Students Benefit from Experiential Learning at Prairie Festival

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Briar Cliff University environmental science majors James Conway and Mandy Haukap, both of Sioux City, did not miss classes while at the Prairie Festival, held recently in Salina, Kan. The BCU students were in an experiential learning classroom, gaining insights on developing perennial agriculture and meeting environmental experts from across the U.S.

“It was a great experience,” Conway said. “I learned a lot and met many interesting people with shared environmental concerns. Oh, and the buffalo stew was amazing.”

Accompanying the students were Briar Cliff faculty Dr. Brian Hazlett, director of environmental science, professor of biology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies, and Dr. Ted Wilson, associate professor of biology and division chair for natural and mathematical sciences.

Sponsored by The Land Institute, the annual festival featured Wendell E. Berry, writer, farmer and conservationist; Dr. David Orr, professor and chair of environmental studies Program, Oberlin College; Dr. Michelle Mack, ecologist, associate professor of biology, University of Florida; and Wes Jackson, president and co-founder of The Land Institute. Travel for Briar Cliff students and faculty to attend the event was sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies, established in 2009 through a grant from the Gilchrist Foundation. For more information, email

Briar Cliff University is a Catholic institution with an enrollment of more than 1,100 students from 31 states and 11 countries. Students are educated in the Franciscan tradition of excellence in the liberal arts and career preparation in an environment of care, compassion and service. For more information, please visit

Tags: Biology, Academics, Environmental Science, Prairie