Spanish explorers are considered the first Europeans to have traveled this region. Ceded to Spain by France in 1763, the territory reverted to France in 1800 and was sold to the U.S. in 1803. The first permanent white settlements in Kansas were outposts established to protect travelers along the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. Just before the Civil War, the conflict between the pro- and anti-slavery forces earned the region the grim title of ‘Bleeding Kansas’. Kansas became a state in 1861.
Native grasses cover one-third of Kansas. Bluestem, buffalo grass, and hairy gramas are types of grass that grow in most parts of the state. Native conifer, eastern red cedar is generally found throughout the state. Hackberry, black walnut, sycamore and cottonwood predominate western Kansas.
Kansas’s indigenous mammals include the common cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, black-tailed dog, muskrat and raccoon.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service named 123 Kansas animal species as threatened or endangered. Among these are the Indiana and the gray bats, bald eagle, whooping crane and black-footed ferret.
The city of Kansas has been progressive and innovative in its efforts to implement green initiatives, which represent part of a more expansive agenda to make Kansas City a truly sustainable city. The view of sustainability incorporates green programs into a broader triple bottom line approach that simultaneously promotes social equity, economic vitality and environmental quality.
The city is revising the development code and area plans to address transportation efficiency; adopting upgraded energy codes that are expected to enhance energy efficiency standards by 30%; performing energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy additions to several municipal buildings, which includes energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations like upgrading lighting systems, installing variable frequency drives for motors, installing solar hot water systems; conducting sustainability education training; converting all traffic signals from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs, which use much less power and have a longer economic life; designing and constructing traffic signal synchronization center that will reduce driver time delays, fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions through citywide traffic signal coordination; strengthening and leveraging each community’s commitments to a sustainable energy future; as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s new Better Buildings program, EnergyWorks KC is an initiative consisting of several projects to reduce both energy use in buildings and the output of greenhouse emissions.