University of Kansas Field Station
First Governor of Kansas donates land
The University of Kansas Field Station got its start in 1947 when Professor E. Raymond Hall, director of the KU Natural History Museum, led an effort to secure an area where the university could conduct ecological research and teaching. The 239-ha (590-acre) site chosen for this purpose was already under university control; it was a former farm of Dr. Charles Robinson, first governor of Kansas, which was donated to the university by Robinson and his wife, Sara, following her death in 1911. The new area was named the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation, and Dr. Henry S. Fitch was appointed as its first naturalist in 1948.
First Half-Century . . .
The University of Kansas Field Station has served a prominent role in environmental activities since 1947. This memorial publication celebrates the first half-century of the station with historical overviews, as well as synopses of research, education, and conservation initiatives. Please explore our 50-year report.
Henry Sheldon Fitch (1909-2009)
In 1948, Henry S. Fitch was appointed as naturalist of the newly-created Natural History Reservation--this was the beginning of the University of Kansas Field Station. Dr. Fitch conducted pioneering ecological studies at the site for six decades and provided educational opportunities for thousands of visitors. The reservation was dedicated as the Fitch Natural History Reservation in 1986 in honor of Dr. Fitch and his family. Henry's contributions to science, teaching, and conservation are enormous, as is his legacy of good will, determination, and compassion. For some wonderful accounts about this amazing man, please consult these articles:
- "How one man, living for a half century on one square mile of Kansas, made natural history." By Steven Hill, Kansas Alumni Magazine
- "Historical Perspectives: Henry S. Fitch as told to Alice Fitch Echelle." Published in the scientific journal, Copeia.
- "Henry S. Fitch (1909-2009): Field Notes on a Wonderful Life," by friends and colleagues as published in Herpetological Review.