land near Reading. Over the last several years, KLT has worked with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding support from NRCS, Enel Green Power North America, and Tradewind Energy towards conserving over 16,000 acres in the Flint Hills. 
 
In addition to KLT members and landowners, the gathering also included almost 20 representatives from organizations in Kansas and beyond who are dedicated to establishing and maintaining land preserves throughout the state of Kansas. Each representative had the opportunity to outline their goals and processes for preserving land and natural habitats for present and future generations. It was also an opportunity for these representatives to meet each other to explore ways they might work together on future conservation projects.
 
Following the presentations, the attendees visited Linda Evans' easement. In the field Kelly Kindscher, Professor of Environmental Studies at KU, spoke briefly about the various grasses and plants found on the land and the numerous research projects that explore medicinal and healing uses of many native Kansas plants. Alex Miller, District Conservationist with NRCS, and Alex Lyon, wildlife biologist with KDWPT, described cost share options to benefit grazing, hay meadows, and wildlife habitat. 
 
Afterwards, attendees were free to roam through the acreage to get a feet-on-the ground feel for this beautiful property.


Chris Holman, a law professor at UMKC, teaches classes on land and natural resource preservation. He is a master gardener and enjoys fly fishing. Chris recently joined the KLT Board of Directors.


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Thanks to Elaine St. James for
her contributions to this article.

--Jerry Jost, KLT Director

Annual Report for 2015

A Historic Conservation Effort
 
I was one of the founders of the Kansas Land Trust 25 years ago. At that time, a small group of Lawrence conservationists recognized that we needed a new pathway in the state to protect significant parcels of prairies, forests, and cropland.  We had been recently disappointed that a local prairie gem, the Elkins Prairie, had been lost to the forces of development and was plowed “for higher use”.  This prairie was perhaps the best remaining high-quality prairie left in Douglas County and was a location where botany classes at KU would go to learn about prairie wildflowers and grasses. We needed to conserve lands before that time of escalation of land value and politics, and it was suggested that conservation easements could be the legal means to protect land, as willing landowners could give or sell their development rights to a non-profit, such as KLT.  So our first challenge, which I led, was to successfully get the Uniform Conservation Easement Act passed.


 As a researcher and scientist at KU at the Kansas Biological Survey, I have studied what happens to native prairie after it is plowed and farmed.  In our detailed study of prairie restoration at the KU field station, recovery of lost species is very slow. These species will not all come back, for a very, very long time.
 
The Kansas Land Trust had made amazing progress since we were founded and we have legal agreements for 65 conservation easements that protect 31,895 acres of land (native prairies, forests, and cropland). The total value of the conserved land is over $24 million! In order to address changing conservation needs and long-term organizational security, we downsized staff- hiring an external accountant and an external audit firm to follow industry best-practices. Currently, we have a long-lasting, stable and lean organization to monitor and protect our easements. We have significant financial reserves that are restricted for use in our annual monitoring and to defend them legally if needed. This investment strategy ensures our long term ability to fulfill our mission. This past year, Jerry Jost, a long-term KLT land steward, took on the Executive Director role.  We welcomed three new board members who bring a breadth of knowledge from the state and local perspectives. As a board, we are directly involved in securing and protecting conservation easements. We are all highly invested in making sure that the mission KLT will continue in perpetuity! Please consider increasing your support for that effort.
 
Kelly Kindscher, KLT Board President


Gaining Ground

Thanks to your generous support of the Kansas Land Trust, we gained significant ground in 2015. KLT preserved five special properties protecting 6,153 acres in a record breaking year. The vast majority (92%) of these lands were tall grass prairies in the Flint Hills.

 

Every dollar you contributed in 2015 dollar leveraged another $54 to protect special places in Kansas. The appraised conservation value of these lands totals over $3.2 million.
 
KLT did all of this record breaking conservation work while downsizing to one employee (the Executive Director) thanks to an excellent team including a dozen board members, interns, consultants, and volunteers. KLT is a lean and a highly productive change agent!
 
KLT currently preserves and protects 65 properties covering 31,895 acres (this is 2.7 times the size of Manhattan, KS). Over 1,100 of those acres have public access. Already in 2016, KLT has preserved an additional 2,106 acres of tallgrass prairie with plans to protect another 6,571 acres. If these plans are successful, 2016 will be another record setting year.

Only your continued support makes these ambitious plans possible. Every $100 donation allows us to preserve another five acres of Kansas wildness! Please consider an additional gift today.

Jerry Jost, Executive Director



2015 Financial Report


Revenues

Your donations constitute 39% of KLT’s general operating expenses. These contributions bring stability and longevity to our shared conservation work. KLT has two other significant project partners. Since 2006, Fort Riley’s Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program provides service fees which support land preservation and KLT’s personnel, stewardship, and overhead expenses.

Since 2012, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Native Environment Conservation Plan also compensated KLT for personnel and overhead expenses. Together these partners contributed 45% of KLT’s revenue in 2015. Stewardship funds used for monitoring easements provided an additional 8% of total revenues. A Land Trust Alliance grant will provide support for future strategic conservation planning.



Expenses

Land trust work requires intense personal attention. Hence, personnel expenses made up 69% of KLT’s expenses. KLT contracts with Kohart Accounting, P.A. for our accounting needs, taxes, and financial statements.

These statements are shared monthly with our Board. Summers, Spencer & Company, P.A. conducts our annual audit. If you would like to understand our financial accounting process or our audit process, please call (785) 749-3297.


Stewardship and Grant Funds

With each conservation easement, KLTcommits to perpetual stewardship of the protected land. As a down payment for this stewardship commitment, KLTcollects stewardship funds for monitoring and enforcement. Over the past 25 years KLT has set aside over $850,000 for stewardship and enforcement. In addition, KLT has funds set aside for habitat restoration.

A Land Trust Alliance grant is temporarily restricted for strategic conservation planning. Book sale revenue within another grant is targeted towards conservation work in Douglas County. 


Current KLT Board Members
Beverly Worster, Burke Griggs, Chad Voigt, Chelsi Hayden, Chris Holman, Debra Baker, Julie Coleman, Kate Hauber, Kelly Kindscher, Mike Wildgen, Myrl Duncan, Scott Thellman, Susan Iversen

Interns and Volunteers during 2015
Interns: Ashton Martin, Austin Masters, Jiefang Ding
Volunteers: Bill Busby, Gary Tegtmeier, Natalie Aaron Wolfe

 


2015 Contributors
We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to these supporters who contributed to the Kansas Land Trust between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015. Please let us know if your name has been omitted or misspelled at jjost@klt.org. We regret any mistakes that might have been made.

Guardians
Anonymous, Youngmeyer Foundation

Stewards 
Bev and Don Worster, Burke Griggs and Emily Hill, Cathy Reinhardt, Clark Coan, Community Mercantile, Doug and Shirley Hitt, Elaine St. James, Gary Tegtmeier,  Jim Brothers Memorial Fund, Kelly Kindscher, Myrl Duncan, Kenneth Baum, Robert Barnhardt, Jr., Susan and Earl Iversen, Stueck Family Foundation, Tom Harper

Sustainers 
Beth Schultz, Bruce and Lucinda Hogle, donna luckey, Jan and Cornelia Flora, Elizabeth Miller and William Eakin, Evelyn Davis, Giles Thompson, Jennifer Kennedy, Kate and David Hauber, Katie and Ken Armitage, Rose and Kent Bacon, Michael Butler, Molly Mead Wood, Piersol Foundation, Pines International, Simpson Foundation, Sondra McCoy, Valerie Wright and Simon Malo

Caretakers
Barbara and David Clark, Cathryn Tortorici, Chris Kohart, Coco Johnston, Darcy Kunze, David and Carol Kyner, Debra Baker, Diane Simpson, Julie Elfving, Laurie Ward, Lynn Byczynski and Dan Nagengast, Lynn and Carolyn Nelson,  Lowell Paul and Sheila Reynolds, Marsha and Richard Marshall, Pfizer Foundation, Robert Ward, Ronald and Lisa Aul, Sheila Shockey

Keepers
Adam Rome and Robin Schulze, Alan and Phylis Hancock, Amy Lee and Richard Frydman, Ann Kuether, Audrey Wegst, B. Ted Meadows, Barbara and Richard Schowen, Bill and Anna Busby, Beverly Smith Billings, Candice Davis, Chad Voigt, Chelsi Hayden, Chick and John Hood, Daniel Donelin, Dawn Buehler, Dennis and Kristine Lane, Douglas County Community Foundation, Douglas and Elizabeth Martin, Eric and Mary Louise Stahl, Eugene and Pam Carvalho, Fred and Lilian Six, Harold and Melissa Rosson, Jacalyn and Dale Goetz, Joan and Peter Whitenight, Judith Dutton, Katherine Hoggard, Kelly Barth, Lynn and George Devins, Lynne Holt, Stephen Lerner, Steven and Cheri Graham, Steven Hamburg and Sarah Barker, Eric Stahl, Fred Six, Galen Pittman, George Coggins, Ginevera Moore and Mark McGrory, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Gregory and Joan Pease, Harold Rosson, Henry Marder, Jacalyn Goetz, Jack Skeels, Jerry Jost and Deborah Altus, Jerry  Stauffer, John and Rachel Miller, John Middleton and Susan McRory, John and Joan Strickler, Joseph Scranton, Joseph Bartels, Joyce and Ron Wolf, Julie Trowbridge-Alford, Kenneth  Muller, Kent Foerster and Beth Regier, L. Patricia Casey, Lori Heasty, Lowell Paul, Lynn Devins, Lynne and Robert Holt, Lynn Nelson, Marjorie VanBuren and Lynn VanBuren, Mark Miller, Martha Hagedorn-Krass,  Martha Jane Marples, Matthew and Tandy Leinwetter, Michael and Julie Campbell, Michael and Sara Niemann, Mike and Linda Wildgen, Nancy Thellman, Newton McCluggage,  Norman and Anne Yetman, Oread Friends Meeting, Patricia Casey, Peter Mancall and Lisa Bitel, Pete Ferrell, Richard Himes, Richard O'Kell, Richard and Martha Seaton, Roy and Marilyn Gridley, Bob Haines, Bob and Betty Lichtwardt, Regis Vialle, Rick Mitchell, Roger Boyd, Ron West, Roy Gridley, Ruth Gennrich, Wes Jackson,  Sabatini Family Foundation, Sanders Products, Sandra Strand, Scott Schulte, Sheila Shockey, Stan and Janet Roth, Stephen and Chris Edmonds, Stephen and Glenda Schmidt, Steve Lopes, Steven Graham, Steven Davis, Steven Hamburg, Steven and Marcia Hill, Thomas Shields, William McBride

Members 
Alison Watkins, Amy Bertrand, Ann Simpson, Ann Feyerharm, Austin Turney, Bianca Storlazzi, Bill and Erma Riley Family Foundation, Bruce Plenk, Burdett and Michel Loomis, Carleen Howieson, Carolyn Young, Charles  Wittig, Craig and Jane Freeman, Cristi Hansen, Dale Nimz, David Ambler, David and Sharyn Katzman, David Seamon, Dennis Brown, Donald Johnston, Donald Biggs, Douglas and Linda McKay, M.K. Chance-Reay, Nathan Bolls, Eileen Larson and John Naramore, Elizabeth Patton, Eugene Carvalho, Eugenia Bryan, Gary Bjorge, Georgann Eglinski and Ron Schorr, Ginger Chance, Gregory Pease, Helen Martin, Hillary Loring, Howell Johnson, James Hoy, James Hillesheim, Jason Fizell, Jeanne Pees, Jeannette Hierstein, Jill Erickson, Joan Whitenight, Joe Harrington, John and Betsy Edmonds, John Howard, John Simpson, Joy and Bob Lominska, Judith Dutton, Judith Major, Judith Roitman and Stanley Lombardo, Julie Trowbridge-Alford, Kate Meyer, Katherine Hoggard, Kerry Altenbernd, Kim Bellemere, Larry and Linda Maxey, L. Stephen Schmidt, Larry and Susan Seitz, Larry Shepard, Laura Aldrich-Wolfe, Laurance Price, Lauren Ritterbush, Linda Akin Renner, Linda Lungstrum, Linda Johnston, Lisa Eitner, Lisa Harris, Lisa Pool, Lynn Akerberg, Lynne Bodle, M. Ruth Fine, Madonna Stallmann and Paul Weidhaas, Marci Francisco and Joe Bickford, Margo Kren, Margy Stewart and Ron Young, Martha Hagedorn-Krass, Michael and Nancy Windes, Michael Campbell, Micheal Clodfelter, Mike Beam, Michael and Barbara Braa, Orley  and Toni Taylor, Patrick Suzeau, Paul Caviness, Paul Post, Pete and Sue Cohen, Phillip and Camille Korenek, Rex Buchanan, Rex Powell, Robert and Patricia Marvin, Ronald West, Ruth Gennrich, Ruth Fine, Sacie Lambertson, Sally McGee, Sandy Hull, Scott Schulte, Steven Stemmerman, Stuart and Susan Levine, Theda Davis, Thomas Atwood, Thomas Averill, Timothy Miller, Virginia Wulfkuhle, Water's Edge, William Arnold, William Dodd

 
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Akins Prairie Walk

Kelly Kindscher, ethnobotanist with the Kansas Biological Survey and a founder of the Kansas Land Trust, led a prairie flower walk on the Akin prairie this past Saturday, May 21, starting at 10 AM. The Akin Prairie is located at 1852 North 1000 Road.

(For travel directions: Please travel two miles east of Lawrence on K-10, take the East 1900 Rd (Douglas Co. 1057) exit and travel south two miles to North 1150 Road. Travel west on North 1150 about 0.4 miles.)

This 16-acre tract of native prairie, protected in perpetuity, memorializes Dorothy Akin and her love of prairie wildflowers.  Dorothy’s surviving family donated the conservation easement to KLT in 1994.  The Akin Prairie serves as an enduring testament to the generous individuals who made this preservation possible. This will be the twenty-third annual wildflower walk on the Akin prairie. 

Upcoming events: Red Buffalo Ranch Field Trip

Please join the Kansas Land Trust on a field trip to visit the conserved Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan, Kansas. .

We will carpool from the KLT office, 16 East 13th Street, Lawrence, on Monday, June 6, leaving at 7 AM. Please bring a sack lunch, water, hiking shoes, sun protection, insect repellent, camera, note book, drawing pad or and whatever tools you might be able to day pack with you to share this experience with your friends at KLT. Please RSVP at jjost@klt.org. There is no cost other than carpooling together.

Celebrating 25 Years!

 

KLT had a grand 25th birthday party at the Juniper Hill Farms last Saturday. 125 of our friends filled the barn, enjoyed delicious local foods prepared by Raven's Table, and celebrated the past and future conservation work only enabled by the generous support of our members and partners. As several participants commented, "everyone is so happy."

Thanks to the many artists and KLT friends who made our auction fun and successful enabling KLT to conserve more special places in Kansas!


A beautiful morning with trees full of birds singing greeted Bill Busby and friends as he led a bird walk at the Lawrence Nature Park.

And thanks to the students and teachers at Free State High School for working with the Lawrence Parks and Recreation to expand the trails at the Lawrence Nature Park.

Coming Attractions

KLT is Celebrating
our 25th Anniversary!
Sunday, May 1

at Juniper Hill Farms
1547 North 2000 Road
Lawrence, Kansas

Dinner and drinks
(Wine, Beer & Tea)
$50 per person
5:30 pm ~ mingle
6:00 ~ dinner
7:00 ~ celebratory program
7:30 ~ auction

25th Anniversary Auction Items

Dinner by Raven’s Table locally sourced, seasonal, created from scratch.

Kansas Themed Live and Silent Auction to kick-start our next 25 years!Please click on this link for a brochure on auction items.

RSVP by April 26: Checks to KLT, 16 E. 13th, Lawrence, KS 66044. Online:  www.klt.org.  Click on donate.  In the dedication space put “25th birthday party.”  Tell us if you prefer a vegetarian meal!  Questions: 785-748-0896or 785-393-3015



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Bill Busby will lead a bird walk in theLawrence Nature Park on Saturday morning, May 7. Please gather before 8 AM in the parking lot of the Lawrence Nature Park ready to hike on the park's trails in the woods. Please bring your binoculars and cameras. This event is free.

 



This field trip will visit the native prairie owned and managed by Bob Haines north of Manhattan. We will leave at 8:00 AM from the KLT office. We will return to Lawrence around 4 PM. Please prepared to hike through prairie and into valley woodlands. This event is free.RSVP requested.

 


Kelly Kindscher will lead a prairie flower walk on the Akin prairie east of Lawrence on Saturday, May 21, starting at 10 AM. This event is free.


Please join us celebrating our work
over the past quarter of a century
and visiting a few of our
65 protected spaces.

 


KLT's 25th Anniversary Celebration

May 1 - 5:30 PM at Juniper Hill Farms

25 Years - 65 Easements - 31,900 Acres Protected
KLT's party is on May Day at Juniper Hill Farms overlooking the Kansas River Valley and with you there it will be perfect! 



Dinner by Raven’s Table locally sourced, seasonal, created from scratch.

Kansas Themed Live and Silent Auction to kick-start our next 25 years! Auction items include a private workshop with plein air painter Lisa Grossman, a weekend stay in Lucas, the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas (also just a few miles from Wilson Lake!), quilts by a Kansas quilter, art depicting the Kansas landscape, an art lesson in a private studio overlooking the Kansas River, and unique Kansas, garden, kid’s science activities, birder, and spa gift baskets and more! 
  
JOIN US MAY 1, 2016
Dinner and drinks
(Wine, Beer & Tea)
$50 per person
5:30 pm ~ mingle
6:00 ~ dinner
7:00 ~ celebratory program
7:30 ~ auction

RSVP by April 23: Checks to KLT, 16 E. 13th, Lawrence, KS 66044. Online:  www.klt.org.  Click on donate.  In the dedication space put “25th birthday party.”  Tell us if you prefer a vegetarian meal!  Juniper Hill Farms (Thellman Family) is located 10 minutes north of downtown Lawrence: 1547 North 2000 Road. Questions: 785-748-0896 or 785-393-3015

25th Anniversary Auction Items

Kansas Land Trust Notes


Another Prairie Preserved!


The Kansas Land Trust has preserved the second large acreage of prairie this year. Thanks to Darcy and Sheryl Kunze, a square section of tallgrass prairie will be forever conserved in Washington County. This will complete the fourth conservation easement completed with the Kunze family in the last two months.

Working together over the past three years with the Kunze family, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS)Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program; KLT has protected 2,392 acres of prairie in the northern Flint Hills. 

KLT wishes to especially thank Teal Edelen, manager with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for her patience, support, and guidance to help leave this conservation legacy for future generations.

KLT also greatly appreciates the assistance and support of Lynn Thurlow, NRCS Soil Conservationist, over the past three years in completing these conservation easements. The USDA NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program provided matching funds with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the purchase of these conservation easements.

               Teal Edelen                                                                  Lynn Thurlow
                   NFWF                                                                           NRCS

The Kansas Land Trust is 25!! We’re celebrating with a May Day party on Juniper Hill Farms in the fertile Kaw Valley. All our members and friends, past and present, are invited to come together to feast and honor the tremendous tangible accomplishments of KLT’s first 25 years. Save the date to party with KLT and kick start the next 25 years! More details to come.

Please Help KLT Set Conservation Priorities


Please complete a brief survey in connection with a class project at the University of Kansas. This survey is designed to take 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will be handled confidentially and will not be identified with you. This project is being done with the cooperation of the Kansas Land Trust, which has approved this survey. It is not a solicitation. We are interested in your opinions. You have no obligation to participate and may end your participation at any time. Participation in the survey indicates your willingness to take part in this study and that you are at least 18 years old. This survey will remain open until 11:59 Sunday evening.

Expanded Hiking Trails


The Lawrence Nature Park offers hiking trails and wildlife habitat in the midst of residential development. Two donated KLT conservation easements by Bob and Betty Lichtwardt along with Francis Kelly and Cheri Varvil contribute to the park. Currently the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department are planning to expand the hiking trails in the park. Pictured below are Pat Hennessey, supervisor with Parks and Recreation, Rod Croucher, city parks field supervisor, and Cody Janousek, teacher at Free State High School, exploring routes for new trails in park. KLT will be working with Cody to recruit volunteers to help clear new hiking trails on Saturday morning, February 27. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jerry Jost, jjost@klt.org.

 

Pat Hennessey, Rod Croucher, and Cody Janousek scouting out new hiking trails.

Pat Hennessey, Rod Croucher, and Cody Janousek scouting out new hiking trails.


Update on SB 425 Restricting Conservation


Senate Bill 425 transfers authority to regulate conservation easements to county commissions. This bill threatens landowner's rights to control and manage their private land. The Senate Natural Resources Committee heard beginning arguments this past week. Opponents to this legislation should have an opportunity to testify in March. Please check for updates with KLT's website and Facebook pages.


With preserving another Kunze property, KLT now holds 65 conservation easements preserving 31,895 acres. Thanks for your ongoing support of our work preserving some of the best places in Kansas!
Jerry Jost
Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust


Kansas Land Trust Notes

January 9, 2016


Another Prairie Preserved!


The Kansas Land Trust launched this new year with another prairie preserved in the Flint Hills. Thanks to Helen and Fred Germann for preserving 1,474 acres of tallgrass prairie and prime farmland in Geary County. KLT has worked with the Germann family for almost five years to fulfill their intentions to leave a conservation legacy for all future generations. 

The mixture of prairie and cropland provides good habitat for greater prairie chickens. In addition, preserving this land clusters 10,118 conserved acres in Geary County.

KLT wishes to thank Jeff Keating and Fort Riley's Army Compatible Buffer Program (ACUB) for their significant support in this conservation project.


Debra Baker Joins KLT Board


Thanks to Debra Baker for joining the Kansas Land Trust Board of Directors. Debra formerly was a water resource planner for the Kansas Water Office. She now works with the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams.


 Nature Notes


Coralberry provides red fruit throughout the winter sustaining deer, quail, prairie chickens, and songbirds. Birds eat the fruit of American bittersweet. Native Americans cooked the plant's inner bark for an emergency food source.
 


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With preserving the Germann property, KLT now holds 64 conservation easements preserving 31,263 acres. Thanks for your ongoing support of our work preserving some of the best places in Kansas!
Jerry Jost
Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

Kansas Land Trust Notes

December 19, 2015

Just Preserved! 


This past week the Kansas Land Trust preserved an additional 1,760 acres of tallgrass prairie in Riley County. A big thanks to Darcy and Sheryl Kunze for sticking with us the past three years to conserve these prairie landscapes forever. In addition, riparian areas are protected along Fancy Creek which flows into Tuttle Creek Lake. Thanks to our partners with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and USDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Program to help conserve ranching opportunities, wildlife habitat, and water quality.


A shout-out to Natalie Aaron Wolfe for her terrific volunteer work to help launch KLT into 2016!

 

 


Together with your support, KLT sets an ambitious conservation goal for the coming year. Please make an investment for all future generations!


The Kansas Land Trust now holds 63 conservation easements preserving 29,789 acres.Thanks for your ongoing support of our work preserving some of the best places in Kansas!

Jerry Jost
Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

Senses of Place

Dead Man's Gulch
Tall Grass Prairie, Elk and Butler Counties

Early Afternoon, Late September
by Elizabeth Schultz

The destination—Dead Man’s Gulch—sounded straight out of a Louis L’Amour novel or a John Wayne film, a lifeless spot where cattle rustlers might have been strung up and shot without a trial, where a man might have wandered alone, lost, desperate, never to be seen again. Our day of traveling, however, led me and my traveling companions, Jerry Jost (Kansas Land Trust director) and Susan Iverson (KLT Board member) through stunning Kansas countryside to an oasis of diverse and unexpected life.

We left Lawrence, prepared for a long day with good walking shoes, ample water, and packed lunches, heading west on the turnpike beneath an overcast sky. We passed fields of corn shocks and soybeans, their leaves canary yellow, with distant wood lines still holding summer’s dark green. By the time we reached the Flint Hills, the sun had burned off the cloud cover, and the grasslands opened up, unfolding to the edge of the sky. Summer moisture had kept them deep sea-green although yellow broom weed had created swaths of chartreuse. Overhead, turkey vultures glided like the ocean’s frigate birds. As we left the turnpike for two-lane Kansas roads, turning south, the land continued to stretch out before us.

In the distance unexpectedly appeared immense scythes cutting through the sky, bisecting clouds. The familiar tall grass prairie landscape with intermittent farms had become surreal. Driving closer, we read, “DANGER. NO TRESPASSING. Please enjoy the view from the safety of the public road. Thank you, Elk River Windfarm.” Several hundred wind turbines, a forest of immense white trunks had been set here in perpetual motion, their blades whirring, wheezing, throbbing, and getting out of the car to observe them, we stood in silence, dumbstruck by the size, the power, the elegance of these twenty-first century man-made creations. 

But we exclaimed aloud when we noticed that the cattle placidly grazing beneath the turbines were not cattle at all. Emphatically contrasting with the wind turbines were bison—hundreds of them—and we were delighted by the size, the power, and the beauty of these creatures, the plains’ iconic, indigenous mammal, who had made their home here for centuries. In the heat of early afternoon, the herd ambled and wandered, males and females, old and young mingling, groups forming and re-forming, calves nursing, young males rolling on their backs, kicking up their legs, wallowing in dust baths. A few of them stood stolidly by, looking at us soulfully with their poor eyesight, undoubtedly, however, using their olfactory powers to sniff out our dimensions and characters. Other bison, too far away to appear individuated, had wandered further off beneath distant turbines, herds flowing with the luxurious ease of the grasses themselves.

Turning a dusty corner, we paused to take in the high ridges of the expansive sweep of prairie, in the heart of which lies Dead Man’s Gulch. The roadside bristled with gorgeous purple Leavenworth eryngo. We climbed a cattle gate, and Jerry pointed out the barely visible ruts of a road running ahead of us through stands of silver bluestem, little bluestem, and Indiangrass. It would take us to our destination, less than a mile off, hidden in a dense stand of green trees, which were clumped together in contrast to the shimmering prairie. It was well past high noon, and hot and hungry, we pushed ahead through the waist-high grasses, whirring with grasshoppers. Meadowlarks, zipping ahead, led the way. 

A natural spring, trickling through multiple layers of limestone, Dead Man’s Gulch, in contrast to its name, is an oasis of life. Bursting with a diversity of life, if it overlaps with the prairie’s endemic organisms, it also emphatically contrasts with them. Water makes the difference. Sitting on the rim of the gulch, cooling off in the shade of bur oaks and sycamores, we heard the gulch’s water trickling beneath us into a pool. We could see it, then, meandering outward between and over chunks of limestone into a small, clear stream. Here, water skaters dimpled the pool’s surface; yellow garden spiders spun webs among the trees’ twigs; a daddy-longlegs prowled gingerly about the stone ledges; a common wood-nymph fluttered in the grasses with the double eyes on its wings blinking. Here, a frog flung himself outward to splash down—plop—into the pool; a small western ribbon snake rippled across rocks. Here moss appears in masses, dense and moist, and tree roots are exposed, knotted and gnarly and wet. Susan thought she heard a woodpecker; I imagined animals coming at night to drink; Jerry took pictures. 

Refreshed, we came around the rim to walk down into the stream, to contemplate the overwhelming power of water, which centuries ago must have been responsible for cracking these great limestone slabs and distributing them at random into the gulch. We imagined that the water, the shade, the infinite life of Dead Man’s Gulch might have made it a boy’s swimming hole, a source for survival during the drought of the Dust Bowl, and surely a special site for native peoples over countless centuries. We departed with the unspoken sense that we had spent time in one of the earth’s sacred places. 


Thanks to Beth Schultz for engaging our senses with another special place in Kansas! 

Kansas Land Trust Notes

Coming Attractions


Over the past three years the Kansas Land Trust has built a partnership with theNational Fish and Wildlife FoundationUSDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Program, and several landowners to conserve tallgrass prairie and ranching opportunities in the Flint Hills. KLT is looking forward within the next couple of months to preserving over 6,200 acres of prairie in Chase, Riley, and Washington counties. With your ongoing support, these landscape views will be preserved forever.

The Kansas Land Trust wishes to thank Valerie Wright for her service on the KLT board. An environmental educator and naturalist with a rich experience working at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, Valerie provided valuable insight into advancing our shared mission.


Congratulations to Imagination & Place who received the Phoenix Award on Sunday, November 1, 2015, 2 pm, at the Lawrence Arts Center! I&P began as a collaboration between the Lawrence Arts Center and the Kansas Land Trust. I&P later became an independent not-for-profit organization and launched the I&P Press.


Notes on Nature


Purple asters and Leavenworth eryngo are in bloom.


Thanks for your ongoing support of our work preserving more of the best places in Kansas!

Jerry Jost
Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

Kansas Land Trust Notes

Another Preserved Landscape

The Kansas Land Trust just preserved an additional 3,862 acres of Flint Hills tallgrass prairie. Thanks to our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and USDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Program for their support over the past three years to conserve these landscapes and future ranching opportunities in Chase County.

Nature Notes

Autumn colors now dominate the horizons. The golden yellow of cottonwoods contrast the red hues of the prairie.


The Kansas Land Trust now holds 60 conservation easements preserving over 28,000 acres.Thanks for your ongoing support of our work preserving some of the best places in Kansas!
Jerry Jost
Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

Kansas Land Trust Notes


Join Us On A Bird Walk

Please join us on a bird walk guided by Bill Busby in the preserved woodlands and meadows owned by Ralph and Roma Earles on Saturday, September 5, starting at 8 AM. Driving on Highway 56 through Baldwin City, turn north on First Street, turn east on North 300 Road (also Ames Street) and follow this road east for slightly over one mile. Drive through the gate and down the hill. Look for signs and park in the meadow at the bottom of the hill.

Bird watchers on a trail in the Earles preserved woodlands.

Bring your binoculars and join us September 5!

Directions to Bird Watching.jpg

Prairie Restoration

The preserved 4,600 acres of Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan, Kansas, has worked over the past year to remove trees and restore portions of their prairie. This prairie restoration has been supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Native Environment Conservation Plan

Cut trees are piled for later burning.

A mama buffalo on the Red Buffalo Ranch.


Notes on Nature

Ashy sunflowers and compass plants are in bloom in the Flint Hills.

Compass plants get their name from their tendency to align the edges of their basal leaves north and south to limit overexposure to the summer sun.

Ashy sunflowers grow from branched underground rhizomes often forming colonies of yellow flowers.


Thanks for your ongoing support of our conservation work including 59 preserved places protecting over 24,000 acres!

Jerry Jost
Interim Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

 

Kansas Land Trust Notes


Visit One of Our Preserved Prairies

In 2009 Bob Haines and his family preserved 1,250 acres of prairie in Riley County through a conservation easement held by the Kansas Land Trust. Remembering the value of the prairie in his childhood experiences, Bob has engaged his children and grandchildren in camping out on the family’s prairie. He also consulted with range management and wildlife specialists to use tree removal and patch burning to restore his prairie.

The Kansas Native Plant Society (KNPS) during its Annual Wildflower Weekendwill host a tour of the Haines prairie on Saturday, September 26, at 3:30 P.M. This will be a great chance to visit this scenic prairie along with many native plant enthusiasts. For more information and to register, please visit KNPS’s web site.

 

A view of Tuttle Creek Lake from the Haines pasture.

Bob Haines pointing to describe his plan for restoring his prairie.


Good News

KLT has been working on preserving over 4,000 acres of southern Flint Hill’s prairie for more than a year. KLT recently received key promises of support from two project partners to move closer to preserving these landscapes forever.


Notes on Nature

You may find some unwanted passengers walking through the prairie. These clinging seed pods of the sessile-leaf tickclover can work their way into your hiking plans.


Thanks for your ongoing support of our conservation work!

Jerry Jost
Interim Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust


Kansas Land Trust Notes

Our Landowners Make a Difference

Many of our 59 preserved places are privately owned. Our landowner partners provide the care and management of their land. KLT holds the development rights so that these prairies, hay meadows, fields, and wildlife habitats remain preserved as open space. 

Marilyn Lindsay donated her conservation easement in Wabaunsee County in 2010. The Fritz family later purchased this land and restored a pond and a prairie. After several years of tree and shrub removal, they have restored a beautiful little hay meadow!

 

The Fritz family restored a farm pond providing water to wildlife.

A restored prairie on the Lindsay conservation easement.


Challenge Pledge

Thanks to our KLT friends who helped match most of our summer challenge pledge. We were able to reach 75% of our $5,000 goal. Working together we are able to leave a conservation legacy for future generations! 


Thanks, Liz!

Thanks to Liz Miller for her service and guidance on the KLT Board of Directors for the past three years! 


Notes on Nature

We have passed the summer solstice and the sumac seedheads are now turning red. For more observations on our changing flora and fauna, please visit Ken Lassman's Kaw Valley Almanac.


Thanks for your ongoing support of our conservation work!

Jerry Jost
Interim Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

Kansas Land Trust Notes


Challenge Pledge

If you haven't already, this is a friendly reminder to double your impact on land conservation in Kansas!   KLT has received a $5,000 challenge pledge – a group of conservationists will match donations, up to a total of $5,000, if they are made to KLT by June 20.  So join the challenge by making a donation to KLT, and your gift will be matched. Visit our website to donate online, or send your donation to Kansas Land Trust, 16 E. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044. Working together we can save the beautiful places and open spaces that we all love! 


Buck Creek Wildlife Area

Hikers, birders, and photographers now can enjoy a new public wildlife area. The Buck Creek Wildlife Area features restored prairies, gurgling riparian woodlands, oak-hickory forest, expansive hay meadows, and abundant wildlife. This 836-acre nature park buffers three miles of Buck Creek in Jefferson County. Thanks to Roger Johnson, Howard Dodge Engleman, and the late Lance Burr for having both the vision and generosity in conserving this scenic part of Jefferson County with conservation easements held by the Kansas Land Trust. The Buck Creek Wildlife Area is now managed by Kansas Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. Hiking is allowed by permission only. If you are interested, please contact Justin Hamilton at (913) 845-2665.

The Buck Creek Wildlife Area is located northwest of Lawrence. From Midland Junction on US 24, travel north on Wellman Road, turn west on 27th Street to Buck Creek.

The Buck Creek Wildlife Area is located northwest of Lawrence. From Midland Junction on US 24, travel north on Wellman Road, turn west on 27th Street to Buck Creek.

The Buck Creek Wildlife Area was created from three conservation easements held by the Kansas Land Trust preserving 836 acres into perpetuity.

The Buck Creek Wildlife Area was created from three conservation easements held by the Kansas Land Trust preserving 836 acres into perpetuity.


A Shout Out to Ashton

A big thank you to Ashton Martin, KLT's Conservation Project Manager, for helping KLT improve our social media outreach, enriching our mapping and documentation, and always bringing focused energy to our work. We wish Ashton the best in his future endeavors!


Over the past 25 years the Kansas Land Trust has worked with conservationists to preserve the land we love. Your continuing support enables us to protect in perpetuity over 24,000 acres in fifteen counties.

Jerry Jost
Interim Executive Director
Kansas Land Trust

June 2015 Newsletter


Akin Prairie Walk Saturday

Please join us at the Akin Prairie this Saturday, June 6, starting at 10 AM. Kelly Kindscher will lead this prairie flower walk from 10 AM - Noon. The Akin Prairie southeast of Lawrence was the first prairie conserved by the Kansas Land Trust. If you have any questions, please contact Jerry Jost at jjost@klt.org
 
Directions: Traveling on K-10 east of Lawrence, go two miles south on East 1900 Road, and 0.4 mile west on North 1150 Road. The location is 1850 North 1150 Road.


Conservation Challenge!

KLT friends and supporters, here’s your chance to double your impact on land conservation in Kansas!   KLT has received a $5,000 challenge pledge – a group of great conservation enthusiasts will match donations, up to a total of $5,000, if they are made to KLT by June 20.  So join the challenge by making a donation to KLT by June 20, and your gift will be matched, up to a total of $5,000. Contribute today to take advantage of the generosity of others. Visit our website to donate online, or send your donation, postmarked no later than June 20, to Kansas Land Trust, 16 E. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.  Working together we can save the beautiful places and open spaces that we all love! 


An Appeal to All

"We never should miss an opportunity to aid in preserving the Tallgrass prairie." - Dr. Nathan Bolls, Emeritus Professor of Biology, proud new member of the Kansas Land Trust.


Many Thanks to Ginny

KLT gives a big thank you to Ginny Moore for leading and serving the Kansas Land Trust the past four years as our executive director. Ginny wisely navigated KLT through new funder partnerships and launched a series of significant conservation projects some of which are still in development. Continuing to work with KLT as a consultant, Ginny will help KLT preserve in perpetuity more scenic Flint Hills properties.  


Notes on Nature                     

Milkweeds serve a valuable role in our world. The Isleta, a Pueblo tribe, treated inflammation from colds and sinus infections with ground leaf and stem of broadleaf milkweeds. This plant has some of the largest leaves of any shortgrass prairie plant. With growing concern about Monarch populations, milkweeds are an important food source for Monarch larvae.