The Art Department will team with the Department of Biology and Environmental Health for a plein air painting experience from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, on the prairie preserve at Missouri Southern.

A map of the prairie land preserved by Missouri Southern.

A map of the prairie land preserved by Missouri Southern.

The students in Kyle McKenzie’s beginning painting class will work on oil paintings in the prairie setting while Dr. Teresa Boman discusses the ecosystem and history of the prairie.

“My classes have painted in different locations around campus,” said McKenzie, an assistant professor of art. “This is the first time we’ve used the prairie. We have this cool resource across the street, and it will be good for students to learn about it.”

Fourteen acres of the native tall grass prairie have been set aside for Missouri Southern students to use as a natural laboratory. Home to a unique assemblage of specially adapted grasses, Mima mounds and flowering plants, the prairie also provides a wide array of animal, insect and bird species for students to observe and research.

“Our hope in the Biology Department has been that the prairie could be used by other departments on campus,” said Boman, assistant professor of biology. “Kyle contacted me in April if they’d be able to do a collaboration with them.

“I’ll be talking about the historical and scientific aspects of the prairie and the art students will be painting it. We’ve also invited any of our biology students who are interested to also attend.”

Boman said a communitywide painting event on the prairie is being planned for the spring semester.