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In The Wild

Husker Bananas

Nebraska has a banana. Well, sort of. If you are not familiar with the “Husker banana” as it is also known, the pawpaw or common pawpaw is an oblong-shaped fruit, yellow-green to brown in color, averaging the size of a standard supermarket potato. It produces the largest edible fruit indigenous to North America and is the hardiest member of the custard-apple family. And, guess what? In Nebraska, the highly aromatic, sweet-smelling fruits ripen about now (late September or early October), if …

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A Different Kind of “Apple”

You see the yellow-green, grapefruit-sized, brainy-looking fruit at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, garden centers, and other locations this time of year. Maybe you’ve seen them scattered about the ground along the edge of an old shelter belt or fence line while hunting or hiking? Whatever the scenario may be, look closely at the fruit. It sure is strange, isn’t it? Hedge apple in hand. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. But, what exactly is it? Where does it …

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Accessible Outdoors; A Letter to Tyler

About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — have a disability, according to the the latest U.S. Census done in 2010. It revealed that nearly one in every five people in the United States, has a disability that significantly limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, thinking, and so forth. Furthermore, the population of the United States is aging. By the year 2030, 110 million people will be older than 55. …

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Safety First with Campfires, and then Marshmallows, Hot Dogs

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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Float a Water Trail!

“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

“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

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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Wildflower Power: Inviting the Pollinators

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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Never Too Late To Start (Turkey) Hunting

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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Roasting the Ultimate Marshmallow

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: Warning! If you were not hungry for something sweet, you soon will be!) Treasured memories are made around a fire ring. Part of those priceless outdoor moments around that warm fire involve an important food-oriented activity: roasting marshmallows! A popular camping and backyard tradition in spring and summer is the roasting (or toasting) of sugar-based confections known as marshmallows over a campfire or other open flame. A marshmallow is placed on the end of a stick or skewer and carefully held over …

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