Tallgrass Prairie

Patrick Emerson, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued safety tips and a smoke modeling tool for this seasons controlled burns in the Flint Hills.

Controlled or prescribed burns in the Flint Hills are used every year to clear out invasive species, cut down the probabilities of wildfires and encourage the Tallgrass prairie to thrive.

Over 2.3 million acres are burned in Kansas and Oklahoma yearly.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The agency looks after more than 400 protected sites across the country, including Kansas’ Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Tucked into the Flint Hills near Strong City, it too will celebrate an anniversary in 2016.

KMUW’s Sean Sandefur drove an hour north of Wichita to the 11,000-acre preserve to learn about its history and its future.

Kenneth Spencer / Flickr

The Tallgrass Prairie national preserve tomorrow will hold their 4th annual Marvin Schwilling Memorial Butterfly Count to assess the health of the prairie.

Volunteers are invited to help count butterflies alongside experts in the tall grasses of the Flint Hills.

The yearly count is named after the late biologist and naturalist Marvin Schwilling, who worked for Kansas Wildlife and Parks for 37 years.

By counting the butterflies, experts are able to assess the health of the butterfly population and the Tallgrass prairie.