In This Issue:
- Executive Director Corner
- Preliminary Recommendations Grants List will be Released Soon
- YMCA Camp Kitaki Named a Groundwater Guardian Green Site
- Prescribed Burn Training Workshops Scheduled for This Spring
- Largest Wildlife Planning Gathering in the State
- Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Hosts Public Forum to Share Information and Ideas
- Board Member Feature - Gloria Erickson
- Upcoming Events
Executive Director Corner
Winter hit the state hard during December and early January. Heavy snowfalls and cold temperatures set new records, especially in eastern Nebraska. We will have to see what Mother Nature has in store for the rest of winter and even early spring.
The Legislature is back in session and the Senators continue to wrestle with income shortfalls. The Governor has indicated he will continue to seek budget cuts and not tax increases.
The Grants Committee has completed its evaluation and ranking of the 110 new grants we received. The Committee rankings will be presented to the full board and the public at the next board meeting to be held on February 4th at the Ferguson House at 1:30 p.m. This information will be posted on our website following the meeting.
Our 2009 Annual Report has been printed and we have begun mailing copies out to many of you. If you don’t receive a copy in the next few weeks and would like a copy, please contact our Public Information Officer, Sheila Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (402)471-1714. It is also available for viewing on our website.
Have a great 2010!
Mark A. Brohman
Preliminary Recommendations Grants List will be Released Soon
The Trust will announce the preliminary recommendations list at its next board meeting on February 4, 2009. The list will be available on the Trust website after the conclusion of the board meeting.
The Trust entered the 2010 grant cycle on September 8, receiving 142 applications requesting a total of $54,877,006. The committee has been working hard to review all the applications that have come in. This is the second highest amount requested in the history of the Trust. The highest amount of $58,935,806.20 was requested in 1999.
Of the 142 applications, 32 are carry-over projects. A summary of each proposal is currently available on the Trust’s web site www.environmentaltrust.org. Comments on the grant applications will be accepted until March 31, 2010 at the Nebraska Environmental Trust, 700 South 16th Street, PO Box 94913, Lincoln, NE 68509-4913 or via e-mail to email@example.com
YMCA Camp Kitaki Named a Groundwater Guardian Green Site
Camp Director Jason Smith with Jennifer Wemhoff, Program Manager of The Groundwater Foundation
YMCA Camp Kitaki, located near South Bend, was recently named a 2009 Groundwater Guardian Green Site by The Groundwater Foundation in recognition of the site’s groundwater and environmental stewardship. Camp Kitaki earned this exclusive designation based on its current practices related to water use, pesticide and fertilizer management, and pollution prevention.
Groundwater Guardian Green Sites are essentially places with a lot of green space – like golf courses; ball fields; educational campuses; and residential, recreational, and office parks – that implement groundwater and surface water-friendly practices to maintain the site. To earn the exclusive Groundwater Guardian Green Site designation, site managers complete a simple application that uniformly evaluates and documents their site’s groundwater-friendly practices. The Green Site program began in 2007 to recognize good stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers of highly-managed green spaces to implement, measure, and document their groundwater-friendly practices.
Groundwater Foundation President Jane Griffin points out that, “Groundwater is an extremely valuable resource in Nebraska that contributes to our health and well-being every day. Most Nebraskans rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water, but they also rely on groundwater as a necessary input for agriculture and business. Recognizing active groundwater stewards like Camp Kitaki is our way of motivating others to do the same.”
YMCA Camp Kitaki is a resident summer camp but also a rental and conference facility that operates year-round on over 220 acres of land. YMCA Camp Kitaki Executive Director Jason Smith said, “We got involved in the Green Site program because we are looking to do more on the environmental front. We thought that camp should not only be a place that they can learn about taking care of the environment but also that we practice what we preach, take a look at all of our practices and see what we can do to improve those. We realize that we are very much part of a different eco-system here and everything that we do on our site impacts the Platte River and the other areas around us.”
Potential sites are encouraged to get involved in the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program by downloading the 2009 program application at www.groundwater.org/gg/greensites.html,
e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 1-800-858-4844.
The Groundwater Guardian Green Site program is supported by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and Cargill.
Prescribed Burn Training Workshops Scheduled for This Spring
As prescribed burning becomes a more common management tool in grasslands across the state, a number of groups are working to help landowners become more informed and comfortable with its use. Landowners will have the opportunity to attend one of 15 different prescribed fire training workshops taking place from January to March. These workshops will provide landowners with a basic working knowledge about fire effects, burning equipment, impacts of weather and writing burn plans. The workshops are designed for both individuals with no prescribed burning experience as well as those with some experience.
In addition, The NET is working in a partnership with Quail Forever (QF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to help form local prescribed burn associations and provide them with the necessary equipment to conduct safe and effective burns in the state. A local Prescribed Burn Association can best be described as “neighbors helping neighbors” to conduct prescribed burns. This partnership helps landowners get past the three limiting factors to conducting a prescribed burn: 1. Prescribed burn experience, 2. Prescribed burn equipment and 3. Manpower to conduct a prescribed burn.
To date, PF and QF have helped form five local prescribed burn associations in the state and then provided each with a Mobile Prescribed Burn Unit through this partnership. If you are interested in learning more about either joining or forming a prescribed burn association, simply log on to: www.NebraskaPF.com for more information.
Largest Wildlife Planning Gathering in the State
On Saturday, February 6, 2010, the largest wildlife planning meeting in the state will be held at the Ramada Inn, Kearney when the 19th Annual State Habitat Meeting is held. The day-long workshop provides attendees with over 35 different presentations on wildlife habitat management, conservation programs, wildlife research and youth education. This annual meeting is supported by the NET and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and is always a great source of information and guidance for landowners and resource professionals in the state.
In addition, a ‘Landowner Help Desk’ will be open to any landowner and provides the opportunity to sit down and receive one-on-one conservation program guidance from a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist. This provides landowners with an opportunity to learn about the conservation program options available on their property for all the many Federal, state and local programs – in one stop! This unique Help Desk can provide great information and remove the frustration that sometimes accompanies trying to navigate through the many conservation programs available to landowners. To register and see the meeting agenda, simply log on to: www.NebraskaPF.com.
Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Hosts Public Forum to Share Information and Ideas
The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture will host its 15th annual Informational Seminar on Wednesday, February 3, at the Quality Hotel and Convention Center, 2201 Osborne Drive, in Hastings, Nebraska. The one-day seminar, from 9:00 to 4:00, is an opportunity for landowners, agriculture producers, natural resource professionals, and other interested individuals to share ideas and learn about conservation issues, research, and habitat programs in south-central Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin region.
An afternoon panel discussion will address a variety of conservation programs for private land, including the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Wetland Initiative Program, and the Working Landscapes Initiative. Other sessions include discussions about the role of wetlands in protecting water quality; management of vegetation in Rainwater Basin wetlands; and the benefits of filling unused irrigation pits. In addition, throughout the day Rainwater Basin landowners who have participated in Joint Venture projects and other wetland programs will discuss their experiences.
The seminar is open to the general public. Agenda details are at www.rwbjv.org. To register, please send an e-mail by January 26, to Shanda Weber at email@example.com; include name, organization, and mailing address. Or phone 402-463-6771 ext. 112. A $20 registration fee, payable at the door, covers all sessions, snacks, and a buffet lunch. Landowners and agriculture producers in the Rainwater Basin are invited to register free of charge.
The Informational Seminar is funded in part by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture is a public-private partnership created through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. It is composed of conservation agencies, local government bodies, non-profit organizations, and individuals, each contributing their expertise and resources to the protection and restoration of wetland habitat in south-central Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin region.
Board Member Feature - Gloria Erickson
Gloria Erickson grew up on a farm near Hastings. She has been a Trust Board member since 1999. She graduated from Midland Lutheran College with a degree in Biology and Education. She has taken post-graduate work at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and at Colorado State University in Wildlife Management. She is active in her family’s farming and cattle feeding operation.
Erickson is an enthusiastic sportswoman and has a keen interest in conservation and wildlife resource issues. The Erickson farm received an Omaha World-Herald Conservation Award in 1992.
Erickson served as a commissioner on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and was chairman in 1994. She is a member of the Nebraska Sportsmen's Foundation, is a director of Nebraska Wildlife Protectors Association, past-president of the Nebraska Council of Sportsman’s Clubs, vice-president of Becoming An Outdoors Woman, Inc. and a member of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture management team.
“Nebraska has such a wealth of natural resources and taking care of them adds a tremendous amount to the quality of life for Nebraska citizens as well as visitors,” says Erickson. “Future generations will be grateful that we had the foresight to maintain and enhance our natural resource treasures. I feel that it is important that our citizens have an opportunity to participate in natural resource-based activities because it is through knowledge gained that appreciation develops and a sense of stewardship results.”
Important Dates To Remember:
- February 3, 2010, Wednesday - Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Informational Seminar, Quality Hotel and Convention Center, Hastings
- February 4, 2010, Thursday - 1st Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House (Environmental Trust Office), 1:30 pm
- February 6, 2010, Saturday - State Habitat Meeting, Ramada Inn, Kearney
- March 18-20, 2010 - 40th Annual Rivers and Wildlife Conference, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney
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