WELCOME

This site is designed to be a hub of information about prairies, especially Nebraska prairies,  for landowners, biologists, and communtiy members.  It addresses all aspects of the prairie, including  resources, events, management , guides, restoration techniques, research, outreach, contacts, and much more.  Just click on one of the categories at the top of this page or on one of the links to the right to get started.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center

This 850-acre tallgrass prairie sanctuary offers over three miles of walking trails, native prairie grasslands, wetlands and ponds, wildflowers and grasses, and beautiful scenic vistas. In its midst more than 235 species of birds, 370 species of plants, and other wildlife dwell side-by-side with historic 19th-century wagon ruts from a cutoff to the Oregon Trail.

Family nature programs, school field trips, special events, and burgeoning attendance resulted in the construction of our visitor center, which opened in 2006. Through educating the public about the value of tallgrass prairie while introducing thousands to its beauty and diversity, we are helping preserve this singular — and very threatened — portion of the plains.

The visitor center blends into the natural setting of Spring Creek Prairie. From its green design to the way its aesthetically understated appearance mirrors nature, the facility brings equal attention to both form and function — and proves that understanding is indeed the first step toward caring responsibly for our native land and all its resources.

The Nature Conservancy

Platte Prairies Volunteer Work Days TNC Volunteer Pamphlet

TNC Nebraska manages over 60,000 acres of land. Its programs include prairie restoration, preserving vast native grasslands using bison, cattle and fire as management tools, enhancing unique ecosystems, and battling invasive species.   The Conservancy is using multiple strategies to protect the Platte River, improve conservation on the Missouri River, and protect the wild and scenic characteristics of the Niobrara River.

The Nature Conservancy depends on volunteers like you to achieve its conservation mission and the vision of a world where the diversity of life thrives. At different times of the year and depending on skills and training, volunteers can help with harvesting seed, planting new prairies, controlled burns, removing invasive species, fencing, and many other land management duties.

Volunteering with us is a great way to contribute to the environment, learn more about the natural world while gaining new skills, and meeting people with a shared interest in conservation.

We would love your help with seed harvesting, native plant nursery work, invasive species control, and other jobs to restore and maintain healthy grasslands at the Platte Prairies.

Email Mardell Jasnowski at mjasnowski@tnc.org or call her at (402) 694-4191 to be added to the Platte Prairies Work Days reminder list or to ask questions.

Platte River Prairies Schedule of Work Days – 2022

Last minute cancellations because of weather or other circumstances will be sent by email and phone calls to everyone who had registered to attend on that particular day.  All dates are on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Date Expected Activities
January 29, 2022 Crane blind preparations
February 26, 2022 Crane blind preparations
March – no work days Crane watching events
April 9, 2022 Basal bark treating
April 23, 2022 (April 22 is Earth Day) Basal bark treating
May 7, 2022 Thistle patrol
May 21, 2022 Thistle patrol / tree control
June 11, 2022 Thistle patrol
June 25, 2022 Seed collection
July 9, 2022 Seed collection
July 23, 2022 Seed collection
August 13, 2022 Seed collection
August 27, 2022 Seed collection
September 10, 2022 Seed collection
September 24, 2022 Seed collection?
October 8, 2022 Seed collection?
October 22, 2022 TBD
November 5, 2022 TBD
November 19, 2022 TBD
December 3, 2022 TBD
December 17,2022                  TBD

Plant ID Workshops

The Nature Conservancy will host three plant identification/prairie management workshops this summer.  These workshops are free and designed for anyone working for a conservation organization.  Please forward this to anyone you think would be interested – I’m only sending it to a few people from each organization.

Workshops are scheduled for:

June 23 – The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies (Derr House)

June 28 – The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve

August 30 – The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies (Derr House)

Each day will run from 9:30am to approximately 2:30pm.  Bring your own lunch and water and dress appropriately for a day in the field.  There will be bathroom facilities but we will otherwise be outside for the full time.

The primary focus of the workshops will be plant identification, including a range of prairie habitats.  At the Platte River Prairies, we will look at wet-mesic, mesic and Sandhill plant communities (all in sandy-loam soils).  At the Niobrara Valley Preserve, we’ll see mainly Sandhills upland communities and maybe some Dakota mixed-grass prairie on the north side of the river if there is interest.  We’ll also discuss prairie ecology and various management approaches (and prairie restoration on the Platte) as we visit different sites.

There is no fee for these workshops, but if you plan to participate, please email Mardell Jasnowski (mjasnowski@tnc.org)  so we know how many people are coming and how to contact you if we need to cancel or reschedule because of bad weather or anything else.

If you have questions about the workshops or need directions to the sites, email Chris Helzer.

Platte River Prairies Field Day. July 9, 2022 – The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies

On Saturday July 9, The Nature Conservancy will host a public field day at its Platte River Prairies with events running from 7am to about 2:15pm. This event is open to people of all ages and will be family-friendly. A variety of educational hikes will take place throughout the day, led by scientists and conservation professionals from multiple organizations. You can attend the whole event or just pop in and out for the topics you’re most interested in.

Come learn how to identify prairie birds, grasses, and wildflowers! Catch and learn about insects and their amazing life stories. Tag along with a scientist as he studies the mice and other small mammals that live beneath the grasses. Learn about prairie wetlands and the abundant life that inhabits them. If you’re in the mood to work (a little) you even can help harvest prairie seed for a restoration project.

This will be a fully-outdoors event (with bathrooms available). Please dress for a day outside and bring plenty of food and water to get you through the day, along with sunscreen and insect repellant. The site is located about 2 miles south of the Wood River Exit off of Interstate 80.   See agenda:

https://prairienebraska.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/tnc-platte-river-prairies-2022-field-day.pdf

Prairie Loft

Prairie Loft offers a variety of programs for the general public and specialty groups (schools, clubs, service organizations, etc). Activities include workshops, field trips, summer camps, presentations, cultural events, facility rental, and community gatherings.

To inquire about presentations, service learning, and other education activities, please email hello@prairieloft.org or call 402-463-0565.

 Prairie Plains Resource Institute

Gjerloff Prairie Saturday Series

May & June

Join us on Saturdays in May and June for a relaxed hike and casual conversation at Gjerloff Prairie. Guided hikes with a variety of topics including plant identification, pioneer trail history, prairie insects and river ecology will be followed by refreshments and casual conversation at the Charles L. Whitney Education Center.

Gjerloff Prairie Hike – Wildflowers

Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 9 am

Gjerloff Prairie – 2206 North M Rd, Marquette, NE 68854

Join us Saturday, May 7th, for a hike at Gjerloff Prairie! Enjoy the spring wildflowers while hiking through the prairie bluffs and along the Platte River.

Youth Naturalist Program

YNP – June 27-30, 2022

The Youth Naturalist Program for 6th- through 9th-graders is modeled after SOAR (Summer Orientation About Rivers) but with a more advanced curriculum for a smaller group. Campers get a hands-on look at Nebraska’s natural environment.

Young Nebraska Ecologists

YNE – June 20-23, 2022

Students in grades 9-12 who are looking for a great outdoor adventure this summer are invited to participate in the Young Nebraska Ecologists program where students spend time actively exploring prairies along the Platte River in Hamilton County and travel to experience other ecosystems in Nebraska.

SOAR

Grades 3-6  (July 5-8 or July 12-15, 2022)

SOAR (Summer Orientation About Rivers), our award-winning day camp for third- through sixth-graders, gets kids out in nature to learn and better appreciate where we live. Multiple sessions are offered each July.

Nature Trails & Bison Herd Exhibit
The Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center’s Platte River Discovery Trail is a wonderful destination for all ages. Go birding, cool your feet in the Platte River, spend quiet time with our live bison herd, or relax atop our observation tower with a commanding view of the surrounding prairie and Platte River Valley. Native plants, wildflowers and wildlife abound along miles of natural hiking trails. Open year round and handicap accessible!

 NE Game  & Parks

Project WILD provides interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education curriculum and materials that focus on wildlife. Project WILD programs and materials assist learners of all ages to develop the awareness, knowledge, skills, and commitment to act responsibly in matters concerning wildlife. Nebraska’s Project WILD Program offers educator workshop including: Project WILD, Aquatic WILD, Growing Up WILD and Flying WILD. Additionally, we offer many advanced workshops focusing on specific topics such as bats, pollinators, insects and birds. Workshops are free and provide educators with curriculum guides and resources.

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