"We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive."
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, established November 12, 1996, is the only unit of the National Park System dedicated to the rich natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. This 10,894 acre portion of the once vast tallgrass prairie is being preserved as a critical resource for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of this and future generations. It is a unique private/public partnership between the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy.
Read More About Heartland Network Monitoring on the Preserve
Learn About Recent Natural Resource Issues
White Nose Bat Syndrome : the bat-killing fungus spreading across North America.
Bison Fact Sheet - (280 KB)
A SEA OF GRASS
Tallgrass prairie once covered more than 170 million acres of the United States, from Indiana to Kansas and from Canada to Texas. Nearly all of it is gone, plowed under for agriculture or urban development. An ancient past survives in the irreplaceable Flint Hills tallgrass, but just as it was then, it takes all season for the grasses to reach their maximum heights. The phrase "Tall in the Fall" is one to remember when visiting the preserve. Like everything in nature, they start out small. By late September, early October the grasses have reached their limits and have turned a golden brown.
In prehistory, what is now a sea of grass was once a shallow sea of water. Between 200 and 300 million years ago, the gray and white limestone and steel tough chert, commonly called "flint," began to form from this Permian Sea floor and with it the famous Flint Hills geology. The result was shallow, rocky land considered unsuitable for plowing but excellent for pasture. The natural prairie cycle of weather, fires, and animal grazing -- once bison, now cattle -- has sustained the tallgrass prairie and its diverse plant and animal species ever since.
Save the Monarch Migration One Butterfly at a Time
Monarch butterfly numbers are at an all-time low and many pollinators are declining as well. The widespread planting of heribicide tolerant corn and soybean lines, intensive farming, and the ethanol mandate have led to a rapid loss of habitats for monarchs, many species of bees, and other pollinators. This loss of habitat threatens the monarch migration and all the species dependent on the services of pollinators to provide the fruits, nuts, seeds, and foliage they feed on.
Monarchs and pollinators need our help. By planting milkweeds - the host plants for monarch caterpillars - and nectar plants for adult monarchs and pollinators, you can help maintain the monarch migration and sustain the pollinators whose pollinating services maintain our ecosystems.
For more information and to learn what you can do to help Bring Back the Monarchs program, please visit MonarchWatch.org. You can even build a Monarch Waystation in your backyard.
* Did you know that over 70% of our native plants and more than 30% of our crops are pollinated by insects?
Experience the once vast prairie through hiking trails and prairie tours.