Kelly Kindscher

Senior Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey
Professor, Environmental Studies Program
Courtesy Professor, Geography
Primary office:


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.

Professor Kindscher 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.