Governing body for Unclassified Professional Staff at the University of Kansas

Status message

Submissions for this form are closed.

2014 Mini Wheat State Tour Registration

Registration Now Closed

Registration has closed for the 2014 Mini Wheat State Tour taking place on Friday, May 30, 2014.  More than 55 participants have signed up, and there is an ample wait list.  We apologize for any inconvenience to those interested in attending the event.

Notes about the tour:

  • Space is limited (maximum capacity is 55 participants).  Registrations received after the tour has reached capacity will be placed on a wait list.
  • Please bring $10 cash for lunch at the Grand Grill.  Exact change, please!
  • The tour will include considerable time outside and walking over park trails. We suggest wearing sturdy closed-toed shoes and bringing rain gear as needed.
  • A water bottle is also highly recommended, but it must be one with a screw-top lid to be permitted on the bus.


It’s time for great camaraderie and Kansas exploration! The Professional Development Committee of Unclassified Senate invites all unclassified and university support staff to join us for the 7th Annual Mini Wheat State Whirlwind Tour.

The 2014 Mini Wheat State Tour will take place on Friday, May 30, 2014.  Registration is expected to open on Monday, April 28 and close on Friday, May 16.  Applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.  Space is limited (maximum of 55 participants). 

An initiative of University Staff Senate and its professional development committee, each year the tour brings together a group of KU staff from across the University to learn about issues and institutions of importance to our state.  This year's tour, organized by the Unclassified Senate in close cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey, will focus on critical threats to one of our most vital natural resources:  water.

In the morning, the group will visit John Redmond Reservoir, one of the state’s largest and most imperiled lakes. Nearly 60 percent of people living in eastern Kansas rely directly on reservoirs as their primary source of water, so we must find the means to prolong these reservoirs’ usable life. Nearly all of the more than 200,000 lakes in Kansas, from the smallest farm ponds to the largest federal reservoirs, are constructed and thus artificial in origin. The geology of Kansas does not naturally support lakes, and over time all will fill with sediment. Many of the state’s 24 largest federal lakes were built more than 40 years ago, and a few already have lost more than 40 percent of their original storage capacity.

In the afternoon, the tour will stop at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, the largest protected expanse of native prairie in the state. In stark contrast to the reservoirs, the Tallgrass Prairie represents a sustainable, natural landscape that has adapted over millennia to the climate and rainfall of the region. The Tallgrass Prairie is situated in the upper reaches of the Neosho River watershed, which feeds into John Redmond Reservoir. What happens within the watershed through the influence of farm ponds, grazing and other factors has a significant effect on our water supply.

The tour will depart from the Lied Center at 8 a.m. and will include the following destinations and activities:

  • John Redmond Reservoir (Coffey County, near Burlington)—Redmond was built in 1968 and is nearly 45 percent filled with sediment. Scientists from the Kansas Biological Survey and the Kansas Geological Survey, along with Brad Loveless, manager of biological and conservation programs at Westar Energy, and Susan Metzger, chief of planning and policy at the Kansas Water Office, will present specific information on water issues and problems, as well as proposed solutions, for meeting the state’s water needs.
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve – Just up the road from Cottonwood Falls, a ranger-led visit to one of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the U.S.  The preserve's new Visitor's Center was designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating.  Tour participants can also take a short walk along nearby trails. 

There is no charge for the tour but lunch at the Grand Grill is at the participant's expense.  The bus will return to the Lied by 5:00 p.m.

Please note: The tour is considered “work time” for hourly staff, except meal breaks. Participation requires supervisory authorization.

Any questions should be directed by email to:

Upcoming Unclassified Senate Events
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times