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Branched Oak to host modified Spooktacular event

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Branched Oak State Recreation Area will host its annual Spooktacular event with a few modifications this year due to the novel coronavirus and local health recommendations. Middle Oak Creek Campground (Area 4) will host its annual campground-decorating contest on Oct. 17, but all other park activities have been cancelled. This includes the popular haunted hayrack rides as social distancing cannot be maintained. People are invited and encouraged, however, to drive through the campground to see the Halloween …

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Fish for Rainbows in Nebraska

Rainbow Trout being released

By Larry Pape Nebraska Game and Parks Commission LINCOLN, Neb. — A rainbow trout is as beautiful as its namesake, no matter where it appears. But come mid-October, this fish will be swimming in city park ponds and state park lakes across Nebraska. This is a rainbow anyone can easily catch. Here is how: Fishing gear and bait – Keep it simple! Simple rods and reels are best. Fancier ones work, but for young and old alike, the push-button spin-cast …

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Health alert issued for Bluestem; three other Game and Parks lakes remain on alert

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LINCOLN, Neb. – A health alert for harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, has been issued for Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County. The alert remains in effect for Pawnee and Wagon Train lakes in Lancaster County and Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County. Visitors to Bluestem, Pawnee (east and west beaches), Willow Creek and Wagon Train state recreation areas should avoid full-body contact activities that could lead to swallowing water, such as swimming, wading, skiing or jet …

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Schramm Education Center closed Sept. 22

Schramm Education Center

LINCOLN, Neb. – Schramm Education Center in Gretna will be closed Sept. 22 during construction on the parking lot. Visitors can still access Schramm Park State Recreation Area, located directly east of the facility, to enjoy time outdoors. The park includes ponds, nature trails, a geologic display and a historic fish hatchery. Buy your park entry permits online at OutdoorNebraska.org. For more information, call the education center at 402-332-3901.

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Virtual bird banding programs offered for free

Bird being released

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, in conjunction with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, is hosting a series of live virtual bird banding programs on Tuesdays through Oct. 6. The interactive program is perfect for all ages and will last from 9-10 a.m. CST (8-9 a.m. MST). Registration is required at bit.ly/VirtualBirdBanding. Program participants can expect to see live birds and learn from educators about the species captured, as well as about the process of bird banding. …

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Nebraska Game and Parks to offer interactive online hunting workshops

Learn to Hunt workshops graphic

LINCOLN, Neb. – Unravel the mystery and excitement of hunting by joining Nebraska Game and Parks educators for online Hunting Happy Hour workshops. Starting Sept. 22, these interactive Zoom-based sessions cover everything from basic hunting to waterfowl hunting, upland bird hunting and big game hunting with bow, firearm and muzzleloader. Workshops give newcomers the confidence and knowledge to seek out their own adventures this fall and beyond. Hunting Happy Hour workshops are ideal for adults with little to no hunting …

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Explore creativity with Schramm Education Center Outdoor Studio series

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Schramm Education Center is hosting an Outdoor Studio series at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays that explores creative ways to record nature observations on paper. The one-hour sessions, designed for adults, will examine natural wonders such as birds, bones, insects and leaves. The cost is $5 per session, which includes the time in the education center prior to class beginning. Register online at bit.ly/OutdoorStudio. Classes will be capped at 15 participants. Schedule Sept. 23 — Drawing Birds: Drawing …

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Platte River SP observation tower to close temporarily

Platte River State Park observation tower

LINCOLN, Neb. – Platte River State Park’s Lincoln Journal Star Observation Tower will close temporarily to the public so it can be painted. Located near Walter Scott Jr. Lodge, the tower will be closed Sept. 17 to Nov. 1. Hiking near the tower is permissible, but the area below the tower will be closed to traffic. The Daugherty Tower, located near Mallet Lodge, will remain open, and dining at Walter Scott Jr. Lodge will continue through the maintenance. The observation …

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Kayak Kid Essay Competition accepting submissions through Oct. 15

LINCOLN, Neb. – Youth are invited to enter the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Kayak Kid Essay Competition for the chance to win an outdoors prize package. The contest requires a handwritten 250-word essay expressing why growing up in the outdoors is important. Entries must include a photo of the essay writer at one of the southwest region parks or reservoirs, including Johnson Lake, Elwood Reservoir, Gallagher Canyon Reservoir, Lake Maloney, Sutherland Reservoir, Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and …

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National Reptile Awareness Day art contest begins

Painted turtle

LINCOLN, Neb. — Students across Nebraska are invited to celebrate National Reptile Awareness Day 2020 through an art competition hosted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Young artists in grades K-12 may submit their original artwork of a Nebraska native reptile by Oct. 14 at outdoornebraska.org/reptileart. Each student that submits a digital piece of artwork will receive a Reptile-ology magazine. Winners from each grade level will be selected by Game and Parks staff and announced on National Reptile Awareness Day …

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