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Latest Features

Fishing Flanagan – A Lake in the City

Flanagan Lake in Omaha offers anglers action-packed fishing in the spring. Story and photos by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley “You call this a lake?” said my friend Hank Shaw as we unloaded out of the truck on a weekday morning in April. From the southwest parking lot near Fort and 168th streets, Flanagan Lake in Omaha looked little more than a pond. Hank didn’t know that the rest of the lake was obscured, and I had forgotten it. The last time I was …

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Nebraska Nature in Color – Blue Hair and Bumble Bees

Community science specialist Alie Mayes talks about the challenges in sharing her love of nature with her nephew. By Alie Mayes, Community Science Specialist As I was scrolling through the photos on my phone the other day, I realized that the majority of my pictures consist of three things: nature, nature for iNaturalist and the people/pets I love. There were a few pictures that made me stop and smile. Last summer, my nephew, Aiden (then 8 years old), came to …

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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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A Guide to Herping

Try a new outdoor activity this spring. Herping is the practice of searching for reptiles and amphibians. By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist Looking for ways to get kids outside and away from their screens and tablets? Taking a nature walk or going on a scavenger hunt in the backyard are classic examples. Families with children also love the idea of “firsts”: The first time their children sleep under the stars, the first time they reel in a fish or …

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The Diversity of Eggs

Egg shape, color and size are remarkable adaptations for successful reproduction.  By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist Eggs are fascinating biological structures that serve as the cornerstone of reproduction for numerous species across the animal kingdom. From the familiar chicken egg to the exotic eggs of reptiles and insects, the world of animal eggs is as diverse as the species that lay them. In this article, we explore the various types of eggs laid by different species and uncover the …

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The Missing Memory Card

By Gerry Steinauer, Botanist Like other nature photographers, I often return to a prairie or woodland for another round of photographs. Sometimes it is because Mother Nature does not cooperate — the light is bad or it is too windy to take close-up photos. Other times, the subjects do not cooperate. They won’t sit still, or I’m unable to creep close enough. Lastly, I occasionally do something that is mechanically boneheaded with my camera that results in poor photos or …

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Cope’s Gray Treefrog

The Cope’s gray treefrog plays a vital role in forest and wetland ecosystems of Nebraska. By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist Meet the Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), a captivating amphibian found across eastern North America. Sporting subtle grays and greens adorned with intricate patterns on its skin, this arboreal frog is celebrated for its adaptability and enchanting calls. Despite its small size, this treefrog plays a vital role in the forest and wetland ecosystems where it lives. Appearance When …

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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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Beautifully Functional Fishing Lures

The work of wooden lure carver Vince Gewinner Story and photos by Jeff Kurrus Wood-carved praying hands for his mother and obscene gesturing fingers for his father. This is the talent, and personality, of Weeping Water creator Vince Gewinner. Yet despite the multitude of carvings he’s made — from recurve bows and backwoods utensil sets to keychain ceramics and home décor — his current passion is homemade fishing lures. But they’re not fishing lures to set on the shelf. They …

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Smiley Canyon Scenic Drive

A scenic drive at Fort Robinson State Park has a colorful, and sometimes treacherous, history. Story and photos by Justin Haag Smiley Canyon Scenic Drive has long allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the grandeur of the Pine Ridge without leaving their vehicles. The winding road has surely brought some smiles to drivers — and, yes, some frowns in its early years. Believed to have been named for a family of Smileys that settled in the vicinity in 1893, the …

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