Friday, November 22, 2013

A Pocket Guide to Kansas Red Hills Wildflowers

Its here...finally!  Yes, the brand new pocket guide of the beautiful Red Hills wildflowers is now available. The Red Hills of Kansas exists in all or some of about 8 counties of south-central Kansas.  A land of rolling prairies and red dirt from the iron content, it boasts many scenic vistas accentuated by outcrops of gypsum rock therefore exemplifying its alternative name, the Gyp Hills.  The 60 species selected for this guide were considered excellent representatives for the area and, with some, it is about the only place in the state where they occur.  
Species are arranged by color and then general blooming months. Descriptions are in lay terms for easy understanding.   Interesting facts and anecdotes are included about special characteristics of each plant.  Here's a sampling:

The booklet was authored by Phyllis Scherich, Chris Berens and Carl Jarboe as well as myself. All experts in the flora of the Red Hills, these dedicated folks not only put their heart and soul into the effort but their experience and personal insights.  A number of editors offered invaluable services and most notably, Bob Gress.  As retired Director of the Great Plains Nature Center, Bob graciously offered his editorial and production expertise since he had been involved in 10 previous pocket guides as well as countless other publications, posters, articles and events.  Thanks to all who made this possible including Lorrie Beck of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who oversaw the whole effort.  A primary purpose of the guide is to elevate the interest in this enchanted land called the Red Hills. 

Ten-petal Mentzelia (Chalk Lily) is a great, showy representative of the Red Hills.
Published by Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center, the guide is available free at the nature center at 6232 E. 29th Street North, Wichita, Kansas 67220.  For $3, one can be mailed to you.  The guide was produced through the financial contributions of the Chickadee Checkoff of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, The Nature Conservancy in Kansas, Westar Energy Green Team, and the Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation.  Additional contributors to the project through editing or photography include Larry Miller, Kyle Gerstner, Scott Sharp, Craig Freeman, and Jim Mason.  Thanks to all and the Kansas Native Plant Society for your assistance.  

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