The prairie ecosystem has dominated the Great Plains and Midwestern landscape for nearly 10,000 years. Development and agriculture in the last 100 years have destroyed all but 4% of this original area and a majority of what remains is in Kansas.
Kansas has the unique opportunity to study, manage, and restore these blueprint prairies. In doing so, we can conserve a rich legacy that is part of our natural and cultural history. From 2004 to 2010, Dyck Aboretum of the Plains identified more than 100 South Central Kansas prairie remnants, inventoried many of their flora lists, and studied their bird and butterfly species. From the most diverse of these blueprint prairies, we collected local-ecotype seed of grasses, sedges and wildflowers, and planted prairie at Dyck Arboretum to serve as a learning laboratory and refuge for genetic seed diversity.