Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Kansas School Naturalist

Anyone with an interest in nature owes it to themselves to become familiar with The Kansas School Naturalist, a (highly) periodical journal devoted to all aspects of the natural world. I received my latest issues (below) about three weeks ago, but it has been at least one year since the last volume. The sporadic nature of this publication is its only drawback, however. The mission and content are outstanding.

The Kansas School Naturalist has been enlightening its audience since at least 1954, judging from the catalog that came with the newest additions. Just who is the audience, and how does it circulate? I’ll let the masthead inside the cover of each issue speak for itself:

”The Kansas School Naturalist is sent free of charge and upon request to teachers and anyone interested in natural history and nature education. In-print back issues are sent free as long as supply lasts. Out-of-print back issues are sent for one dollar photocopy and postage/handling charge per issue. The Kansas School Naturalist is sent free upon request by media mail to all U.S. zipcodes, first class to Mexico and Canada, and surface mail overseas. The Kansas School Naturalist is published by Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Postage paid at Emporia, Kansas. Address all correspondence to: Editor, Kansas School Naturalist, Department of Biological Sciences, Box 4050, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS 66801-5087. Opinions and perspectives expressed are those of the authors and/or editor and do not reflect the official position or endorsement of E.S.U. Some issues can be viewed online at: The Kansas School Naturalist is listed in Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory, indexed in Wildlife Review/Fisheries Review, and appropriate issues are indexed in the Zoological Record. The KSN is an irregular publication issued from one to four times per year.

It is important to know that not every issue is restricted in its geographic treatment to the state of Kansas. Even if that were the case, Kansas is literally in the heartland of the U.S. and many species found there occur over much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The issue on centipedes and millipedes actually discusses global fauna.

All issues I have received have included plenty of images, often in color, and an easy-to-follow layout. A list of technical references is also included, such that the reader can pursue whatever level of additional scholarly information they so desire.

Once you are on the mailing list, you will receive all forthcoming issues for life (as near as I can tell, anyway). Inserted in each will be a little yellow slip politely requesting a donation in any amount to the Emporia State University Foundation, and applied to the Kansas School Naturalist. It is a worthy cause as this short note on the back of the donation slip indicates:

Dear Kansas School Naturalist Reader:
In 2004, we sent the millionth copy of Kansas School Naturalist free to teachers, scout leaders, librarians, and others upon request. While there is heavy readership within Kansas, the KSN serves readers nationwide and internationally. Grants and the grassroots contributions of readers are our major source of funds. Our high-interest, high-accuracy booklets authored by the experts in the field are a mainstay of science education in classrooms, labs, and fieldwork. To help the Kansas School Naturalist reach a new generation and raise environmental literacy, take a moment to contribute to the KSN endowment and underwrite…

I plan to donate again soon. I haven’t done so in awhile, and I need to alert them to my new address anyway. I just hope they don’t confuse me with an Emporia State U. alum again.

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