Pottawattamie County Conservation is excited to host Kelly Kindscher, University of Kansas professor as our final guest of the 2017 Speaker Series. He is best known as a passionate advocate for native plants, native landscapes and wild places. His research is focused on native prairies, prairie plants and plant communities. He is a conservationist, teacher, mentor and environmental problem solver, and the author of books on edible and medicinal plants.Today, his primary responsibilities are as a plant ecologist for the Kansas Biological Survey, where he conducts research on plant communities throughout Kansas, the Midwest, and the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states; and in the Environmental Studies Program, where he furthers his research agenda, mentors students and has taught a variety of classes, including Ethnobotany and the program’s Capstone course, formerly known as Environmental Impact Assessment.
Get to know this multi-talented speaker and prepare for his upcoming presentation, “Wild Edibles” coming up on October 14th at 4:00 p.m. This event is free with paid park admission & will be held at the Loess Hills Lodge. Click here for more information. Following the presentation attendees are invited to join us for a reception featuring locally produced foods and a chance to meet and interact with our speaker. Occasionally our speakers will be holding book signings with copies of their works available for purchase.
Launched this summer, the 2017 Speaker Series is a new programming series designed for teens and adults to provide them with an opportunity to learn from and interact with various authorities in the fields of conservation and environmental science. Programs are free with paid park admission and will be held at Hitchcock Nature Center on the second Saturday of the month, May through October. Each program will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will last approximately 1 hour. After the presentation attendees may enjoy conversation with the presenter, a book signing, and refreshments provided by local vendors. Space is limited at these events and refreshments are served so we ask that you pre-register and reserve your spot in advance. Click here to register online in minutes or give us a call at 712-328-5834.
In preparation for our October 14th event, Pottawattamie County Conservation’s Kristen Bieret sat down with Kelly to discuss his background, inspiration, and his upcoming talk at Hitchcock Nature Center.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am a product of the prairies and plains, growing up in Kansas and Nebraska, always interested in nature and influenced greatly by growing up on the Kindscher homesteaded farm, settled in 1871, near Guide Rock, NE. I learned some plants from my father, but it was as an undergraduate at the University of Kansas that my interest in native wild plants took off. And ever since then, native plants, edible and medicinal plants have been an important part of my life, both professionally and personally.
What sparked your interest in the natural world?
Learning the names of native plants, especially wildflowers, learning Native American lore about them, and spending time in nature. As a 23 year old, a friend and me embarked upon a Trans-Prairie walk and took the summer hiking along unpaved county roads and cross country from Kansas City across the prairie and plains to the Rockies, southwest of Denver.
You are presenting at the speaker series coming up on October 14th what are some highlights we can expect at your presentation?
Pretty pictures, stories, and some of the wonders on our native medicinal plants.
You are a professor at the University of Kansas what is your favorite part of being a teacher?
Having students learn and appreciate the wonders of our native plants
On a final note if you’d like to share any suggested books or publications if the participants are interested in learning more prior the event in October?