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 the Environmental Studies Program and earned the Ph.D. in Systematics and Ecology in 1991. His master’s thesis became the basis for his first book, Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie, 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 furthers his research agenda, 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 most recently Echinacea: Herbal Medicine with a Wild History (2016) 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.
He is one of the founders of the Kansas Land Trust and a current board member, and is involved in other non-profit, environmental, and community groups. He lives near Lawrence, Kansas, where he is an active gardener and enjoys growing vegetables, fruits, and native plants.
Phone: (785) 864-1529
Fax: (785) 864-1537
Kansas Biological Survey
2101 Constant Avenue
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66047-3729