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GHF History

Grassland Heritage Foundation (GHF) was founded in 1975 with the dual mission of preserving prairies and increasing public awareness of our prairie heritage.

Operating primarily in northeast Kansas, GHF's early projects included the Konza Fence Project, a traveling trunk for the Kansas State Historical Society, native landscaping at Kansas City International Airport, and management of the native prairie at Melvern Reservoir.

In 1983, GHF acquired title to The Prairie Center in Olathe, Kansas, a 300-acre park containing 45 acres of virgin prairie. GHF began a campaign to insure permanent protection of The Prairie Center for public recreation and natural heritage education. Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the property was conveyed to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) in 1990.

From 1990 through 1996, GHF continued to manage The Prairie Center as a public service. GHF sponsored an on-site land manager, and GHF's "Groundhogs" land management volunteers began to meet monthly to conduct resource protection projects.

At the end of 1996, The Prairie Center came under the jurisdiction of the Wildlife Education Services division of KDWP and management responsibilities transferred to the State of Kansas. GHF continues to maintain a presence at The Prairie Center by retaining and managing the 2.6 acre Roulund-Wagner Prairie contiguous to the state property.

In 1994, GHF accepted the donation of the Snyder Prairie near Mayetta, Kansas. Since then, the Groundhogs prairie maintenance efforts have focused on protecting the site's native prairie by removing weedy and woody invasive vegetation.

GHF has provided educational activities in the Greater Kansas City and northeast Kansas area which include Rolling Prairie Learning Lab family education events, awarding the Rachel Snyder Scholarship, prairie walks, lectures, social events, and quarterly publication of the GHF Newsletter. Special events have included environmental art projects with artist Daniel Dancer and prairie visits with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

In 2018, GHF purchased a 17.7 acre hay meadow in Anderson County, near the town of Welda, known as Leadplant Prairie, The area is known as one of the few remaining strongholds of the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed in Kansas. The prairie’s location, right off of the popular Prairie Spirit Trail that runs between Ottawa and Iola, provides a great opportunity for education and outreach.

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