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renae blum

Renae works for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and has written for NEBRASKAland Magazine and the Lincoln Journal Star.

Return of the Falcons

A Lincoln falcon enthusiast livestreams capitol building chicks By Renae Blum Jeanne Hibbert is glowing. It’s the day after three new falcon chicks were banded at the Nebraska State Capitol Building – an event she was invited to attend and livestreamed for her falcon-dedicated Facebook page. “It was nice to be back, because we hadn’t been there since 2016,” Hibbert said, smiling. Hibbert has a lot to smile about these days. For the past 12 years, she’s managed a growing …

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Breaking Down Birding Barriers

A woman with binoculars points in the distance with a group of people

Meet a Nebraska woman working for more inclusive and accessible birding in the state. By Renae Blum In conversation, Cassandra Dean smiles easily and laughs often. But her eyes well up with tears remembering a birding event she led last fall at Indian Cave State Park. Hosted on a newly-built trail designed to be accessible, Dean’s outing was described as “birding for everybody and every body” – inclusive to people with disabilities and other health concerns. At the event, Dean …

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Unearthing Treasures – Rockhounding in Nebraska

Rockhounds spend hours, days searching for rocks, minerals, artifacts and fossils. Story and photos by Renae Blum Over 35 years of searching Nebraska for rocks, minerals, fossils and artifacts, Charles Wooldridge’s biggest find wasn’t even his. It was his dog’s. Wooldridge — who goes by “Wooly” and lives in Lincoln — was in the north-central Sandhills, trying unsuccessfully to relocate an earlier find. And then his dog Hank, a 7-year-old Plott hound, began barking and wouldn’t stop. Hank was standing …

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Volunteer Spotlight – The Geocaching Duo

Husband and wife team design and place 60 geocaches at Niobrara State Park. By Renae Blum Thanks to Liz and Gary Doerr of Creighton, guests at Niobrara State Park in northeastern Nebraska have new ways to enjoy their visit. The couple has designed and placed about 60 geocaches at the park, allowing visitors to use their GPS or phone to discover hidden treasures – containers of various shapes and sizes holding a logbook and, sometimes, small trinkets for trade. Geocaching …

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A Backyard Prairie

An Acreage Transformed Story and photos by Renae Blum When Sue Kirkpatrick bought her acreage in 2013, which is 3 miles east of Lincoln, she didn’t intend to become a native prairie hobbyist. After 30 years of living in neighborhoods with city ordinances, neighborhood covenants and manicured lawns, Kirkpatrick simply desired the freedom to do what she wanted in a more relaxed environment. But things changed after she signed up for the Nebraska Master Naturalist Program in 2014. The program …

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Your Nebraska State Parks — Indoor Style

When it’s too cold to play outside, check out these fun, indoor activities at your state parks. By Renae Blum When it’s too cold to be outdoors, you don’t have to stay cooped up at home. Try any of these opportunities for indoor fun, where you can learn more about nature and Nebraska history, get active or be entertained. Educational Opportunities Interested in learning more about a particular place? Then you’ll love the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, which explores the …

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Meet Big Snap Daddy

Meet the star of Schramm Education Center. By Renae Blum Meet the star of Schramm Education Center’s aquarium, Big Snap Daddy. Weighing 98 pounds, he is considered the world’s largest common snapping turtle. He is also estimated to be over 90 years old. In the wild, common snapping turtles live an average of 30 years and grow to be about 35 pounds. Learn more about this remarkable creature from Schramm Park superintendent and aquarium director Tony Korth. How did Big …

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Nebraska Fall Park Getaways

Nine Nebraska parks for fall camping By Renae Blum Fall has returned with cool breezes, turning leaves and plentiful opportunities to get outdoors. Here are nine Nebraska state park or recreation areas that are prime spots to book a stay and enjoy a fall getaway. Niobrara State Park Niobrara State Park is a hidden gem in north-central Nebraska overlooking the confluence of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers; it’s perfect for relaxing and recharging in a peaceful, natural setting. This park …

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Three Outdoor Apps

By Renae Blum Wish your kids spent more time outdoors and less time in front of a screen? It’s a common concern. Rather than cutting out electronics completely, a phone can be a great tool in helping spark a child’s curiosity and interest in the outdoors. Give the three apps below a try. All are free, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store — and can enrich your family’s experience of the outdoors. Merlin Bird ID Kids …

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Five Wonderful Winter Trails

By Renae Blum Get outdoors this winter and enjoy the invigorating fresh air of a winter’s day on a Nebraska state park trail. These five trails are excellent choices, offering wildlife viewing, shelter from the wind and beautiful, scenic views to appreciate. Bring a friend and take in the unique beauty that this time of year offers. Turkey Run Trail – Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area Shielded from the winter wind, this 1.2-mile trail at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area …

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