Kelly Kindscher is best known as a passionate advocate for native plants, native landscapes and wild places. His research is focused on native prairies, prairie plants and plant communities. He is a conservationist, teacher, mentor and environmental problem solver, and the author of books on edible and medicinal plants.
He was born in Syracuse, Kansas, and grew up in Newton, Kansas, and on his family’s homesteaded farm near Guide Rock, Nebraska. It was on the farm that he was first exposed to and learned about the prairie plants growing on the meadows used for pasture.
College took him to the University of Kansas, which has become his professional home. He graduated with honors in environmental studies and earned the Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology in 1991. His master’s thesis became the basis for his first book, and his dissertation research examined the groupings and importance of plant guilds in tallgrass prairie ecosystems.
He took a position at KU, and his work has evolved over the years. Today, his primary responsibilities are as a plant ecologist for the Kansas Biological Survey, where he conducts research on plant communities throughout Kansas, the Midwest, and the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states; and in the Environmental Studies Program, where he mentors students and has taught a variety of classes, including ethnobotany and the program’s capstone course, formerly known as Environmental Impact Assessment.
Prof. Kindscher (most just know him as Kelly) is well-known for his study of prairie plants.
He is the author of three books: Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie (1987) and Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie (1992) published by the University Press of Kansas, and Echinacea: Herbal Medicine with a Wild History, published by Springer. He also has published many scholarly articles and technical reports on:
* prairie plants;
* prairie and wetland ecology and restoration;
* cultural uses of edible and medicinal plants in the Great Plains and western U.S.;
* plant community ecology, conservation of Midwest/Great Plains/Rocky Mountain habitats and ecosystems;
* and management of native plant communities and other lands.
Currently he is focusing much of his attention on collecting medicinal plants and searching for ethnobotanical and field data that help support the use of native plants for the KU Native Medicine Plant Research Program.
He is one of the founders of the Kansas Land Trust and a current board member. He also is a board member of the Prairie Plains Resource Institute, based in Aurora, Nebraska. He lives near Lawrence, Kansas, where he is an active gardener and conservationist.
Phone: (785) 864-1529
Fax: (785) 864-1537
Kansas Biological Survey
2101 Constant Ave.
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66047-3729