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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!

Confessions of a Recreational Birdwatcher

Common blue jay. Photo by Greg Wagner.

I am a recreational birdwatcher, and proud of it! Even if I could get organized enough to keep a life list of birds I’ve seen, I simply enjoy just watching them and attempting to get some decent photos of them to share with you. Birders, or avid birders, as I call them, are easy to identify. They each keep a remarkable log of bird sightings to include the description of the species, numbers of them, date and time seen, as well as habitat and weather conditions along with any bird …

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Wild Asparagus!

Wild asparagus. Photo by Greg Wagner.

Morel mushrooms may be the heart of foraging activity in Nebraska, but the spring gathering of wild plants in the countryside for the table goes well beyond fungi. Consider, wild asparagus. Tender, succulent and with a flavor zest that combines subtle sweetness and slight bitterness, asparagus growing in the countryside doesn’t taste anything like the asparagus from the produce section of your large supermarket! Wild asparagus has high nutritional value. It is about as Paleo as it gets. Whether cooked or eaten raw, it is packed with …

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Spring Wild Edibles: There’s More Than Morels!

Wild asparagus. Photo by Greg Wagner.

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. The morel mushroom picking season is well underway in Nebraska. But, did you know there are other spring delicacies growing wild in the Cornhusker State’s outdoor scene? Oh yes, there sure are! Nebraska offers an abundance and diversity of edible wild plants that can be harvested in the simplest of locations, especially in the springtime. Many of these can be acquired while on a morel mushroom hunt! The spring season (April/May) truly …

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It’s All About The Gobble

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It invokes such strong feelings of excitement that it escapes words. It is a crazy sound in nature, really, perhaps even a bit comical. The sound, denoting spring, is actually a loud, shrill, descending, throaty jumble of chords that lasts about 1-2 seconds. For those of us who enjoy spring wild turkey hunting, the gobble of the male wild turkey is at its essence. A spring wild turkey hunt is about communicating, interacting and connecting with the North America’s largest upland …

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Top 10 Nebraska State Park Lands

Smith Falls State Park. Smith Falls. Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Nebraska is chocked full of wonderful state park lands. From the home of the state’s tallest waterfall to the Ozark-like bluffs along the Missouri River, the state’s 77 state park lands encompassing some 72,165 acres are diverse and have much to offer the park goer.  These public areas serve to show us that natural beauty, spectacular scenery and fun outdoor recreation is not far from any point in the state. Compiling a list of the 10 best state park lands in …

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Time for Tick Talk

Tick. Photo by Greg Wagner.

EEEEK! TICK! The ticks are out! In Nebraska, ticks become active early in the spring and are one of the first biting pests we experience as the weather warms. Ticks are part of Nebraska’s environment, and they shouldn’t stop any of us from pursuing our favorite outdoor activities this time of year — wild turkey hunting, morel mushroom picking, bird watching, tent camping, hiking, fishing, etc. We just need to take the necessary precautions to dissuade these little buggers from crawling on us, embedding …

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Early Season Morels?

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It is the time of year when folklore and science begin to collide about the emergence of the prized, delectable morel mushroom. Are the bur oak leaves the size of a fox squirrel’s ear?  Are any woodland violets blooming? Have wild asparagus spears begun to break the earth yet? These are just a few of nature’s triggers that prompt longtime gatherers of the succulent morel mushroom to take to their favorite river bottom woodlands. It is the time of year …

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Creating and Maintaining the Tradition of Hunting

From Left to Right, Noah Wagner, Sophie (a Braque du Bourbonnais) and Hunting Guide Tom Floyd. Photo by Greg Wagner.

Our traditions are a major part of us. They help to shape who we are. Indeed, when it comes to the hunting lifestyle, they are at the very core of what we are. The wild places, the game animals and birds we seek, how we do that, when we do that, and with whom we do that, all sculpt our outdoor lives. Whenever I think about creating a new hunting tradition I always find myself in kind of a quandary. The word tradition really isn’t about the new, it’s about the old, isn’t it? Or, …

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Corn Your Own Game, Beef for St. Paddy’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is one of the greatest food holidays of all time! All of the savory, salty corned beef you can eat, scrumptiously moist cabbage, hearty Irish soda bread, ice cold Irish beer and leprechauns…what could be better? The Feast of St. Patrick comes around every year without fail. I’m not complaining about it because I am of Irish-American heritage, but most of us celebrate with the same old corned beef and cabbage recipe. This year I figure it’s …

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March Means Migration Near You (Even in the City)

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When I was kid, I always looked forward to taking a drive with my grandparents during the March thaw to see the spring migration of birds in Sarpy County, Nebraska. We never had to travel very far from our homes in Gretna to see the migrating birds either. It’s those drives that helped to develop my appreciation for birds. Truth is, you still do not have to venture far at all to enjoy the spectacular March migration of birds in Nebraska. Extraordinary spring migration bird watching awaits you in …

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