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Latest Features

Observe and Admire

Appreciating the Small Things Photos and story by Joshua Redwine Landscape photography often means finding that perfect moment by trusting your instincts and the direction of the wind, following wherever it takes you. I began my career as a civil engineer, and my desire was to protect the environment by focusing my education in environmental engineering. In 2007, I was offered the opportunity to travel to Haiti, a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Armed with a few amenities from home and a sleek, …

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Turtle Love

By Gerry Steinauer, Botanist One morning last June, while photographing wildflowers in the Sandhills blowout, I came upon a pair of ornate box turtles. I determined, based on eye color — male box turtles have red eyes, while a female’s are yellowish-brown — that they were of the opposite sex, apparently an amorous couple on a blowout tryst. And I was intruding. I hated to be rude, but with no box turtle photographs in my portfolio, this was, for me, …

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Finding Nature Under the Night Sky

By Amber Schiltz, Wildlife Educator What does nature mean to you? As a wildlife educator, I get to hear a variety of answers when I ask this question of both students and adults. For many, it means playing outside, climbing trees, looking for bugs and birds, or watching clouds float by. For others, nature is found when engaging with its bountiful resources through fishing or hunting, or getting our hands in the soil and planting our gardens. I find meaning …

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A Researcher’s Field Season – Part I

By Allison Barg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Graduate Assistant “I put pheasant habitat on my property. Why don’t I have any pheasants?” University of Nebraska-Lincoln biologists are trying to answer this question. Many Nebraska landowners and wildlife managers have noticed that in parts of the state where there are swaths of land covered in what looks to be ideal pheasant habitat, there are no pheasants. It turns out that the “if you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t always …

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Wildlife Habitat from the Bottom Up

Billy Chromy is a big picture kind of guy when it comes to wildlife habitat. That likely comes from his background, which includes growing up on his family’s farm in the hills near Linwood, and working as a conservation technician, game warden and park ranger before returning home, where he now farms with his father and is also a contractor who helps landowners implement conservation practices on their land. An avid hunter, Chromy has been managing the woodlands, pasture and …

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Conestoga — A Model Lake

Conestoga Lake is a peaceful retreat. But it’s not as quiet as it used to be. That’s what happens whenever improvements are made to a fishery near Nebraska’s capital city. And the improvements made to Conestoga were many. Located south of Emerald, Conestoga State Recreation Area is one of 11 Salt Valley Lakes built around Lincoln in the 1960s and 1970s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam on Holmes Creek that created the reservoir was completed in …

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Five Trails to Hike This Summer

By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist I recently saw the most incredible meme: It compared hiking with a naturalist versus hiking with someone who was there for physical activity. The naturalist finished the 1-mile hike in about 3 hours, while the person motivated by exercise finished in about 11 minutes. You may be wondering why the naturalist took so long to finish the hike. Well, if you have ever hiked with a naturalist, or someone who appreciates nature, you know …

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Rarer Than a Three-Spurred Rooster

By Cassidy Wessel, Wildlife Biologist I can remember the first rooster pheasant I ever held as a kid, standing over the trash can in our garage helping my dad clean birds and thinking that this brown, purple, blue, red and green iridescent thing might just be too pretty to pluck. And I’m sure I did think “pluck” — skinning a bird at that time would have been completely foreign to me. Pheasants were rare table fare. Being the fifth generation …

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Turtles at Home in Nebraska

The Sandhills region is tops for Blanding’s turtle habitat and numbers Grass-covered sand dunes accented by wetland marshes and lakes as far as the eye can see. Humans and vehicle traffic sparse. Vibrant community of turtles and other wildlife. If real estate advertisements targeted wildlife, such words would catch the eye of at least one species. Thanks to research at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, we know many Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) are already living the good life in the …

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Remembering Dick Turpin

How to Tell a Story Calling Dick Turpin a hunter education coordinator, turkey call maker, conservation officer, entertainer, songwriter or any of his other titles fails to describe who he was — a person who made you feel good when he was around. Regardless of what hat Turpin was wearing when you met, you would forever remember one of his greatest gifts was that of a storyteller. Long-time staffers at Nebraskaland agree that while PG-rated Dick Turpin stories were good, …

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