Monday, September 27, 2010

Whooper Watch Training set for October at the Center and the Crane Trust

UPDATE: FALL TRAININGS Dr. Gil will be at the Nature Center this Wednesday October 20 at 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP to Dr Gil. You can contact Karin at 308-384-4633 x 111 for more information or to register.

Call Whooper Watch 1-888-3WWATCH (1-888-399-2824) if you have spotted a whooping crane.

It’s time once again to turn our eyes to the skies and enjoy Nebraska’s spring migration season. One of the most exciting things for birdwatcher to find is a whooping crane. (grus americana) That means it’s time to roll out the whooper watch program again this year.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open House Video Posted

The Grand Island Independent produced a nice video for our upcoming open house.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Orchids on the Prairie

When you think of places to find orchids, you might picture a tropical rainforest . . . or perhaps a nursery greenhouse. But at least two native orchids grow on the prairie, and I was surprised to find one of them is in full bloom along our prairie trail. (Thanks Paul for the heads' up!)

Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua) is the most common species of orchid found here. "Common" is a relative term here, as you certainly won't find them on every prairie. I've only seen Ladies' Tresses at one other site in central Nebraska, and I'm told they've since disappeared from that location.

Stalks of Ladies' Tresses are typically no more than a foot high and can be easily missed among clumps of taller grasses. When you find one, make sure to get close and give a good sniff . . . the scent is well worth grass stains on the knees of your jeans.

Ladies' Tresses are occasionally available for sale as a garden plant. I tried some in my yard and had no luck at all, perhaps because its roots need to form an association with a certain species of fungus. No fungus, no Ladies' Tresses. Perhaps thumbs greener than mine have had more success.

Our Open House this Saturday provides a great chance to see a native orchid. We'll treat you to a hot dog while you're here. Check it out!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wild about the Nebraska State Fair

We've partnered with our friends at the University of Nebraska 4H program to create a "Wild About 4H Pavilion" at the Nebraska State Fair held in Grand Island. We've met a lot of great people and have had a chance to visit about our Center and about wildlife in general. We have also partnered with Hastings College, Nebraska Game & Parks, the Wood Carvers of Grand Island, the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, and Central Community College to provide program and activities. We've had a bunch of volunteers to help us get this done as well!

Here's few photos from our tent at the Nebraska State Fair.:

We had out river model "flume" on hand allowing kids and people of all ages to get their hands in the river and do a little engineering.

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