One of the most diverse habitats in Kansas
The Baker Wetlands encompasses 927 acres of rich, natural wildlife.
Students, faculty, and nature lovers have identified 278 species of birds, 98 other vertebrate species, and 487 plant species at the Wetlands—and these counts grow with each adventure. This exceptional environment gives students a unique opportunity for increased exploration and education about biological and ecological processes.
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The Baker University Wetlands Discovery Center & Hours
May 1 – October 31
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 4 p.m.
November 1 – April 31
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – Noon & 1 – 3 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 3 p.m.
The Baker University Wetlands and Discovery Center is a paradise for our student biologists, ecologists, biochemists, and pre-health professionals. But our students aren’t the only beneficiaries of the stunning 927-acre natural habitat. Stargazers, bird watchers, and exercise enthusiasts are always bustling around the area, which is open to the public. Located just 10 miles north of the Baldwin City Campus, the Baker Wetlands is a true distinction for the university in its region.
- The area is open dawn to dusk (daylight hours).
- Dogs must be on a leash to protect others on the trail and the wildlife.
- No boating, including canoes and kayaks, allowed.
- Take only pictures; leave only footprints.
More than 11 miles of trails are open from dawn to dusk so you can hike the Wetlands to your heart’s content.
No events are scheduled at this time. We look forward to hosting Nature Tots and other group events when it is safe to do so.
Reserve a Room | Schedule a Program
Groups visiting from other facilities or organizations with 10 or more people, including children, should schedule their visit in advance. This ensures they do not overlap with other scheduled groups or large programs.
The Wetlands staff reserves the right to ask unscheduled groups to delay their visit if the center is busy. Groups may schedule their visit by phone or email.
One of the Most Beautiful Spots in the Country
The Baker Wetlands is stunning. But don’t just take our word for it: Check out what HouseBeautiful magazine said when it declared the Wetlands the most beautiful place in Kansas.
of our electricity is produced by a 10 KWH solar array.
History of the Baker Wetlands
The Wakarusa and Kansas River floodplains have developed since the Pre-Illinoian Glacial Period ended more than 300,000 years ago. The two rivers differ significantly from each other because of the actions of this glacier and their source. The Kansas River primarily runs through various layers of sandstone and therefore its sandy substrate allows for significant meandering across a very wide basin. The Wakarusa, however, cuts through an area that was less impacted by glaciers and consists primarily of slate, shale, limestone, silt, and clay. The channel is more resistant to movement and thus the meanders in the past have been less significant, and its valley is much narrower. Its banks are steep and muddy.
Ice Age Development
Baker University Acquisition
South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT)
South Lawrence Trafficway: Phase I
Completion of SLT & Mitigation: Phase II
Dr. Irene Unger
Associate Professor of Biology, Director of the Baker Wetlands | irene.unger@bakerU.edu
“I fell in love with the Baker Wetlands at first sight and am thrilled to be the director of Baker Wetlands. It was my love of nature that drove me to study ecology. I hope to instill that same love in my students while at the same time preparing them to address the pressing environmental issues of our time. I hope that all Baker students will explore the Wetlands. They are truly a special place that change daily—so come out often to see what’s in bloom or what birds have stopped over during migration!”
B.S. Truman State University, M.S. St. Louis University, Ph.D. University of Missouri at Columbia
Expertise: plant-soil-microbe interactions, terrestrial plant ecology
Office: Boyd Science Center 226 & Wetlands Discovery Center | 785.594.4702
Education & Outreach Specialist | morgan.glade@bakerU.edu
“I have always had a love for the outdoors and being in nature. Growing up, I was able to experience the outdoors with my parents on many camping trips and vacations. Animals have always been one of my passions, and I haven’t met an animal I don’t like. This love of the outdoors led me to study recreation and parks management as well as take electives in geology, geography, biology, and interpretation. The goal I have for myself is to connect children and the public to nature and show them the amazing things in their backyard.”
B.S. Northwest Missouri State University
Office: Baker Wetlands Discovery Center, 1365 N. 1250 Road | 785.594.4703
Discovery Center Coordinator | jillian.doeden@bakerU.edu
“Having grown up in the area, I have a special connection with our local nature parks. I studied English literature at the University of Kansas, but my desire for wanting to learn more about our place in the world led me to another degree in conservation from Oregon State University. My hope is that our community can disconnect from our phones and reconnect with nature through this beautiful ecosystem we have here at the Baker Wetlands.”
B.S. University of Kansas, B.S. Oregon State University
Office: Baker Wetlands Discovery Center, 1365 N. 1250 Road | 785.594.4700
Matthew Sexson, ’04
Biologist and Natural Areas Manager | msexson@bakerU.edu
“I studied wildlife biology at Baker University and graduated in 2004. During this time I gained a great appreciation for the Baker University Wetlands. The BU Wetlands are a wonderful public resource for the region; I invite and encourage folks to visit for a hike, bike ride, exploration, or special event. The BU Wetlands also serve a very strong ecological function; the diversity of wildlife, lands, and vegetation offers something new to see daily. After a 16-year adventure for graduate school and field projects at Fort Hays State University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the U.S. Geological Survey, I returned home to help steward a special place where I first learned the basics about our natural world.”
B.S. Baker University, M.S. Fort Hays State University, Ph.D. Candidate University of Alaska Fairbanks
Office: Baker Wetlands Discovery Center, 1365 N. 1250 Road | 785.594.4701
The Wetlands Discovery Center
The Baker Wetlands is located on the south side of Lawrence in Douglas County in northeastern Kansas, approximately 45 miles west of Kansas City. From US 59 on the south side of the South Lawrence Trafficway and K10 interchange, turn east on N. 1250 Road and go 0.7 miles to the parking lot of the Discovery Center. Follow signs to the entrance. From 31st Street come south on a new road called Michigan (opposite the Menards Store) to N 1250 Road, turn left (east) 0.2 mi to the Discovery Center parking lot.
Minutes from Baldwin City
Minutes from Kansas City