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greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

Safety First with Campfires, and then Marshmallows, Hot Dogs

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A camping trip is not complete without spending some time around a campfire in the evening. Swapping stories and roasting marshmallows to make s’mores is all part of it! There is no question that a campfire provides the backdrop for lots of outdoor fun and camaraderie. But, if folks are careless, those campfires can ignite a damaging wildfire or severely injury a person. So, what do you need to know about campfires? First, we have some ground to cover (no …

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Seven Reasons to Tackle Bluegill

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Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 53 years of age (approaching 54), I still enjoy catching bluegill from the bank in summer, how about you? I know, I know, the lowly bluegill, a sunfish family member with more nicknames than a popular sports figure, is a prey species that doesn’t get very big. Why would I waste my time along the shoreline or on a pier catching and releasing THIS FISH? Let me tell you. In my view, bluegill …

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Six River Tuber Reminders

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Leisurely floating in an inner tube on one of Nebraska’s many scenic river water trails is a cool, refreshing, fun way to kick back and pass a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? I completely agree! But, some tubers on rivers get into trouble and actually end up spoiling the reputation of other law-abiding, ethical tubers! So, I wanted to do a quick blog post to remind those of you planning to float Nebraska rivers on inner tubes this …

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Float a Water Trail!

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“They connect us. They run through us. Our bodies are roughly 60 percent water. Newborn babies are 78 percent. Is it any wonder we are drawn to rivers, is it any wonder we want to return to them again and again?” –  Amy Souers Kober.  Floating one of Nebraska’s various water trails in the summer is great for so many reasons! You can do it for the adventure of going somewhere you’ve never been. You can do it to make connections and …

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Go Off the Grid in the Sandhills

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“There is delight in the hardy life of the open.” – Theodore Roosevelt. My, my we are all are so reliant on the ‘grid’ of modern technology. With computers, the Internet, Smart phones, IPads and even the computerized sensors and chips that make our motor vehicles run, every move we make it seems cannot be done without entering the technological sphere. Oh, and let’s not forget about the convenience of electricity either.  All of this high-tech gadgetry is a positive thing in our daily lives, right? But wouldn’t it be nice to disconnect and take …

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Those Gloves

Nebraska Conservation Officer Rich Berggren of Waterloo wearing  rubber fish handling gloves holding a nice-sized channel catfish he landed, then released. Photo by Greg Wagner.

I have been called a “sissie” and a wimp because I wear them. I have been labeled an “inadequate angler” since I have donned on them.  I have been told that I have lost my “bravado” and “edge” when it comes to fishing because I am handling fish while wearing gloves. It was even conveyed to my fishing partner, Nebraska Conservation Officer Rich Berggren of Waterloo, that “real game wardens don’t wear gloves to handle fish!” REALLY! Rich and I …

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Why Do I Fish?

Walleye with lure in mouth. Photo by Greg Wagner.

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.  ~Doug Larson Because I know of places where the water seems endless. Because the day is bright and the sand pulse along the shore is warm. Because I enjoy the challenge, pursuit and thrill of the catch (and release).  Sure, those are important components of recreational fishing. They are the primary reasons why we anglers wet lines. But there’s more to it, really there …

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Wildflower Power: Inviting the Pollinators

Black-eyed Susan wildflowers planted near barn on farmstead. Photo by Greg Wagner.

I’m a lover of wildflowers. Seeing, smelling, identifying and just being amid native wildflowers are on my list of my favorite outdoor pursuits in Nebraska’s landscape. And, you know what? Those wildflowers are more important than ever! No, scratch that. Indirectly, those native wildflowers are vital to all life on our planet Earth! Allow me to explain. For one out of every three bites of food you eat, you need to thank a bee, butterfly, beetle, bat, bird or other animal transferring pollen from one native wildflower to another! In fact, these animals on …

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12 Great Grilling Tips

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The outdoor cooking season has arrived and many grilled, juicy, charred delicacies are hitting the plates at Nebraska state park lands, backyards and beyond! So, no better time than now for you to get some grilling tips from two prominent outdoor cooking experts — Gene Cammarota and Ken Stosyich. These two individuals know a thing or two about great grilling. Gene Cammarota is a French classically-trained, executive chef from Omaha, NE. He is well known in professional cooking circles and …

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Never Too Late To Start (Turkey) Hunting

TwoJakes

I have always held the opinion that younger adults are a portion of the population that could be recruited into the lifestyle of hunting. After all, they have time and money to spend on it. They just need someone to guide them through the process of becoming a hunter, and then, of course, to take them to the field. I believe involving younger adults could prove to be one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to generate a new …

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