Not many people are lucky enough to see history being recreated before their eyes. Now Bethel students will get the chance--and some will even have the opportunity to participate.
Professor of biology Jon K. Piper has more than two decades’ experience in prairie conservation and restoration, first at The Land Institute in Salina and more recently at Bethel. For some time, he says, he has had his eye on about 10 acres of campus property directly east of the Warkentin Court and Voth Hall student residences.
There is already a very small experimental planting plot sandwiched between a baseball diamond and corn planted by a local farmer who leases most of the land for that purpose. Jon would like to see the whole area (all but the ball field and mud volleyball court), which also includes some creekside woodland, turned into a restoration project.
Through the Lawrence-based Kansas Land Trust, Jon learned about the Kingsbury Family Foundation, a private foundation with particular interest in projects aimed at protecting the natural resources of the Great Plains, especially plant and animal habitat. He wrote a proposal to the foundation that he titled “Studies on the Restoration of Two Indigenous Kansas Ecosystems: Oak Woodland and Tallgrass Prairie.” In early July, he learned that his proposal had been accepted and would be receiving $23,782 from the foundation.