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From the pages of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Nebraska Airmail in the 1920s

Early airmail pilots flew open-cockpit biplanes, navigated by landmarks and simple maps, and landed in grassy airfields. By 1930 their facilities and technology had changed dramatically. What seems quaint in hindsight was in fact a time of rapid change. Airmail service began in 1918. The first route was between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Regular coast-to-coast airmail flights began in 1920. Nebraska’s first airfields along the coast-to-coast route were in North Platte and Omaha. Airmail pilots used Omaha’s Ak-Sar-Ben …

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Crane Moves

Sandhill Cranes Arriving Earlier, Shifting East on Platte Thousands of sandhill cranes will have arrived on the Platte River in central Nebraska by the time you read this. In the weeks to come, there may be 600,000 or more on the river on a given night, with some yet to arrive from their wintering grounds to the south and others having already continued their northward migration. This gathering of more than 80 percent of the mid-continent population of cranes is …

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Nebraska History: Bikes, Farmers, and “Good Roads”

It was an unlikely alliance: farmers and bicycle enthusiasts. Both were dissatisfied with the muddy, unimproved roads of the late 1800s. But it would take a lot of tax dollars to build a modern road system, and not everyone wanted to spend the money. And then came a new, noisy, four-wheeled invention … Nebraska’s early roads were unmarked trails across the countryside. Railroads received large government subsidies, but the dirt roads linking farms and towns were seen only as a …

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The Value of Controlled Hunts

Controlled shooting areas are a mystery to many hunters. Defined as a private location leased or owned by an individual or group to hunt upland birds like ring-necked pheasants, quail, chukars, Hungarian partridge, and even mallards, during an extended season – they are often viewed as hunting spots for the inexperienced. When I started at Nebraskaland in 2006, I didn’t see what a controlled shooting area offered to an experienced, able-bodied hunter like myself. After visiting some – and talking …

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Photographing East Ash Road

A photographer captures the Pine Ridge’s East Ash Road through the seasons. The first time I laid eyes on this corkscrew turn nestled in the Pine Ridge of the Panhandle, I couldn’t help but question if I had stepped outside the borders of Nebraska. Such a far cry from the familiar geography of the Plains, the Pine Ridge is an area that has continually captivated me and keeps me coming back to discover more. As the seasons pass, the rugged …

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Super Tag

21-year-old completes multi-species Super Tag. Zachary Welch of Ainsworth is the latest hunter to complete the Nebraska Game and Park’s resident-only super tag, which allows for one elk, one antelope, one deer and two turkeys. The permit is awarded to one hunter annually by lottery and is valid for two years. Welch, a 21-year-old student at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, successfully hunted all five animals within four months by archery. He harvested a bull elk south of Wellfleet, a white-tailed …

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The Nebraska Table: Winter Recipes

Story and photos by Ryan Sparks Winter is a time for reflection, and if you’ve been following along with the Nebraska Table you have a lot to reflect on. You’ve foraged morel mushrooms and stinging nettles. You’ve watched the sunset from a deer stand. You’ve felt the rush of a covey of quail as they burst from a fencerow. The best meals capture these moments. They contain the essence of a place, and each bite is made sweeter from the …

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An Ice Storm Feast

Photographs after an ice storm. I woke up on the morning of January 17 with a clear plan of attack. The biggest ice storm in a decade had ended the previous evening, and the forecast had correctly predicted clear skies and calm winds for the post-storm sunrise. Road crews had worked through the night, allowing me to slowly and carefully make my way across Aurora to a series of restored prairies along Lincoln Creek. It was going to be an …

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Wild What’s Up

Send your wildlife questions to our environmental educators. As an environmental educator, I am asked countless questions about wildlife, habitats, and plants. Occasionally I know the answer, but now and then I have to do some research. Nebraska Game and Parks now has an email address (wildwhatsup@nebraska.gov) where people can send their wildlife questions and get a response. Here are some questions we have recently received. Do fish freeze in the winter? Fish are cold-blooded, which means that as the …

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Threatened and Endangered

The Scaleshell Mussel If you spend time along Nebraska’s lakes and rivers, you are likely to come across the occasional large “clam” shell. These are examples of our state’s native freshwater mussels. It can be quite interesting to observe the unique shapes, sizes and colors of the 29 species found in our state, although a few of those are considered relicts, meaning only their shells, and not the living mollusk that would normally reside within, are detected. They have descriptive …

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