Protecting the prairie: How the Nature Conservancy is helping preserve what’s left

Local News

ALMA, Kan. (KSNT) – Northeast Kansas is no stranger to the tallgrass prairie. However, a vast majority has been plowed over and developed.

Out of the 170 million acres that once covered North America, less than four percent remains. A majority of that is the Flint Hills.

The Nature Conservancy is dedicated to preserving it for future generations.

“It’s the last expression of tallgrass prairie anywhere,” said Director of Protection & Stewardship Brian Obermeyer. “It’s what’s left of the once expansive tallgrass prairie ecosystem.”

But they can’t protect it all by themselves. Local landowners play a huge role in their conservation effort.

“The Nature Conservancy is about creating conditions where people and nature both do very well, both thrive,” said State Director Rob Manes.

Landowners like Patty Reece allow their land to be conservation easements.

“After we learned about the conservancy and we had learned about their land conservation easements, we became interested,” said Reece. “We had just purchased these two properties and we wanted them to always remain the same.”

Both are committed to maintaining native plant diversity and enhancing the wildlife habitat.

“If they need technical assistance, they need information, if they need on the ground assistance, our job is to find private landowners who are striving to improve their stewardship of the land and work with them on that in whichever realm they need,” said Manes.

In addition to working with landowners, they also work with people in the community and get them involved with restoration efforts.

“Creating some pollinator plots to enhance the opportunities for pollinators, woody encroachment or tree removal projects, those are just some examples of the projects you can get involved in,” said Obermeyer.

Through conservation and restoration, the Nature Conservancy hopes to inspire future generations to do the same.

To find out more about how you can help support the Nature Conservancy or learn more about the work they do, click here.

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