Free State biology teacher named as the 2022 Konza Prairie Teacher of the Year

photo by: Contributed

Free State High School biology teacher Julie Schwarting, far right, is pictured at the Konza Prairie with students in March 2022.

A Lawrence biology teacher has been named the 2022 Konza Prairie Teacher of the Year, an award that recognizes years of hands-on education that she has provided to her students at the tallgrass prairie preserve.

Free State High School biology teacher Julie Schwarting has been bringing her classes to the Konza Prairie near Manhattan since 2013 to give them the opportunity to better appreciate the ecology of the endangered tallgrass prairie, according to a news release from the Konza Prairie Biological Station.

Jill Haukos, director of education at the Konza Prairie, stated in the release that Schwarting has used the prairie trips to educate and inspire her students.

“Mrs. Schwarting is a wonderful teacher who inspires her students to get outside and discover their world more fully,” Haukos said. “She is dedicated to her students and it’s a pleasure for us to work with her.”

Schwarting has brought over 450 students to the Konza Prairie over the years. As a graduate of the Konza Prairie Summer Teachers’ Workshop, Schwarting learned how to use the prairie station as a tool in her educational program. The release states that the students benefit from direct, experiential activities to better appreciate the ecosystem and its role in their lives.

Located in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, the Konza Prairie Biological Station is a native tallgrass prairie preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University and managed as a field research station by the K-State Division of Biology, according to the Konza Environmental Education Program website.

Schwarting received the award at the Konza Environmental Education Program awards banquet on Saturday.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.