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Success in the Salt Marsh

The sun sets as shadows fall over a saline wetland and a muskrat hut at the Little Salt Fork Marsh Preserve.

It is just before dawn in Nebraska’s eastern saline wetlands. You sit quietly on the edge of a salt marsh – a nearly level pan of sparse vegetation and mud. Just in front of you water laps in rhythmic beats at the shoreline. On the opposite shore, the growing light gently begins to fill in the dark spaces, giving definition to the dusky shapes that have been murmuring in the distance. They are a mixed flock of shorebirds and waterfowl …

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The Eclipse through the eyes of citizen scientists

Photograph taken during the middle of the day during the eclipse at Verdon State Recreation Area (SRA) in Richardson County. Kurrus, Aug. 15, 2017. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

One year ago, for just a couple of minutes, the sky darkened in the middle of the day. The air cooled, stars and planets appeared, and the sun seemed to transform before our eyes. The 2017 solar eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But as fascinating as it was, not everyone had their eyes trained on the skies the whole time. There was a question that needed answering: how would animals and plants react to the eclipse? Life Responds That was …

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Program to explore ‘Creatures of the Night’

CHADRON, Neb. – The public is invited to learn about and search for “Creatures of the Night” at Chadron State Park. On Saturday, July 21, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist Amanda Filipi will lead attendees on a journey to explore the park’s nocturnal animals, such as bats and owls. The group will meet at the lagoon shelter at 8:30 p.m. The activity is open to the public free of charge, but a park entry permit is required …

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act introduced in the Senate

LINCOLN, Neb. – Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act on Tuesday, July 17. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, if passed, would invest in proactive, voluntary, incentive-based habitat conservation projects with private landowners by implementing Nebraska’s State Wildlife Action Plan, called the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. Habitat improvements would benefit rare species, as well as common species such as turkeys and deer, by enhancing grasslands, combating invasive …

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Wildcat Hills Bioblitz is July 20-21

GERING, Neb. – The public is invited to help uncover the biodiversity of the Wildcat Hills during the Wildcat Hills Bioblitz. The interactive event will be Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, based at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area. Bioblitzes, such as this one, bring together natural resource experts, community volunteers and others to inventory all living species in a specific area during a certain period. The family-friendly event will kick off at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center with a …

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Plan Ahead for Hunter Ed

While it might be harder to think about hunting season when summer temperatures are getting into the high 90’s, hunting season is just around the corner! Archery deer, dove, and teal seasons will kick off in less than two months and those months can skip by faster than you expect. That’s why some forethought now will make for a stress free slide into the best time of the year. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 29 hunting in Nebraska …

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Waterfowl Management in Action

Duck and goose season may not be top-of-mind for many Nebraskans – except for the die-hards that never quit thinking about it.  But that doesn’t mean waterfowl management is on-hold. I was able to tag along with our state’s biologists recently to take part in the annual Canada goose banding efforts.  We were able to capture video of the process and get an explanation by Dr. Mark Vrtiska, Nebraska’s Waterfowl Program Manager, of the importance of banding geese. I haven’t …

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Summer Wildflowers of the Sandhills

Yucca (Yucca glauca) adorns a sand dune in Cherry County. Also called soapweed, the plant’s crushed roots, when agitated in water, produce a lather used as a shampoo by Great Plains tribes. They ate the flowers, flower stalks and young seedpods raw or cooked.

Blooms on the Dunes From many Sandhills dune tops, one can see prairie stretching to the horizons. North America’s largest sand dune field, the wind-whipped Sandhills, covers more than 20,000 square miles of north-central Nebraska, ranging from low and rolling to steep and towering. The Sandhills is also our nation’s most intact grassland ecosystem – the wildflower-rich prairie, a vestige of times past. n 1795, James Mackay, working for the Upper Missouri Company, led the first European expedition into the heart of the …

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Fort Robinson, Wildcat Hills offer bighorn sheep viewing events

Bighorn sheep jumping fence

CHADRON, Neb. – Two Panhandle parks are offering special opportunities to view the state’s best climbers – bighorn sheep. The hikes, which each begin at 9 a.m., will be Friday, July 13, at Fort Robinson State Park west of Crawford and Saturday, July 14, at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering. Participants will gather at the parks and caravan to the sheep’s present range with the aid of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife technicians who use telemetry …

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July Outdoor Calendar

LINCOLN, Neb. – The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events and important dates in July. Get more event details at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for a list of hunter education classes and boating safety classes. June 30-July 1 – Living History, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (SHP), Fort Calhoun July 1 – Archery fishing of game fish is allowed statewide through Dec. 31 July 1 – Underwater spearfishing of game fish allowed in certain waters through …

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