Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Catch Nebraska Game and Parks education events in April

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in April. Here are some opportunities:

Little Saplings program presents Terrific Trout

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 2023 series continues April 5 with the theme Terrific Trout at 9 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregiver. The cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult per program and includes admission to the Education Center after the program.

See the calendar event entry at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov for more information.

Wildcat Tales preschool program is April 11

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will host the monthly Wildcat Tales preschool program April 11.

The program Rowdy Reptiles will meet at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. Mountain time. There will be a lesson plan, story and hands-on activity specifically targeted for children ages 2-6.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information, contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Homeschool Hike set for April 19-20 at Schramm Park SRA

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike to learn about bird language at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program at 9 a.m. April 19 and 2 p.m. April 20.

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

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov. Cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult per program. This includes admission to the Schramm Education Center after the program. Schramm Family Pass members participate free.

This program is recommended for ages 5 and up.

Participants should dress in season-appropriate layers and wear closed-toed shoes that can get dirty. Hats and water bottles are recommended.

Connecting Communities to Urban Biodiversity is topic of webinar

Join the free virtual webinar Connecting Communities to Urban Biodiversity: The What, the Why, and the How at 12:30 p.m. Central time April 12.

Learn why urban biodiversity is so important and how we connect our communities to it to inspire stewardship.

This webinar is part of the Conservation Education Lunch and Learn Series, which dives into the science behind educational efforts and practices by learning from experts on a variety of science and educational topics. Direct questions to amber.schiltz@nebraska.gov.

Visit the event listing at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov to register and get more information.

Enjoy Frog Fun at Schramm Education Center

Celebrate national frog month in April by making a foldable frog lifecycle booklet from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the maker space at the Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

While you’re there, discover some fun facts and information about these awesome amphibians.

The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and ages 4-12, and ages 3 and under are free.

Wildcat Hills to host Fishy Friends homeschool program

Participants will learn about different types of fish, fish anatomy and take part in an art project during the Wildcat Hills Homeschool program Fishy Friends on April 13.

This program meets at 10 a.m. Mountain time at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Serenity Garden open house is April 22 at Schramm

Join an open house for the new Serenity Garden, located between Schramm Education Center and Schramm Park State Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to noon April 22.

The garden includes signage encouraging activities supporting serenity in the outdoors, an art feature including the work of local artisans, and stone benches. Master Naturalist Jeff Lacey will share his knowledge about nature journaling before an 11 a.m. guided hike to experience nature journaling.

The program is free, but a park entry permit is required.

Go on a frog hike this spring

It is mating season for frogs and the right time of year to hear their calls after dusk. So, why not go on a frog hike this spring? Nebraska state parks are wonderful places to keep an ear out.

Male frogs use their calls to attract a mate and can also use alarm calls to signal a predator. Listen to their chorus and try to identify a few of the 11 types of frogs and toads in Nebraska.

Frogs are most active at night and prefer areas with emerging vegetation and stagnant water. Your likelihood of hearing frogs is greater with warmer temperatures, low wind and with little-to-no precipitation.

Boreal chorus frogs are about the size of a quarter. Their call is a series of rapid short notes that sound like running your fingers down the length of a comb. Northern leopard frogs have a long, deep croaking call. Blanchard’s cricket frogs have a loud clicking sound, like tapping marbles together. Cope’s gray tree frogs make a fast, angry sounding “blaaaapt!” or yell, “blah! blah!” Bullfrogs are the bass section of the chorus, with a deep sounding “jug-o-rum” call.