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Afield and Afloat

Growing perfect pumpkins a year-long task for patch owners

Pumpkin patch goers and Goldilocks have one thing in common: everything has to be just right. Because of this, choosing the right pumpkin can be quite a task. Story and photos by Sarah Kocher Imagine, then, trying to grow enough perfect pumpkins for hundreds of patch guests. As a strictly October squash, commercial pumpkins are 10 months of work for two months of payoff. As soon as one Halloween is over, the next is already on the radar. According to …

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Hunting for Business

It’s long been known by businesses that hunting can be a stimulator for the economy. When the big summer tourism season winds down, motel owners, restaurants and retailers look forward to the influx of people dressed in camouflage and orange to keep those dollars flowing. A study by Southwick Associates estimates the annual economic impact of hunting to be $848 million in Nebraska, with $562 million in retail sales and 8,856 jobs supported. Those are big numbers and, considering what …

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Crossing the Goal Line with Online Hunter Education

Anyone who has kids knows things can get a little hectic in the fall. My son Sawyer was eligible for hunter education last year, but the limited offerings in the Chadron area didn’t fit into his schedule. Right or wrong, his obligation to his youth football team took precedence to devoting two Saturdays to hunter education – yes, at least in our Nebraska family, the football schedule is on a short list of things that can trump hunting and fishing. …

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Wesleyan biology students get squirrely

Professors lead squirrel studies with broader applicability.  By Sarah Kocher You could say Wesleyan biology professors Cody Arenz and Gary Gerald have gone a little nuts. Nevertheless, the pair has been radio-tracking campus squirrels since a revamped entry-level biology course debuted in the spring semester of 2015.  The goal: field biology in an urban setting. “Being at Nebraska Wesleyan… it’s a challenge to just dart outside, watch some mountain lions and dart back inside in a three-hour lab period,” Arenz …

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Behind the scenes: invasives testing

Story and Photos by Sarah Kocher Simply put, JoLeisa Cramer’s job has one focus: how things spread. Cramer is a technician for the Nebraska Invasive Species Program, and half of her job is about spreading awareness of the destruction invasive species almost always leave in their wake. The other half involves testing lakes for aquatic invasive species to prevent their introduction or growth. She spreads one to stop the other. “Prevention is the best tool we have for invasive species,” …

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The Queen Hunt

By Sarah Kocher I don’t know if you could really call it a treasure hunt, but the prize glistens in the sun nonetheless. I’m out with amateur beekeeper Scott Flynn on a search for his queen bee; she’s been MIA for days now, and hives without queens are like zombies: scary, with little direction and less staying power. Needless to say, she’s a queen for a reason. I’m out with my uncle researching beekeeping, and I have conveniently forgotten that …

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Becoming an Outdoors Woman Empowers Women

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program in Nebraska continues to grow and empower women. Nebraska was the second state to embrace this outdoor program started by Dr. Christine Thomas from Wisconsin in 1991. Thomas had a mission to give women the knowledge to be active in the outdoors and through the BOW program women gain the confidence needed to engage in all types of outdoor activities. The BOW program has grown not only in Nebraska and Wisconsin but is …

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Panhandle Passages: Getting a Handle on the Outdoors

One way to get excited about being outdoors is to see the look in kids’ eyes when they catch a fish. If you really want to get excited, watch them catch a big fish with their bare hands. A kid pulling a big carp from a water tank is a scene I’ve witnessed the past three Aprils at the annual Outdoor Discovery Program hosted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at the Scottsbluff Trails West YMCA Camp. More than …

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Bowfishing Mentor Program at Ponca SP

The Bowfishing Mentor Program at Ponca State Park is currently open for registration. The course will be taught over four nights, June 4, 11, 18 and 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. Limited to 25 registrants, students must be 10 years old as of January 1, 2015. Students will learn basic bowfishing skills, including knowledge on archery equipment; how to find, identify, and shoot fish; and cleaning and cooking fish. The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Big Game Conservation Association and …

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Panhandle Passages: Down Home Frog

Every photo that makes it to print in NEBRASKAland Magazine means a lot to me. Few things make a person look fondly upon a time and a place as does a good photo and it’s especially rewarding to see one in print. One particular photo — that of a Boreal chorus frog on pages 46-47 of the April issue — has special meaning to me. Frogs are great and I love the way this species fills the air with song …

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