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Catch these Game and Parks education events in July

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in July.

Don’t forget to purchase a vehicle park entry permit to enter the state parks, except one is not required to park in the Schramm Education Center parking lot. Get one at or at state park entrances.

Here are some opportunities:

Little Saplings presents Caterpillars on July 3

Adults looking to explore the outdoors with their young children are invited to Little Saplings, a monthly early childhood nature discovery program at Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

The 2024 series, which occurs the first Wednesday of the month, continues July 3 with the theme Caterpillars at 9 and 10 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregivers. The cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Venture Parks to host SRA Saturdays

Park educators will be out and about at Nebraska’s state recreation areas along the Platte River on select Saturdays this summer. Visitors are invited to join them.

There will be an observation station and a variety of outdoor activities to explore. Look for the naturalist table and stop by any time between 1 and 3:30 p.m.

The stops will be July 6 at Memphis SRA (meet near the playground and nearby shelter), July 13 at Louisville SRA (meet at the shelter across from concessions), July 20 at Schramm Park SRA (meet at the shelter by the first pond), and July 27 at Two Rivers SRA (meet at the shelter north of Lakeside Campground).

Flock to Birds of a Feather on July 9

Get ready to go birding by participating in the new Birds of a Feather program at 9:30 a.m. on select Tuesdays at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center.

On July 9, the topic for this free, bird-related program for all ages will be Wading into Shorebirds. Learn about the other species of birds, other than ducks and geese, that inhabit the wetlands.

Lake Zorinsky to host Kayak Cleanup

Wildlife and people need clean and healthy spaces to live and enjoy. Join Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor educators July 9 at Omaha’s Lake Zorinsky for a night of service – removing trash from the lake while kayaking.

Trash bags and gloves will be provided as leaders and volunteers clean up trash from 6-8 p.m.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own kayaks, but a limited number of kayaks will be available on a first-come basis. Registration is required.

For more information, including where to meet, and to register, visit the calendar event entry at

Wise and Wild is July 9 at James Family Conservatory

Wise and Wild is a program for those age 55 and up who love the outdoors. It will be at 3 p.m. on select Tuesdays at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center.

On June 4, the topic for this free event will be Nature Photography. Bring a camera or smart phone and learn the basics of nature photography.

‘Science of’ virtual webinar series returns in July

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s popular “Science of” virtual webinar series returns in July.

On select Thursdays at 3 p.m. Central time, Game and Parks educators will discuss some of the science behind common things regarding nature and animals.

The hourlong webinars are free, but separate registration is required for each. See the calendar event entries at for registration links.

The webinar schedule of topics: July 11 – The Sandhills; July 18 – Ticks.

The webinars will be recorded and posted to the Nebraska Game and Parks YouTube Education Channel.

Contact for more information. Check out the events on Game and Parks’ Facebook page and the Nebraska Project WILD Facebook page.

Curious Caterpillars program is July 13

Quality time in nature has several benefits for young children. It increases creativity, problem-solving skills, and intellectual, social and physical development. Adults benefit, too. Come to Lincoln’s Mahoney Park on July 13 for the Curious Caterpillars program.

This free, two-hour program, at 9 a.m. at Shelter No. 1 near the entrance, is designed for infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children. There will be a nature discovery area, live animals, a wildlife habitat station, and a nature crafts station.

See the calendar event entry at to register. For questions, contact Kara Kniep at

Apply for Master Naturalist Training

Complete the weeklong training to become a certified Nebraska Master Naturalist. This Complete Training July 14-20 is at the Niobrara Valley Preserve north of Johnstown.

Content areas can include natural resource interpretation, conservation biology and ecology, outdoor skills, resource management, community science, reptiles, amphibians, turtles, mammals, insects, aquatic ecosystems, geology, grasslands ecology, woodland ecology, and human dimensions/naturalist ethics.

The Nebraska Master Naturalist Program is an adult conservation and environmental education program combining indoor presentations and hands-on field experiences to teach conservation volunteers about Nebraska’s natural resources.

For more information or to apply, visit the calendar event entry at Email any questions to

Homeschool Hikes set for July 17 at Schramm

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program at 9 a.m. July 17. This month’s theme is Frogs and Toads.

Homeschool Hikes is a monthly nature exploration program hosted by the Schramm Education Center geared toward homeschool families and ages 5 and up.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at

Burrowing owls subject of Nebraska Master Naturalist webinar

The Master Naturalist Mondays virtual webinar series continues at 12:30 p.m. Central July 22 with Burrowing Owls: Getting to Know the Critter on the Nebraska Master Naturalist Logo.

Presenter Jason Thiele, a wildlife biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, will discuss the history of burrowing owls, provide tips for finding and observing them, and suggest possible ways to benefit them based on research.

Nebraska Master Naturalist is a statewide volunteer conservation program. The program recruits, trains, manages, and provides resources for our volunteer naturalist members. This free webinar series hosts a variety of presenters and subject matter. It allows Nebraska Master Naturalist to connect to its conservation motivations and inspirations and its naturalist community across the state.

For more information, to register, or find previously recorded webinars in the series, visit the calendar event entry at Email any questions to

Facilitator training to be held in Norfolk

Training is available for facilitators in the curriculums of Project Learning Tree, Project WET and Project WILD.

This training July 23-24 at the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District in Norfolk will equip participants to lead professional development events for early childhood, K-12, and nonformal educators centered on the trusted, quality Project Learning Tree, Project WET and Project WILD suite of curriculum.

See the calendar event entry at for more information. Email with questions.

Experience Moth Lighting Bioblitz at Schramm

In celebration of Nebraska Moth Week, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and the Nebraska Extension are hosting a Moth Lighting Bioblitz from 8:30-10:30 p.m. July 27.

Learn about Nebraska moths by observing them and other nocturnal insects attracted to a light at night and help collect data about insect diversity in the park.

The iNaturalist app will be used to document the species encountered, and data collected will contribute to the Biodiversity in Nebraska State Parks initiative.

The event is free. Meet at the Education Center.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at or 402-471-5008.

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