May 1, 2002

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Contact: Brad Kemp, Natural History Museum, (785) 864-2344; Berry Clemens, Kansas Biological Survey, (785) 864-4908.

KU to dedicate new nature reserve with wildflower walk, reception

LAWRENCE -- The Hall Nature Reserve, a 116-acre parcel of land intended for conservation and restoration research on native habitats, will be dedicated at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5. A public reception will precede a wildflower walk led by Kelly Kindscher, a Kansas Biological Survey scientist and expert on prairie ecosystems and conservation.

The Hall Nature Reserve was created by a gift in 1999 from H.H. "Hub" Hall and Kathleen McBride Hall, who acquired the land near their residence in rural Lecompton to protect it from development and preserve the largely pristine habitats found on it. The gift to the University of Kansas Endowment Association, for the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, was added to the KU Field Station and Ecological Reserves, a network of ecological reserves administered by the Kansas Biological Survey at KU.

The reserve is on uplands about a mile south of the Kansas River, northwest of Lawrence. The property is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, including native grasses; hickory, ash, elm and oak trees; wild turkeys, deer, foxes, coyotes and owls; and dozens of other species of birds and reptiles. Research and teaching activities at the reserve will focus on conservation and restoration of the native habitats that sustain this complex biodiversity.

"The Hall Nature Reserve, by virtue of its unique habitats, provides an excellent arena for long-term biodiversity and ecological research and education to students and faculty at KU and other institutions," said Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center. "Also, the museum and the biological survey will be able to expand their educational activities for K through 12 students in Lawrence and the region about the richness of plants and animals in the Hall reserve and their importance to the environment."

The Hall Nature Reserve is one of eight tracts of land (amounting to nearly 1,800 acres) in the KU Field Station and Ecological Reserves, whose mission is to foster scholarly research, environmental education and science-based stewardship of natural resources. Some of these tracts are available for experimental manipulation and ecological research. Other areas, including the Hall reserve, are protected from disturbance and manipulation. These protected areas provide opportunities to study rare species, imperiled natural ecosystems and ecological processes in natural settings -- studies that can serve as baselines for comparisons with manipulated areas.

"The Hall Nature Reserve is an important addition to the KU reserves," said Edward A. Martinko, director of the reserves and of the Kansas Biological Survey. "The area contains small acreages of high-quality tallgrass prairie as well as woodlands with both successional species and mature trees. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the conservation of these valuable habitats."

E. Raymond Hall, Hub Hall's father, led the effort to establish the KU reserves beginning in the 1940s and was director of the KU Natural History Museum from 1944 to 1967. Hub Hall is a member and former chair of the museum and research center's advisory board.

Martinko, Krishtalka and Hall will speak briefly at the dedication before Kindscher leads the wildflower walk. Visitors who plan to join the walk are advised to wear sturdy shoes, insect repellent and sunscreen.

Directions to the Hall Nature Reserve follow. In the event of rain, the dedication and wildflower walk will be postponed.

Directions from Lawrence to the Hall Nature Reserve

The driving time from central Lawrence to the Hall Nature Reserve is about 20 minutes.

Begin by traveling north on Kasold Drive out of Lawrence.

At Douglas County Road 438 (also called N 1800 Road), turn left (west).

After about 3 miles, turn right (north) on E 900 Road, a gravel road.

After about half a mile, bear left to travel west on N 1850 Road for half a mile.

At E 850 Road, turn right (north).

At N 1909 Road (about a mile), turn left (west); follow the road up the hill to N 1917 Road, which is the entrance to the reserve.

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