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Bethel College is situated within the Great Plains of North America, a rare and endangered ecosystem. Bethel’s Department of Biology manages several native prairie and prairie restoration sites on and close to campus.

Assist with ongoing research or do original research in these areas, as many students before you have done.
On campus:
  • Kauffman Museum prairie restoration
  • Kingsbury Prairie – tallgrass prairie restoration; oak woodland restoration
  • Sand Creek Trail – a public walking trail that also offers an unusual riparian habitat (creek and woodland) within the prairie ecosystem
Near campus:
  • Sand Prairie Natural History Preserve – a rare area of prairie (80 acres) on ancient sand deposits in western Harvey County
  • Broadie Prairie Preserve – 80 acres in Cowley County, about an hour southeast of campus and within the Flint Hills, the largest expanse of original tallgrass prairie left on the continent
Just a few of the research projects conducted (some still ongoing) in these areas over the past few years:
  • at Kingsbury Prairie, comparison of natural successional processes using “assisted” succession in plots of young bur oak trees, testing whether the presence of these oak saplings will increase density and diversity of woody plant colonists
  • at Kingsbury Prairie, examination of the role of plant diversity in promoting the successful establishment of tallgrass prairie
  • at Kingsbury Prairie and Kauffman Museum, a study of the effects of fire/absence of fire – which has been a natural phenomenon for millennia – on different plant and animal species
  • on Sand Creek Trail, the effects on native plant and animal populations of an invasive species of honeysuckle

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.