Celebrate the pollinators in the state during Nebraska Pollinator Week on June 17-23 by participating in one of many events hosted by Nebraska Game and Parks or its partners.

Find an event near you at OutdoorNebraska.gov; search “Pollinator Week.” Game and Parks events include:

All month

  • The Nebraska Pollinator Quest is an effort to find and record as many pollinators as possible during Pollinator Week. Participating is easy. Find a pollinator such as a bee, butterfly or hummingbird, then take a photograph of it and upload it to the cellphone app iNaturalist.

June 15

  • The Pollinator Party at Schramm Education Center, Gretna, is an opportunity to see live honey and bumble bees, learn about pollinators, make crafts and more. This event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the education center, 21502 W. Highway 31.

June 18

  • Pollinators at Ponca State Park is an opportunity to learn, explore and find pollinators at this northeast Nebraska state park. This event is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 988090 Spur 26 E, Ponca.

June 19

  • Wildflower Wednesday is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s James Family Conservatory and Nature Center, 28500 W. Park Highway, Ashland.

June 22

  • Pollinators, Plants and Prairie Pines is a buzz-worthy event where participants will discover the vital role bees, butterflies and more play in our ecosystem through interactive activities. This event is co-hosted by Prairie Pines Partners at the Prairie Pines Natural Reserve, 3100 N. 112th, Lincoln.
  • Bee House Making and Keeping, a chance to learn pollinator identification, make a bee house and learn how to keep bees, at 2 p.m. at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, 54731 897 Road, Crofton.

Get more details on these events and others hosted across the state at OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Pollinator Week is an effort to celebrate and raise awareness about pollinators and their conservation. Pollinators add more than $217 billion to the worldwide economy through crop pollination. They pollinate more than 180,000 plant species around the world — including plants that provide food for people, birds and mammals.

Trout in the Classroom accepting applications

Nebraska’s Trout in the Classroom program is accepting applications through August to join the program and earn a scholarship for the 2024-2025 school year.

This program is for teachers interested in raising live fish in their classrooms and utilizing the tanks for countless lesson plans and everyday activities. Teachers will receive all the training and expertise needed to get their program up and running.

Trout in the Classroom is sponsored by the Nebraska Trout Unlimited Chapter 710 and coordinated by Nebraska Game and Parks.

For requirements or more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov and search “Trout in the Classroom,” or contact the program’s state coordinator, Grace Gaard, at [email protected].

Capitol peregrine falcon chicks banded; naming contest begins

Two female and one male peregrine falcon chicks from the nest box near the top of the Nebraska Capitol building in Lincoln were banded and given a checkup June 12.

“The banding went very well and all three chicks appear to be in very good shape,” said Joel Jorgensen, nongame bird program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The young falcons have everything they need to be successful.”

The banding also marks the start of the Name the Chicks contest. Participants may submit suggestions through June 20 at OutdoorNebraska.gov; search for “Name the Chicks.” From the submissions, as many as six finalists will be selected, and anyone can vote for a favorite through a poll live June 21-30. The winner will be announced July 1 and receive a 1-year subscription to Nebraskaland Magazine.

This is the first year since 2016 that peregrine falcon chicks have been raised at the Capitol. The current pair only recently became established. Both adults are banded, and Game and Parks biologists took the opportunity to identify the alphanumeric band combination that will allow them to be identified.  

The chicks were taken from the nest box located on the 18th floor. Jorgensen and Elsa Forsberg of Game and Parks placed unique bands on both legs. Betsy and Doug Finch from the Raptor Conservation Alliance checked for diseases and parasites before the chicks were returned to the nest box.

Continue to watch the chicks grow over the next few weeks. See a streaming video of the falcon nest box at OutdoorNebraska.gov by searching “peregrine falcons.”

Additional assistance at the banding was provided by the Office of the Capitol Commission and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Commissioners to consider 2025 mountain lion season

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider recommendations for a 2025 mountain lion hunting season at its June 21 meeting in Ogallala.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m. Mountain time at the Petrified Wood Gallery, 418 E. 1st St.

For the first time, a hunting season will be proposed for mountain lions in the Wildcat Hills. If approved, a Wildcat Hills Unit will be created, joining the existing Pine Ridge Unit and Niobrara Unit as areas that would allow mountain lion harvest.

The Wildcat Hills Unit would encompass parts of Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Cheyenne, Garden, Kimball, and Banner counties. The objective for the unit is to provide a harvest opportunity for hunters that will keep the lion population resilient while slightly reducing their numbers.

Game and Parks’ genetic surveys in 2023 estimate there are 70 mountain lions in the Pine Ridge, up from the last estimate of 33 in 2021. Surveys that will allow population estimates for the Niobrara and Wildcat Hills are presently being conducted. Twenty-seven mountain lions were documented in the Niobrara Valley during 2023, and 24 were documented in the Wildcat Hills.

Season 1 in all three units would take place Jan. 2, 2025, through the end of February. The season would end immediately in a unit if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit were reached. The Pine Ridge limit would be 12 mountain lions with a sub-limit of six females, the Niobrara limit would be four mountain lions with a two female sub-limit, and the Wildcat Hills limit would be three mountain lions with a two female sub-limit.

Up to 960 permits could be issued by lottery in the Pine Ridge Unit, up to 320 permits in the Niobrara Unit, and up to 240 permits in the Wildcat Hills Unit. Permits are available to residents only. An auxiliary season that allows the use of dogs would be March 15 through the end of March if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit were not reached during Season 1 in any unit. A number of permits equal to the number of lions remaining in the limit would be issued by lottery to unsuccessful permit holders from that unit who apply for the auxiliary season.

In other business, commissioners will consider changes to park regulations that would:

  • Create a $5 Active-Duty Military vehicle park entry permit for active-duty military personnel stationed in Nebraska. The permit would be for vehicles registered in or out of the state and would be available only as an annual permit.
  • Allow the director of Game and Parks to authorize the replacement of any Nebraska Resident Disabled American Veteran lifetime permit.
  • Update language for state recreation trails, including encroachments on right-of ways.
  • Allow the use of Class I electronic bikes in state parks, state historical parks, state recreation areas and state recreation trails on designated trails unless otherwise posted. Class II and Class III e-bikes would be permitted as posted.

Commissioners also will consider these fishing regulation changes:

  • The removal of the no-live-baitfish restriction will be recommended for Lake Wanahoo.
  • At Two Rivers State Recreation Area Lake No. 5, also known as the trout lake, a recommendation would shorten the time a trout tag is required to fish the lake by one month. It also would remove the tag display requirement and allow anglers to release any caught trout.

In addition, there will be staff recommendations to:

  • approve the transfer of approximately 88 acres of land in Hall County adjacent to Mormon Island SRA from the Federal Highway Administration to Game and Parks; and
  • approve permitting of hunting in some state parks and state historical parks for 2024 seasons.

Staff also will present the results of a survey on Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala, a report on Lake McConaughy, and an update on outreach efforts in west-central Nebraska.

To view a complete agenda, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov and search for “public notices.” To view proposed changes to Commission regulations and orders, search for “regulations.”