Biology Field Station

The WSU Biological Field Station, a network of three distinct properties, is located at the Ninnescah Reserve which is located approximately 35 miles southwest of the Wichita State University campus and consists of about 330 acres of native prairie, restored prairie, wetlands, and riparian woodland along a mile of the Ninnescah River. As a result of recent BioBlitz activities and ongoing research, a total of 528 species have been recorded for the Ninnescah Reserve including 289 vascular plants, 168 birds, 33 mammals, 16 fish, 9 snakes, 6 turtles and 7 amphibians.

This unique habitat offers opportunities for studying grassland restoration, river ecology, and general wildlife biology. Current studies include prairie restoration and recovery from overgrazing, plant-insect interactions, the ecology of aquatic invertebrates, fitness maximization of birds in the non-breeding season, monitoring riparian and prairie bird nesting communities, stopover ecology of long distance Neotropical avian migrants, incidence of West Nile virus in birds on the station, and monitoring of fish, amphibian, and reptile population dynamics.


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The Ninnescah Biological Station Laboratory and Classroom was completed in June 2010. This facility provides support for biological research, education and outreach, and includes wet and dry laboratories, classrooms, a library and a seminar room. The field station's unique location and diverse habitats serves researchers, students and visitors from WSU, and it attracts researchers from abroad.

The resident manager's headquarters in the northwest corner of the Ninnescah Reserve includes mobile structures for lecture, laboratory, small office and library. A Butler-style building that houses maintenance and larger field equipment.

The site was acquired in 1983 by the Endowment Association of Wichita State University and is located largely in the southeast quarter of section 7 and southwest quarter of section 8 of Viola Township 29 South, Range 3 West of the Sixth Principal Meridian. The site contains 66 acres of native mixed grass prairie and more than 200 acres of restored tall and mixed grass species, riparian and road border woodlands, wetlands, and stream tributary sites. The entire area is fenced except along the river and divided into 33 ten-acre plots marked by steel poles. The geology, depth of ground water, and archeological sequence of the site have been determined. Three wells on the site have been cased. Burning, mowing, and haying are the major management practices on the prairie segments.  


For more information about the Field Station contact:

Dr. Don Distler- Station Director:

Office: (620) 584-6626

Cell: (316) 978-3113

Matt Kraushar- Station Manager:

(620) 584-6626

If you would like to support the research and conservation mission of the field station, please contact Director of Development, Michael W. Rishell- (316) 978-3945.

arrow Field Station Map and Directions
arrow Annual Ninnescah Reserve BioBlitz
arrow Mammals, Herptiles, and Fish checklist
arrow Vascular plants checklist
arrow Bird species checklist