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Natural Systems


Create K-12 Educational Curriculum about the Flint Hills Ecosystem

Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council for more information about creating K-12 educational curriculum about the Flint Hills Ecosystem

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Tool Information


  1. Awareness
  2. Youth
  3. Education


Many citizens are unaware of their own location within the Flint Hills. Providing citizens and students a better understanding of their place within the Flint Hills and the importance of the grasslands to the world can create a connection and help each of us to become a larger part of the Flint Hills. Regional educational partners, from the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Kansas State and Emporia State and local USDs could serve as regional facilitators for building educational curriculum modules that follow the 'flows' of the grasslands in serving the world, through cultural, social and natural systems, bringing food systems and rural economics into every classroom and cultural center in the Flint Hills.


Fundamental to understanding how to best live, work, and play in the Flint Hills is understanding how its natural forces function -- soils, water, wind, and wildlife.  Raising awareness of these forces and how they operate and interact will help us all to make the best possible land use decisions. In a survey of our nation's youth, geographic knowledge of where they live and their place in the world is a record lows. An educational system that incorporates place-based systems will prepare students to become more knowledgeable citizens for the future.

Additional Information



Implementation Strategy

Champions and Partners


Medium (3-8 years)



Cost Details

Many resources exist across the Flint Hills, but a well crafted series of educational modules that makes a substantial effort would require extensive research, cooperation, and commitment.

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

  1. Get buy-in from schools and educational partners
  2. Track down all relevant maps, and create maps where none exist.
  3. Find funding sources to create and distribute the maps to all public and private schools in the Flint Hills region showing an outline of the FH, location of the school w/i that outline, and age-appropriate descriptors of the region and what makes the FH special.
  4. Identify volunteers to create lesson plans that work with maps and that tie in to educational standards for science and geography. Offer a lesson plan template (curriculum outline)

Case Study

Youth Education

The Flint Hills Discovery Center already offers a number of educational opportunities for the youth in our community.

  • Adventure Camp: The Flint Hills Discovery Center has this program year-round. Adventurers learn about plants and animals from their own backyard and have the chance to travel back in time to explore the history, geology and fossils that make their home a special place.

    There is a maximum of 24 participants per session. Enrollment is taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  Options include half-day and full-day sessions.

  • Preschoolers in the Flint Hills (ages 4-5):

Preschool-age children begin discovering the wonder of the Flint Hills where they live, but look beyond the city limits in their exploration. Children further their sense of place and belonging to this region through interactions with the ecology and the history of the area.

Example Classes:
     Tuesday, June 3 - Herbs of the World
     Tuesday, June 10 - All Aboard

     Tuesday, June 17 - Round Them Up
     Tuesday, June 24 - Ice Age Fossils
     Tuesday, July 15 - Ice Age Mega Fauna
     Tuesday, July 22 - Animals Dances

Footsteps in the Flint Hills (ages 6-8): Children explore the Flint Hills through a collection of guided experiences that examine wildlife and culture through time; examine the unique adaptations that make the Flint Hills a perfect place for many animals; and engage in activities related to the tools, weapons and customs prevalent throughout the region, from 16,000 years ago through present day. Each week kids explore a different aspect important to the Flint Hills.



This case study illustrates that many organizations, such as the Flint Hills Discovery Center, have already made forays into tool development.  Additional work would create educational partnerships that would develop the strategies and logistics that would provide maps and materials that leverage the benefits of these grasslands to the economies and ecology of the world.

Flint Hills Discovery Center