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greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

Going tubing on a river? Here are the things to know before you go!

Ahhh … Leisurely floating on one of Nebraska’s many scenic rivers or streams in an inflated inner tube is a cool, refreshing, relaxing, way to enjoy a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? Oh, yes! Summer river or stream tubing is fun, there is nothing like it! However, some recreational tubers on flowing waters get into trouble and actually end up spoiling their own float trip as well as the reputation of other law-abiding, ethical tubers! In addition, tubing …

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Bluegill are a Great Catch in Summer

It’s hot. It’s humid. Whew! Yeah, it’s summer alright. Hey, has your fishing success slowed with the conditions? Well, one fish leads the way with lots of action provided to anglers in the good, old summertime — bluegill. A male bluegill stands guard on its nest in a southern Nebraska pond. Underwater photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 57 years of age (approaching 58), I still …

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There is no excuse for not wearing a life jacket on the water!

It bothers me to no end that people have such cavalier excuses regarding why they don’t want to wear life jackets on the water in a boat. In my 41 years at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I have seen my share of boating tragedies. I have seen the victims of boating fatalities who were not wearing their life jackets. You never, ever forget them. Often the victims died right in front of close family members and good friends …

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Wildflower Power: Promoting Pollinator Week

What you may not know about me is that I am 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, ant, wasp, bat, bird or …

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Nebraska’s water trails offer more than just a float trip

Eager to get on the water? Yeah, me, too. This is a perfect time to float Nebraska’s water trails. During the current pandemic, you can easily go with the folks in your household, (socially) distance yourselves from others, and keep your hands washed floating the state’s pristine rivers and streams. There are dozens of other reasons to take a float trip, to boot. You can do it for the openness and space that it offers and the adventure of going …

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Plan ahead and stay safe when having fun on the water

The Nebraska state park system offers some fantastic beaches for swimming and wading, and they’re open now! More than two dozen state recreation areas offer a chance for everyone to catch some rays, play in the sand and cool off in the water of lakes and reservoirs during hot days, as long as COVID-19 health guidelines and measures are followed. Beach swimming is blast! My family and I really enjoy it. However, drowning in dark water is a real danger. Even …

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What is that mushroom? Is it edible?

*BLOGGER’S NOTE: I have been inundated with inquiries and questions about the dryad’s saddle or pheasant’s back mushroom this spring. So I wanted to bring back and repurpose a blog I wrote a little more than one-year ago about this edible, wild woodland fungi. I hope you find it helpful and informative. Enjoy your time in the woods! GW. Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is another edible wild fungi growing in your moist woodlands that you should …

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Reel Therapy: Fishing!

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. We have been staying at home for the most part with trips pretty much only being made to the grocery store, gas station or nearby trail for exercise. One activity though that has been very popular in Nebraska throughout this unprecedented time: Fishing! Recreational fishing is a legitimate outdoor lifestyle activity solidly rooted in science. Fisheries conservation and management balance the needs of people with consideration for …

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8 Great Grilling Tips

The warmer weather is here and it’s time to fire up that grill, if you haven’t done so already! Some of us grill meat and other foods year-round, while the rest of us are probably just beginning. Regardless, as the weather improves and becomes more summer-like, it means more home-cooked, barbecued meals for the folks in your household. Grilled Nebraska steaks. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Though I may not cook much (my wife will tell you …

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Late Season Turkey Tips: Gettin’ That Gobbler

We are in the late season for spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska. Using a baseball analogy, it is the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is behind, the bases are loaded, there are two outs and you are up to bat! I don’t think there is any doubt about it, spring turkey hunting late in the season is challenging. However, there are still plenty of gobbles to be heard and birds to be worked plus amazing experiences to …

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