A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director Corner
Halloween is upon us and crops are coming out of the fields. Various hunting seasons have started and others are approaching rapidly. Husker fans are happy that the football team is moving up in the polls, but the volleyball team continues to slide lower each week. The volleyball team still shows great potential and I wouldn’t count them out. Many Nebraskans are Kansas City Royals fans and can’t believe their play in the play-offs on the way to the World Series. The Chiefs and Broncos also are providing Nebraskan fans with something to cheer about this year in the NFL.
Marilyn and I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Nebraska Legacy Conference earlier this month in Gering. It was refreshing to see so many of our partners from so many projects together at once. The field trip to Bead Mountain located southeast of Gering, in and of its self, made the trip worthwhile. We both attended a dedication of a new 47 acre acquisition to Spring Creek Prairie this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day to look across the sea of grass and listen to the birds and crickets sing just 20 minutes outside of Lincoln.
The Grants Committee will begin meeting soon and reviewing the 122 new grant applications. Technical reviews are still trickling in and Marilyn and I are starting to wade through the applications. The next full board meeting will be held Thursday, November 6th at 1:30 pm at the Ferguson House in Lincoln.
Have a safe fall harvest and hunting season. Go Big Red!
Mark A. Brohman
Educating The Next Generation of Nebraskans About Soil Conservation Using the Power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The Dust Bowl was a tragic and difficult time for people living in Nebraska and large parts of the Great Plains. Mental images of great clouds of dust that destroyed crops and bankrupted families are part of our national memory of the Dust Bowl. When the story of the Dust Bowl is taught in classrooms, what is often missing are the changes in land use practices that utilized soil and water conservation techniques to restore the productivity of the land. An understanding of how people can positively impact the environment is an important part of the Dust Bowl story that needs to be taught to the next generation of young people in order for them to see the necessity for sustainable land use practices.
This need to teach the next generation of students about soil conservation was the focus of five summer workshops that were funded by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The workshops were held in Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Wakefield and Omaha. Eighty-seven agriculture, science and social studies teachers attended the workshops and came from schools across the entire state of Nebraska. These workshops were made possible by a coalition of organizations. In partnership with the Nebraska Environmental Trust was the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), Geographic Information Systems/Land Information Systems Association (GIS/LIS), Geographic Educators of Nebraska (GEON), Nebraska Alliance for Conservation and Environment Education (NACEE) and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). The teacher workshops incorporated hands-on demonstrations of soil conservation lessons, onsite field study of soil conservation practices at local farms led by a soil conservation expert. The professional development also included training with GIS. During the workshop, teachers were taught how to create a “story map” which combined descriptions and photos of soil conservation practices where were shown on an interactive map. The teachers felt the workshops were a great success. One teacher stated, “One of the best workshops I’ve been to during my teaching career.” The grant calls for two more years of workshops to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to instill in students the need to take care of the soil.
Shauna Roberson of Garden County Schools examines the residue left in the field created by the soil conservation practice of no till. Photo Credit: H. Payne
Regional Meetings to Discuss Recycling in Nebraska
- November 6, 2014 (Thursday) - 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln
- December 7, 2014 (Sunday) - Christmas Open House at Ferguson House (1:00 - 5:00pm)