Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weekend Wild Walk - Wildflowers

Wildflowers are blooming all over our prairie and landscaping. From hoary vervain to black-eyed susans to purple prairie clover (above), we have a lot of beauty out there.

Join us for a look at these and other wildflowers on this Saturday's Weekend Wild Walk, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and wrapping up by 11 a.m. Bring a camera if you have one.

Weekend Wild Walks are free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weekend Wild Walk - Prairie Seed Collecting

This summer, the nature center has been offering our Weekend Wild Walks, held each Saturday morning from 9:30 to 11 a.m. These walks are designed to introduce people of all ages to the wonders of the prairie and the Platte River.

This coming Saturday, July 9, our wild walk takes us offsite, to the properties of the Nature Conservancy. We'll help the Conservancy collect seed of native prairie plants for use in their restorations. This is a great way to view the prairie up close and begin to learn the plant species that make up this beautiful but still overlooked ecosystem.

We'll meet at the nature center at 9:30 a.m. sharp and caravan or carpool from there. We'll need to leave on time. Please bring work gloves and scissors if you have them; otherwise we can provide these.

Weekend Wild Walks are free of charge and will be offered through August 20. For more information, call us at (308) 382-1820.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekend Wild Walk - Butterflies

Butterflies are the subject of this Saturday's Weekend Wild Walk. And do we have them in abundance!

Undoubtedly the most conspicuous butterfly out there now -- and often sought-after by visitors from elsewhere -- is the regal fritillary. According to Butterflies of North America by Brock and Kaufman, "This well-named regal creature is one of North America's vanishing butterflies," having disappeared from much of their former range, particularly east of the Mississippi River. Fortunately for them -- and for us -- regal fritillaries are doing quite well in Nebraska.

While regals are quite obvious, closer looks reveal plenty of smaller butterflies too. I had to wait for these fulvia (?) checkerspots to calm down, but they finally stood still long enough for me to take their picture. [Butterfly experts can correct me on the ID if I'm wrong.]

So what about that most famous of butterflies, the monarch? Sadly, I've seen only one on the prairie all year, despite plenty of milkweed (their larval plant). Clearly, they are having trouble here as well as on their wintering grounds in Mexico.

The walk begins at the nature center at 9:30 Saturday morning and wraps up by 11. We encourage participants to bring cameras and binoculars (though these are not required). Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. Hope to see you there!