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Pollinators all the buzz at Wildcat Hills

Bumblebee and soldier beetle on aster.
A bumblebee and soldier beetle visit a flowering aster at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area south of Gering in Scotts Bluff County. (NEBRASAKAland/Justin Haag)

GERING, Neb. — The Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering will be buzzing about pollinators this weekend.

“Powerful Pollinators,” the latest event in the Wildcat Weekends series, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14, and is open to the public free of charge.

Amanda Filipi, Commission outdoor education specialist, said she will tell attendees about the importance of pollinators, which experts say are responsible in the creation of one-third of the food humans eat and provide many other benefits to ecosystems and natural resources. She said the event is targeted to anyone who wants to learn more about pollinators — a more diverse group than most people often realize.

“Most people think of honey bees or bumblebees, but there are also a lot of flies, and other insects and animals that help pollinate,” she said.

Filipi said the event will feature a presentation and children’s activities. Attendees will also will learn to create pollinator habitat and will construct houses for bees that they can take home.

In addition, Natalia Bjorklund of Scottsbluff, a University of Nebraska post-graduate student who is studying pollinators, is loaning her collection of bee specimens for attendees to view.

The nature center is at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area 10 miles south of Gering along Nebraska Highway 71. Vehicles must have a park entry permit, available online at outdoornebraska.org or at the Nature Center.

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About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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