Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research Site

Sunday 7:00am-4:00pm Konza Prairie LTER Site


Gwen Macpherson, University of Kansas Main Campus
Tony Walton, University of Kansas Main Campus
Doug Walker, University of Kansas Main Campus

Integrating Data Collection and Storage Mobile Device Applications into Transdisciplinary Field Experiences

The internet and personal devices are revolutionizing field geology for both public outreach and education as well as research. Second or third generation applications are now available that allow tracking of location, mapping of contacts and attitudes of features, recording of observations and photographs, and accessing online data sets. Participants in this field trip will learn ways to use phone or tablet apps can be used for educational fieldtrips as well as general travel by air, car or foot. Read more...

Field trip attendees will leave at 7:00 AM on Sunday, July 15, 2018, return around 3:30 PM. Low exertion. Guidebook, transportation, box lunch, and beverages provided.


  • Departure: 7:00 a.m.
  • Return: 3:30 p.m.
  • How to prepare: Wear comfortable hot-weather clothing, hiking footwear, and a hat. Bring a daypack for lunch (provided) and water, sunscreen, a rain coat, and a camera (the scenery is spectacular). After a four hour drive, with stops along the way, to the fieldtrip site, participants walk throughout the day and away from vehicles and water. Temperatures could reach 95oF (35oC) and afternoon thunderstorms are possible.
  • Total hiking distance and elevation:
  • Releases: All participants will need to sign liability releases.


Location: Konza Prairie LTER Site, Kansas; ~85 miles (137 km) west of Lawrence.

Located in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, the Konza Paririe LTER site is a 3,487-hectare native tallgrass prairie research station owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University(from the Konza Prairie LTER website).

Rocks of northeastern Kansas record Carboniferous and Permian effects of glacioeustatic changes of sea level on a foreland shelf in gently dipping strata. The modern landscape has been shaped by local and far-field effects of Pleistocene glaciation. The field trip route partly follows one branch of the Oregon Trail, and Lawrence, where the trip begins, was the site of early conflicts that led to the Civil War. The last stop before returning to Lawrence is the 35 km2 Konza Prairie LTER and NEON site. At this site are long-term (minimum of 28 years) data sets demonstrating both annual cycles and secular trends of the local hydrologic and hydrogeologic systems and climate. The experimental design of the Konza Prairie is to study watershed-level responses to different levels of grazing (bison, cattle, none) and controlled burning (season and frequency), in light of the resiliency of the tallgrass prairie, the responses of the hydrology, and the consequences to landscape evolution.

The trip will emphasize both use of mobile device apps in field geology and the influences of the geologic setting on the wider world.


Participants in this field trip will learn ways to use phone or tablet apps such as StraboSpot, recently updated to include stratigraphy, to provide background information (maps, measured sections), record observations (images, measurements), and integrate online data sets (stream discharge, water chemistry). A complementary app, Flyover Country, provides generalized geologic maps and access to field guides and various datasets useful for educational fieldtrips as well as general travel by air, car or foot.

Demonstration of technology as a data collection and integration tool using examples of classic geology that underpin modern, critical-zone perspective, while demonstrating the kinds of data available from most Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites, and Critical Zone Observatories. In addition, where appropriate, leaders will describe how geological background has influenced historical and cultural development.


A guide book will be provided to field trip participants.

The trip will begin in Lawrence, Kansas, and stop there, along I-70, and at sites just off the Interstate. Konza Prairie is about 80 miles to the west. Departure will be at 7:00 AM and the plan is to return by 3:00 or 3:30 PM.

Cost and Registration

The field trip is limited to 40 participants, and you can register when registering for the Rendezvous. If you already registered without the field trip selected but would like to participate, please email kherbstr at carleton dot edu. Cost is $60 and includes transportation and a box lunch.