The Tallgrass Prairie of the Flint Hills of Kansas

July 1st, 1998 - June 30th, 2001 | PROJECT

Kansas State University is producing a two-hour television documentary on the Tallgrass Prairie of the Flint Hills of Kansas, the last remnant of what was once the largest biome in North America. This area has survived only because its rocky soil was too much of a match for the farmer's plow. New scientific research is now beginning to ascertain just how valuable grasslands are to humankind: their salutary role in global climatology and how they provide laboratories for study of soils, species interactions, biodiversity, and ecological processes. A significant amount of this research as been conducted for more than twenty years at the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, the longest continuous Long-Term Ecological Research site of the National Science Foundation. The scientific data that have been compiled at Konza will form the backbone of the film's content as it examines: the geological and human history of the Tallgrass Prairie, especially the displacement of the bison and the introduction of European cattle and row crop farming; the contemporary culture and economy of the Flint Hills regions which the prairie has formed; and the ecological impact of various approaches to range management, as well as various scientific and social aspects of the debate over how to glean as much value as possible from the grasslands while preserving them for future generations. The PI for the project will be David Hartnett, Professor of Biology and Director of Konza Prairie Research Natural Area. The film will be co-produced by Aimee Larrabee, an independent filmmaker who has co-produced several award-winning documentaries with the BBC, and John Altman, an independent filmmaker who has produced for PBS, A&E, Bravo, and the Discovery Channel. The 19 member advisory committee will be lead by Dr. Hartnett and by Alan Knapp, Project Director of the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area LTER program and Professor Biology at Kansas State University, and John Blair, Associate Professor of Biology at Kansas State University and nationally recognized leader in the field of soil ecology and grassland nutrient dynamics.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

David Hartnett, Principal Investigator, Kansas State University
Alan Knapp, Co-Principal Investigator, Kansas State University
John Altman, Co-Principal Investigator
John Blair, Co-Principal Investigator, Kansas State University
Aimee Larrabee, Co-Principal Investigator


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9804328
Funding Amount: 383780


Audience: General Public
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Geoscience and geography | History | policy | law | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology