• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals

    Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »

  • Handicap Parking Available at Visitor Center

    For the next several months, the handicap parking area by the barn is closed until the barn construction project is complete. Handicap parking is available at the Visitor Center.

Going Green at the Preserve

recycling station

Recycling Station at the Preserve

Recycling at the Preserve -

The preserve is actively "going green" by purchasing and using 100% recycled paper, re-fillable ink cartridges, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. We also recycle paper, plastic, aluminum cans, glass, and cardboard.

Our visitors can help us (and the environment) by actively recycling glass, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper, and batteries. The preserve has recycling bins available in the bottom parking lot, inside the historic barn, and on the back porch of the ranch house. This image shows one of the recycling stations at the preserve.

Every year parks report on the amount of trash being recycled or diverted (composted). In 2012 the preserve built its new visitor center and moved offices and storage space out of the historic buildings. Moving and construction often generates a great deal of waste. For the preserve, the construction generated waste was not part of the report, because the contractor was responsible for its own waste removal.

Report Findings for Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
For 2012, recycled waste at the preserve was 2.678 tons with 34.88% being diverted or composted. For this example, composting directly correlates to not bagging mowed grass clippings, thus diverting waste being hauled to the landfill. Regular trash including staff and visitor used trash cans and dumpster was five tons. The more we and our visitors recycle, the lower this number will be, directly relating to fewer tons being hauled to the landfill.

The preserve recycled for 2012:

  • 20 lbs of aluminum
  • 372 lbs. of cardboard
  • 24 lbs glass
  • 1040 lbs mixed paper
  • 36 lbs newspaper
  • 88 lbs. plastic
  • 1460 lbs scrap metal
  • 14 lbs. steel cans
  • 2 lbs. toner cartridges
  • 1.150 tons of horse manure was recycled
 
battery recycling container

Battery recycling unit.

When visiting the preserve, feel free to recycle your camera batteries in one of these brown containers located within the buildings.

 

Recycling Factoids

· By recycling ONE aluminum can, you will have saved enough electricity to run your TV for three hours.

· Most plastic containers have the recycling symbol with a number indicating the grade of plastic on the bottom of the container.

· Glass such as window pane, windshield, kitchen glass, light bulbs, and cooking dishes are not generally recycled because they melt at a much higher temp.

· Recycled glass is added to highway striping for greater visibility.

· Cardboard is used to make the cover over sheetrock in your home.

· Newspaper can be used as blow-in insulation for your home.

· The three "R's" associated with recycling are: REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE

How Else Can I Help?

· Think about what you buy and what processes are used to create the packaging. Ask yourself, "If I purchase this food item, can I recycle the container?"

· Is there a great deal of waste or harm to the environment associated with the creation of this paper towel or coffee filter?Is it better to purchase "un-bleached" paper towels and coffee filters?

· Take your own cloth bags to the grocery store, rather than using plastic bags.

· Can I purchase nice clothing at a local thrift store and help recycle this clothing?

· Once your clothing is beyond repair, can I still cut it up into scraps for use in a quilt or rug? Or do I know of someone who can benefit from these scraps (if you aren't crafty)?

· Do I really need all of these clothes? Can I donate them to a local charity or thrift store?

· Do I actively recycle my trash? Once you start, you will probably notice a 50% reduction in the amount of trash you take to the curb.

· Does my community have a recycling center?

· Can I volunteer my time to local recycling or charitable organizations?

· Can I teach others about the importance of recycling?

· Do I turn off lights or the TV when not being used?

· Where do I take batteries, used oil, light bulbs, paint, chemicals, pills, and other hazardous waste for recycling? These items should never be placed in our trash and taken to the landfill.


As you can see, there are many things you can do to help make a difference in your own backyard. It simply takes a commitment on your part to help make the world a better (and cleaner) place for now and the future. Once you start recycling, you will be amazed at how differently you look at the world. You CAN make a difference; just recycle that CAN.

Did You Know?

Aerial photo of the Flint Hills at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Kansas was once the bed of a vast inland sea. The unique, stairstep landscape of the Flint Hills was formed through a process of differential erosion. Erosion washed away the soft shale layers and left the tougher layers of limestone and flint to form the hilltops and prominent benches.