University of Kansas Field Station


Headquarters area

Laboratories and classrooms, gardening areas, a workshop and support buildings, experimental ponds, and visitor cabins are located at the Field Station headquarters. These centrally-located facilities support research and teaching on the surrounding lands.

Armitage Education Center

The Center provides a venue for courses, workshops, lectures, and special events. A 600-sq. ft. classroom/lecture hall with adjacent gathering area and kitchen facilities accomodates a variety of events.


Two dedicated classrooms are available for courses, workshops, and special events. The larger room is 600 sq. ft. and accommodates 35-50 people depending on the configuration.


Five laboratory rooms are available: two accommodate wet chemistry (with fume hoods and chemical benches), and the remainder are general purpose workrooms. Specialized facilities include a small animal care/holding unit, and a specially-designed 1200-sq. ft. laboratory for aquatic research with a flow-through water supply from the experimental pond facility.


Small sleeping cabins are available to visiting researchers. Kitchen, shower, and laundry facilities are provided in the nearby laboratory complex.

Lath house/plant care facilities

A 600 sq. ft. lath house, completely covered with 0.5-in. mesh screen, supports plant research and provides a protected location for other kinds of research.

Gardening areas

Ample irrigated "gardening" areas at the headquarters facilitate diverse experiments.

Workshop and staging

A well-equipped, 1800 sq. ft. maintenance shop is available for researchers to build, modify, and repair field equipment. Two barns (5000 sq. ft. total) provide enclosed space for assembling components of field projects such as equipment, cages, and other test systems.


Equipment housed at the field station—tractors, mowers, loaders, water haulers, off-road vehicles, fire rigs—is used to implement and maintain research projects.

Land for experimental manipulation

Large parcels of land for experimental manipulation are a strong feature of the KU Field Station. A variety of habitats are available to scientists (see habitats for more information.)

Weather station

A new weather station provides comprehensive data in support of research.

NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network)

The KU Field Station is a satellite site for NEON; Konza Prairie, a site managed by Kansas State University, is the core site for the Prairie Peninsula Domain. A "relocatable tower" equipped with various sensors for environmental monitoring will be installed at the Field Station and the data from this site, and all NEON sites, will be freely available to users. For more on NEON, visit

Experimental ponds

The pond array has 100 ponds in total (including 75, 0.1 ha cells) and several specially-constructed components. The design facilitates incorporating new research capabilities such as experimental streams or land-water interface systems.

Mesocosm tanks

Eighty of these mesocosms (10m3 fiberglass tanks) provide research in highly controlled field settings.

Cross Reservoir

This 3-ha, 13-m deep impoundment, within a protected watershed, has unusually high water clarity for the region and undergoes strong thermal stratification.

Geohydrology Environmental Monitoring Site (GEMS)

Developed by scientists at the Kansas Geological Survey, this facility is dedicated to developing methods for evaluating and modeling aquifers; it also supports course and workshop offerings.

Habitat Fragmentation Facility

This facility was established in 1984 to study the interplay of secondary succession and habitat fragmentation on population and community dynamics. "Islands" of three sizes (72, 288, and 5000 m2) are maintained by mowing the interstitial area. Click here for a bibliography of research from the facility.

Rockefeller Prairie Experiment

This prairie restoration was initiated in 1957 when fields were sown to a mixture of four prairie grasses. In 1962, tracts were assigned to one of four treatments: burning, mowing, grazing, or untreated. This is now one of the longer running restorations in the region. Click here for two relevant publications.

Fitch Natural History Reservation

This 239-ha former farm was abandoned from agriculture in 1948. Secondary succession on former pastures, corn fields, and woodlands has proceeded undisturbed for more than 60 years. The site is particularly well-suited for studies of land use history. Note the woody plant invasion in a former livestock pasture in photos taken from near the same place in 1948 and 2000. Click here for more details.

Nature trails

An 8 km (5 mile) series of nature trails has been developed to facilitate teaching and to provide educational opportunities for the public. Click here for trail map.