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    Making memories…before they fade away.

    Making memories…before they fade away.

    Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives and jobs that we lose sight of the bigger picture.  At a recent staff meeting, one of our newer and younger Parks Division employees, Brock Burney, gave a presentation about a special event they put together and hosted at Mormon Island SRA this summer.  They had a terminally ill teenager, whose last wish was to go fishing.  They put together a fishing package for the individual, planned an event and took them fishing.  In the summary of the presentation, Brock mentioned that a lot of what we do is “making memories”.

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    Specks in the sky

    Specks in the sky

    Well, fall is definitely here as the brown, yellow, orange and red leaves on trees and shrubs will attest to.  Our lawn is showing signs of dormancy, which means no more mowing, but it is also starting to disappear under fallen leaves, which of course means other yard work will need to be done.  Fall is a great time to be outdoors, whether doing yard work, having a picnic, or even playing catch at the park.  Recently my kids and I were tossing a football around at our local football field during mid-afternoon.  I heard a distant but familiar call, the call of the Sandhill Crane.  “Cranes!”, I said to my kids and their friends.  We all looked and listened for nearly five minutes, trying to find them, and finally directly overhead, at an altitude that most small airplanes won’t even reach, there they were, specks in the sky.

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    Sandy Channel – For Fun, Fishing, Camping, Birdwatching

    Sandy Channel – For Fun, Fishing, Camping, Birdwatching

    If you camp, bird, fish, snorkel, canoe, kayak, photograph, or enjoy the many other facets of nature’s playground, collect your gear and cruise to Sandy Channel – 3 miles south of Elm Creek on Highway 183. Sandy Channel  State Recreation Area (SRA) is dusting off  and showing off  spiffy new features.  The clear, clean  lakes are stocked for fun fishing.  The fishing  delight factor is escalated by improved shoreline access, walking trails, and boat ramps.

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    Don’t be a “weedist”…

    Don’t be a “weedist”…

    What a beautiful spring we have had….not too hot….and abundant precipitation, possibly a little too much but can’t complain about that after not-too-distant drought years.  The abundant moisture has led to good growth of grasses, weeds and wildflowers already and promises of more vegetation growth to come.  There was a word in my last sentence that may have made some of you go “ugh…no kidding” – weeds.

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    Nebraska International Migratory Bird Month

    Nebraska International Migratory Bird Month

    Started in 1993, International Migratory Bird Day is celebrated annually on the second Saturday of May. It is a chance for conservationists, natural resource agencies, families and individuals to celebrate birds and bird migration.

    Realizing that birds are critical to Nebraska’s ecosystems and economy, the Nebraska organizers decided to create a month-long celebration of birds, bird watching and bird migration. Agencies and organizations across the state have planned events throughout the month of May.

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    Fabulous Flocks of February

    Fabulous Flocks of February

    For our shortest month, February always seems long to me. Days are shorter (daylight) but getting longer (a couple minutes each day). Weather is typically not all that great. Fishing is typically not easy to do (I do NOT ice fish). Most hunting seasons are over. And the winter birds, as much as I love seeing them…..are getting a little mundane. Right in the middle of February though, we have the Great Backyard Bird Count

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    A few of my favorite things…about winter

    A few of my favorite things…about winter

    “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens….” Some of you will quickly recognize that opening line to the song “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music”. I don’t know when I last heard it, but I thought of it the other day while I was trying to brainstorm for this newsletter and it reminded me of a few of my favorite things about winter.

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    Twas the Bird Count of Christmas

    Twas the Bird Count of Christmas

    ‘Twas the season of Christmas and all cross the land,

    Birdwatchers were gathering, Christmas Bird Counts were planned.

    The circles were drawn on the maps with great care,

    In hopes that great numbers of birds would be there.

    Birdwatchers were nestled all snug in their beds,

    While visions of winter birds flew through their heads.

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    FROZEN…

    FROZEN…

    After a very mild start to fall, who would have foreseen that our mid-November weather, our open water habitats and one of the top-selling kids’ movies of the year would all have so much in common? We had such a nice fall going, but one arctic blast and the answer to, “do you want to build a snowman?” would have been “NO!” (even if we had enough snow) because it was suddenly too cold to be outside. Temperatures plummeted from as high as the 70s to barely double digits in less than 48 hours. And unlike our typical first cold fronts, this one held on and just wouldn’t let go.

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    Is Nebraska one of the 10 best places to watch birds? We vote yes.

    Is Nebraska one of the 10 best places to watch birds? We vote yes.

    We have always said that southwest and south central Nebraska offer some of the best bird watching sites in the country and now 10best.com, a travel and lifestyle website from USA Today, has included Nebraska’s Platte River Valley among the nominees for the 10 Best Bird Watching Sites in the U.S.

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