As part of their annual meeting, the Nebraska Chapter of the Wildlife Society held a student conclave at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies in Wood River, Nebraska on February 25th.
This event attracted 45 students from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Wayne State College, and Chadron State collge, connecting them with ten biologists and wildlife professionals. It was a chance for them to experience firsthand some of the nuts and bolts of grassland conservation.
“The Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies are great outdoor classrooms. We can see a range of prairie types all in one place, as well as the tools and facilities used to manage and restore them,” said Dr. Larkin Powell, University of Nebraska at Lincoln Professor and co-advisor of the UNL Wildlife Club.
Sessions on nature photography, prairie restoration, seed processing, prescribed fire use and planning, and prairie management were led by Conservancy staff and Gerry Steinauer, a botanist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Students analyzed the contents of pheasant and prairie chicken crops (a food storage structure in the esophagus) and gained experience using radio telemetry.
“I hope we gave the students a chance to see why prairie conservation is so important,” said Chris Helzer, Eastern Nebraska Program Director. “This is the next generation of conservationists. Days like these get them out of the classroom and into the field with people who have the kinds of jobs they’re hoping to get when they graduate.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.