Konza Prairie LTER Featured Artist - Barb Van Slyke

Barb Van Slyke has been an administrative assistant at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) since 1999. Barb says she feels privileged to work at KPBS because of the 4 P’s: Proximity, People, Prairie, and Photography. She lives only 2 miles from KPBS. The people affiliated with KPBS are “the best – from the site staff, student workers, burn crew, to the researchers – both from K-State and other institutions.” Experiencing the prairie daily provides numerous photographic opportunities.

The prairie beckons Barb to come experience the treasures it holds, with its wealth of plant and animal life. Barb calls the prairie her “safe and sane” place in the COVID-19 world of social distancing. She says it physically, spiritually, and mentally refreshes her – “it’s good for the soul.”

You will find Barb taking pictures of the prairie almost daily. She says her inspiration comes from the colors, shapes, textures, movement, lines, and shadows found in the prairie, clouds, and skies. She wants her pictures to provide a window onto the prairie for those who do not have access to it. Barb often shares her pictures on social media, the Konza LTER website, and to anyone needing images for papers, posters, or presentations. Her images provide a documentation of many of the events and happenings on KPBS. Barb loves to display her favorite images on her walls, and often donates framed images to a variety of organizations and fundraisers.

Each season provides its own attractions, but Barb’s favorite time of year to take pictures is during the prescribed burns, watching the fire consume the old growth, and the blackened prairie slowly turning green with new life. Her favorite animal to photograph is the bison, of course. Barb says, “they are such magnificent animals to just observe and photograph.” She loves to hunt, locate, and photograph the first bison calf every year.

If you are interested in learning more about Barb’s photography, contact her at bvs@ksu.edu.