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Catch these Game and Parks education events in March

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in March. Here are some opportunities:

Little Saplings program presents Spring Migration

Adults looking to explore the outdoors with their young children are invited to Little Saplings, a monthly early childhood nature discovery program at Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

The 2023 series continues March 1 with the theme Spring Migration at 9 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregiver. The cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult per program and includes admission to the Education Center after the program.

See the calendar event entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for more information.

Join the Winter Family Nature Club

Join the Winter Family Nature Club, an effort to empower families to explore nature and practice outdoor skills even in wintertime.

The final event in the four-month series is from 1-2:30 p.m. March 11 at Maskenthine Lake Recreation Area near Stanton.

Registration is required through the listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov. For questions, email jamie.bachmann@nebraska.gov.

Wildcat Tales preschool program is March 14

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will host the monthly Wildcat Tales preschool program March 14.

The program Leaping Leprechaun will meet at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. Mountain time. There will be a lesson plan, story and hands-on activity specifically targeted for children ages 2-6 years.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information, contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Homeschool Hike set for March 15-16 at Schramm Park SRA

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike to learn about evergreens at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program March 15 at 9 a.m. and March 16 at 2 p.m.

Homeschool Hikes is a monthly nature exploration program hosted by the Schramm Education Center geared toward homeschool families.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov. Cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult per program. This includes admission to the Schramm Education Center after the program. Schramm Family Pass members participate free.

This program is recommended for ages 5 and up.

Participants should dress in season-appropriate layers and wear closed-toed shoes that can get dirty. Hats and water bottles are recommended.

Wildlife viewers’ survey topic of webinar

Join the free virtual webinar Wildlife Viewer Survey: Enhancing Relevancy and Engaging a Broader Constituency at 12:30 p.m. Central time March 8.

Wildlife viewing is one of the fastest growing wildlife-related recreation activities in the nation, but wildlife viewers do not contribute much to funding for wildlife conservation. In 2022, a survey of motivations, interests and behaviors of wildlife viewers was conducted by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Workgroup. Learn the results of this survey.

This webinar is part of the Conservation Education Lunch and Learn Series, which dives into the science behind educational efforts and practices by learning from experts on a variety of science and educational topics. Direct questions to amber.schiltz@nebraska.gov.

Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov to register and get more information.

Wildcat Hills to host Beautiful Butterflies homeschool program

Learn about butterflies, their adaptions and the places they call home during the Wildcat Hills Homeschool program Beautiful Butterflies on March 16.

This program meets at 10 a.m. Mountain time at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Venture Parks offer education programs in March

A variety of fun, educational events are scheduled throughout March in Nebraska’s Venture Parks.

Venture Parks, Nebraska’s four state parks and recreation areas along the Platte River – Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area – are where unique experiences and enhanced camping opportunities have been created in response to demand.

Events include:

Spring Break Days – Fight boredom and spend a day off from school at Spring Break Days. This fun, educational event will be March 10 and 17 at Schramm Education Center.

The theme is Fabulous Foxes, as participants learn all about foxes. There are activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and ages 4-12, and ages 3 and under free.

Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov to get more information.

Animal Feedings – Observe an animal feeding daily at 10:30 a.m. in March at Schramm Education Center and learn about the park’s animal care and the animals’ unique adaptations. This program is free with paid admission and will meet in the lobby.

Celebrate spring and World Frog Day – The official start of spring is March 20, which also is World Frog Day. Hop on out to Schramm Education Center to learn about frogs and take a spring stroll outside. We’ll gather at 11 a.m. in the lobby. No admission required for this free, outdoor program.

Geocaching in an app with Adventure Lab – The Venture Park Adventure is a virtual geocache program that will lead participants on a mission through the four Venture Parks. Download the Adventure Lab app, then use your phone’s native QR code scanner to open the NGPC Venture Adventure and start exploring park destinations. Each GPS location will give a clue to solve and enter in the app to complete the challenge.

Educator workshop includes opportunity to visit greater prairie-chicken lek

Join Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Game and Parks for a combined Project Learning Tree and Project WILD workshop focused on the biology and behaviors of greater prairie-chickens. This workshop March 17-18 in North Platte will equip educators with curriculum and the experience of seeing prairie chickens in-person before teaching about them in their classroomsDuring this workshop at the West Central Research and Extension Center, participants will have the opportunity to view a lek from a viewing blind to watch the birds’ unique mating rituals.

Lessons covered during this workshop will best suit educators of youth in K-8 settings, but all educators are welcome to attend.

Full scholarships are available to cover the cost of registration thanks to the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Email jack.hilgert@unl.edu.

Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov to get more information.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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