Home » Flora & Fauna

Flora & Fauna

Raven’s Return

By Joel G. Jorgensen Before Nebraska was settled by European Americans, its vast open areas were inhabited by the common raven. Ravens are similar to American crows, but are larger with a more extensive vocal repertoire that includes husky guttural croaks. With the disappearance of the vast herds of bison in the late 1800s, the raven was soon to follow, retreating to mountainous areas of the west and forests of the far north. However, this adaptable and widespread species was …

Read More »

My City Sanctuary

Story and photos by Marissa Jensen Quiet amid noise seems like a contradiction, and yet, I’ve discovered it in the most surprising of places. Omaha is a bustling city where everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere — now. This incessant busyness is overwhelming. Every day, as weekdays feel longer and demands scream louder, I feel a part of me slipping away in all the noise. It was on such a morning, while in search of something “more” both …

Read More »

A Researcher’s Field Season – Part II

By Allison Barg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Graduate Assistant Welcome back! We are now a little over halfway through the pheasant breeding season, a.k.a my field season. Here is an update on what’s going on in the field this week. If you missed reading Part I of this series, catch up here: http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2022/04/a-researchers-field-season-part-i/ May 2, 2022 3:30 a.m. – If you read my last post, you may be thinking, “Wow, that seems a lot earlier than last time.” That is …

Read More »

It’s Time to Stalk Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

The apple blossoms have emerged. Why is that important? It is a reliable indicator that tells me I now will find one of my most valued vegetables in Nebraska’s rural landscape — wild asparagus. The wild asparagus harvest season almost always overlaps with the emergence of apple blossoms in my eastern Nebraska area. Apple blossoms. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Sure enough, I was right! Wild asparagus emerging in mid May in eastern Nebraska. Photo by Greg …

Read More »

Wetland Wander

A busy outdoor educator spends a day outside on her own. By Grace Gaard, Outdoor Educator When I was younger, time seemed to go on forever as I spent much of it exploring the outdoors. Now as an adult, I’ve recently realized that my time in nature has changed. While I absolutely love facilitating students’ exploration of nature as an outdoor educator at Game and Parks, I’m realizing that making time to explore nature for myself is something I need …

Read More »

Urban Wildlife

Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Educator Although “urban wildlife” might sound contradictory, there is in fact a great amount of wildlife that you can view from your backyard, a city park or even downtown Omaha – you might see peregrine falcon roosting on our state capitol, or a garter snake in a sump pump, or a mallard duck that has taken up residence in your tulips. Urban wildlife has come a long way since the time of our ancestors. These animals have …

Read More »

What to know about the morel mushroom hunting season that has begun

Good news … The morel mushroom hunting season has begun! Morels are now being found near dead and decaying hardwood trees like cottonwoods and elms in moist eastern Nebraska river bottom woodlands. Tersh Kepler of Omaha is Nebraska’s morel mushroom hunting expert with more than 50 years of experience and he points out there are some important things to know about morel mushroom hunting before venturing to the woods. Kepler found early season morels with the arrival of May and …

Read More »

Turtle Love

By Gerry Steinauer, Botanist One morning last June, while photographing wildflowers in the Sandhills blowout, I came upon a pair of ornate box turtles. I determined, based on eye color — male box turtles have red eyes, while a female’s are yellowish-brown — that they were of the opposite sex, apparently an amorous couple on a blowout tryst. And I was intruding. I hated to be rude, but with no box turtle photographs in my portfolio, this was, for me, …

Read More »

Finding Nature Under the Night Sky

By Amber Schiltz, Wildlife Educator What does nature mean to you? As a wildlife educator, I get to hear a variety of answers when I ask this question of both students and adults. For many, it means playing outside, climbing trees, looking for bugs and birds, or watching clouds float by. For others, nature is found when engaging with its bountiful resources through fishing or hunting, or getting our hands in the soil and planting our gardens. I find meaning …

Read More »

A Researcher’s Field Season – Part I

By Allison Barg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Graduate Assistant “I put pheasant habitat on my property. Why don’t I have any pheasants?” University of Nebraska-Lincoln biologists are trying to answer this question. Many Nebraska landowners and wildlife managers have noticed that in parts of the state where there are swaths of land covered in what looks to be ideal pheasant habitat, there are no pheasants. It turns out that the “if you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t always …

Read More »