Plenary Session

The following schedule is for the 2019 Summer Meeting plenary session which was held on Monday, July 15, 2019 from 8:00am - 12:00pm. Please check back for the 2020 Summer Meeting plenary session details. 

Monday, July 15, 2019 | 8:00am - 12:00pm
8:00am Presentation of Colors
U.S. and Canadian National Anthems
8:15am Welcome to Kansas!
Brad Loveless – Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism
8:30am Habitat Management Assistance in a Private Lands State
Jake George – Wildlife Division Director, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism
9:00am Lesser Prairie Chicken Response to Changing Landscapes and Climate
Dr. David A. Haukos – Unit Leader, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
9:30am Managing Aquatic Resources in the Anthropocene
Dr. Keith B. Gido – Professor, Division of Biology, Kansas State University
10:00am Break
10:15am Stewardship Initiative for Conservation Easements in the Flint Hills
Brian Obermeyer – Landscape Programs Manager, The Nature Conservancy, Kansas
10:45am Adaptive Regenerate Complex Systems
Ted Alexander – Alexander Ranch
11:15am Delivering Grassland Conservation and Management on Kansas Working Lands
Tony Ifland – Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
11:30am Thinking Outside the Cow
Jane Koger – Homestead Ranch
12:00pm Closing Remarks
Brad Loveless – Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

About the Plenary Presenters 

Jake George – Wildlife Division Director, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

Jake George holds a Bachelor of Science with a research emphasis on Natural Resources and Environmental Science, a Master of Arts in Geography, and Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Kansas State University. From 2008 to 2015, he served as the Private Land Programs Coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. He has served as the lead for production of the public access atlases, development of spatially linked contract database management systems, start-up of a new limited-public access private lands program, and coordination of state and federally funded private land habitat programs. In 2015, he took on the role of Wildlife Division Director and, most recently, served as the interim Assistant Secretary for Fisheries, Wildlife and Boating for the Department. Jake is a lifelong Kansan and lifelong sportsman.

Dr. David A. Haukos - Unit Leader, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Dr. David A. Haukos is the Unit Leader of the U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University.  Dr. Haukos is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Kansas State University and Adjunct Professor at Texas Tech University. Previously, he was a Regional Migratory Gamebird Management Specialist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service stationed in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University.  Following receipt of a B.S. from South Dakota State University in 1986, he received a M.S. and Ph.D from Texas Tech in 1988 and 1991, respectively.  He has conducted research on Great Plains ecosystems, including lesser prairie-chickens since 1986.

Dr. Keith B. Gido - University Distinguished Professor of Biology, Kansas State University

Dr. Keith B. Gido's research focuses on the conservation of aquatic systems in the western and central U.S.  Most of this research has been funded through state and federal natural resource agencies that seek information on the ecology and management of threatened and endangered species as well as recreational fisheries.  Research projects have included food web studies, habitat assessments, long-term responses of fishes to climate and flows, interactions between native and nonnative fishes, and response of fishes to fragmentation.  Keith has authored or co-authored 123 peer-review publications, 3 book chapters, and edited a book “Community Ecology of Stream Fishes: Concepts, Approaches and Techniques.”  In Keith's 18 years at Kansas State University, he has mentored 20 graduate students and 3 postdoctoral associates and currently teach upper division undergraduate and graduate courses associated with Fisheries, Aquatic Ecology and Multivariate Statistics.  Keith is currently on the editorial board for the journal Freshwater Science and has served as a science advisor and on peer review panels for a number of adaptive management programs, including the NSERC HydroNet Program (Canada), San Juan River Recovery and Implementation Program, Grand Canyon Research and Monitoring Center and the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams.

Brian Obermeyer - Landscape Programs Manager, The Nature Conservancy, Kansas

Brian Obermeyer has been the director of The Nature Conservancy’ Flint Hills Initiative for the past 18 years. Brian works with ranchers, landowners and other stakeholders to help preserve the intactness and biological integrity of the Flint Hills, the last landscape expression of tallgrass prairie in North America. In addition to his conservation work on private lands, Brian is involved with stewardship on 20,000 acres of Conservancy-owned land in the Flint Hills, including the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Ted Alexander – Alexander Ranch

Ted Alexander spent the early years of his life on the Skinner Ranch north of Lake City, KS.  Upon completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology, he took a position in the engineering department with McDonnell/Douglas Aerospace program working on the Gemini B.  After a time Ted went back to Southwest Missouri State College to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  Following graduation from the University of Oklahoma with a Master of Fine Arts, He taught sculpture at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas for the next 2-1/2 years before returning to the Skinner Ranches. 

In the early 1900’s, H W Skinner put together the ranch that Ted now operates.  The ranch is located in south-central Kansas along US Hwy 160 between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater.  The ranch is comprised of mostly sloping to moderately steep loamy soils, and rolling sandy soils, with an annual rainfall between 18 and 22 inches a year.  H W Skinner ran steers in the early years and in the 1920’s and 1930’s had sheep on the ranch.  In the 1940’s the ranch was leased to a cow/calf producer and was managed as a cow/calf operation until 1984.  The cedar tree encroachment that had begun in the 1950’s had reached 70-75% canopy cover by 1984 when Ted gained control of the ranch.  The open spaces between the cedar groves were overgrazed and in poor to fair condition with sagebrush 3-4 feet tall.  There were hill tops in each pasture that were used as continuous winter feed grounds causing these areas to be bare and highly overgrazed.  At one time, the ranch had 500-plus acres of farm ground. By 1988 the marginal farm ground was planted to native grasses.  The border of the ranch was a cedar tree fence.  There were three wind pumps and two ponds which where dry most of the time.  Ted had to make a business out of an overgrazed, under watered cedar forest!

In 2006, Ted welcomed his son Brian’s return to the ranch operation while his daughter Mona pursues a career in the United State Air Force.  In 2008, Brian took over the day to day management of the ranch. 

Different types of grazing systems have been implemented to increase production of the desirable forages, control rest, recovery periods and degree of forage use.  Brian is an early adapter of “PastureMap” which allow the use of a Ipad to keep grazing records.  The declaration of purpose for the Alexander Ranch is to manage all integrated resources in order to maximize the production of protein, shape a harmonious existence with nature and maintain economic viability.

Tony Ifland - Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service 

Tony Ifland is a wildlife biologist with the USFWS’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Kansas.  Tony has made Kansas his home for the majority of his life and considers growing up in a rural home on the western edge of the Flint Hills a privilege.  After attending Kansas State University, Tony worked for a number of agencies and universities in numerous states and ecosystems before returning to the prairies of Kansas.  He has spent the past 20 years with Kansas PFW working with landowners and other partners to restore and enhance the mixed grass prairie ecosystem and it’s habitats on the private lands of north central Kansas.  Tony utilizes his passion for photography to further elevate wildlife habitat conservation in Kansas as well as the land ethic exhibited by its private landowning stewards to an audience within and beyond the state.  Tony and his wife, Lori, make their home in rural Smith County, Kansas.  They have three kids, all currently attending college.      

Jane Koger – Homestead Ranch

Jane Koger is a fifth-generation rancher in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  From an early age she knew she wanted to be a rancher and after several years in college, returned home to fulfill that dream.

In the late 1970’s Jane and her sister purchased some land that they later discovered had been homesteaded by their great grandparents.  This has given Jane the goal of managing the land in such a way that her great grandfather would recognize it today.

Through a program she offered on her ranch which allowed women to come be a part of the cattle work, she learned of the importance of food safety and animal welfare that is of concern to today’s consumers.  It helped form her management practices, both of livestock, but also of the environment in which her cattle are raised.

Over the years she has learned the key to successful ranching is good range management and her focus has shifted from cattle to grass.  In her never-ending quest to try new things and “think outside the cow” Jane has been involved with a variety of experiments on her ranch. She presently is on the board of the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

Today she lives off the grid in a hay bale house.

“What’s important to me is not the beef production, but the management of the prairie/rangeland.  I know we have enough Quarter Pounders, I’m not sure we have enough Greater Prairie Chickens.”


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