Gov. Jim Pillen signed a proclamation March 18 recognizing the 50-year anniversary of Hunter Education in Nebraska in 2024.

The governor signed the proclamation at the Nebraska Capitol in a ceremony along with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Tim McCoy and several current and former program coordinators and instructors.

“This honor is shared by Nebraska Game and Parks and the several thousand volunteers who have dedicated their time and talents for the past 50 years serving Nebraskans,” McCoy said. “We are so grateful to our volunteer instructors, who have encouraged new hunters, further supporting Nebraska’s proud outdoor heritage.”

More than 5,000 volunteer instructors, who have helped to carry the program from the classroom to the field, teach Nebraska’s hunter education curriculum. They also assist with 4-H shooting sports, archery programs and hunting programs at outdoor expos, outdoor discovery school programs, and many other events in Nebraska state parks and communities.

The Hunter Education program began in Nebraska in 1974 and Bowhunter Education program in 1994. The program has reached more than 200,000 students. Commission data shows that since that time, hunter incident rates have fallen by more than 80%.

“Our volunteers are mentors to many, inviting and encouraging youth and adults to learn hunting and shooting sports, and how to be safe and responsible in the field,” McCoy said. “We are so proud of the last 50 years, our tradition of safety, and the many staff and volunteers that helped us get here, and we look forward to safe hunting and shooting sports in the many years to come.”

Hunter Education contributes to the $1 billion annual economic impact to Nebraska that hunting and shooting sports provide.

Two state records set at state NASP tournament

Two state records fell at the 18th annual National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament March 15-16 at the Sandhills Global Events Center in Lincoln.

Sydney Havlat of Milford scored 292 points out of a possible 300 shooting bull’s-eye targets for a record score for females. Also, Omaha Mater Dei Academy totaled 2,709 points for the state record elementary division team score.

NASP is an in-school curriculum covering target archery for students in grades 4-12. The state tournament is the largest archery event in Nebraska. The state tournament saw 700 student-archers shoot bull’s-eye targets and 300 shoot 3D targets.

The results:

Individual Results


Female – 1. Christine Ng, Omaha Mater Dei Academy, 262; 2. Morgan Meysenburg, Lincoln Blessed Sacrament, 256; 3. Amabelle Shumate, Mater Dei Academy, 248; 4. Ruth Merrimen, Mater Dei Academy, 243; 5. Lily Miller, Mater Dei Academy, 243.

Male – 1. Hunter Therkildsen, Bellevue Cornerstone Christian, 280; 2. Evan King, Cornerstone Christian, 259; 3. Asis Diaz, Mater Dei Academy, 255; 4. Caleb Lehman, Yorkshire Homeschool, 254; 5. Corey Goodwin, Lincoln St. John, 249.

Middle School

Female – 1. Maddie Hoyle, Lincoln Pound MS, 283; 2. Melanie Elsasser, Pound MS, 280; 3. Anna Diessner, Tri-City Homeschool, 273; 4. Brooklyn Devall, Tri-City Homeschool, 270; 5. Avery Ostdiek, Lawrence-Nelson, 268.

Male – 1. Camdon Roker, Lincoln Pounds MS, 289; 2. Danny Fuller, Superior, 283; 3. Eli Collins, Cornerstone Christian, 279; 4. Peter Pulliam, Mater Dei Academy, 278; 5. Chris Wissenburg, Milford, 276.

High School

Female – 1. Sydney Havlat, Milford, 292; 2. Kamryn Wanser, Lincoln Standing Bear, 283; 3. Ayla Salistean, Milford, 280; 4. Olivia Burns, Standing Bear, 279; 5. Addison Wolfe, Lincoln Southeast, 278.

Male – 1. James Wissenburg, Milford, 282; 2. Will Muff, Lincoln Pius X, 281; 3. Aaron Wohleb, Lincoln Southwest, 280; 4. Brody Schnieders, Lincoln Pius X, 278. 5. Diego Vila, Mater Dei Academy, 275.

Overall High Score

Female – Sydney Havlat, Milford, 292

Male – Camdon Roker, Lincoln Pound MS, 289

Nebraska Bowhunters Association Sportsmanship Trophy – Milford

Team Results

Elementary – 1. Omaha Mater Dei, 2,709; 2. Lawrence-Nelson, 2,423; 3. Lincoln Blessed Sacrament, 2,285.

Middle School – 1. Lincoln Pound MS, 3,164; 2. Bellevue Cornerstone Christian, 3,132; 3. Omaha Mater Dei, 3,078.

High School – 1. Milford, 3,238; 2. Omaha Mater Dei, 3,194; 2. Lincoln Pius X, 3,054.

SACO Duels – 1. Lincoln Standing Bear; 2. Lincoln Pound MS; 3. Superior; 4. Lincoln St. John

Nebraska Endowment Scholarship – Females: Sydney Havlat, Milford, $2,500; Kamryn Wanser, Standing Bear, $1,500; Ayla Salistean, Milford, $1,000; Males: Camdon Roker, Lincoln Pound MS, $2,500; James Wissenburg, Milford, $1,500; Aaron Wohleb, Lincoln Southwest, $1,000

NASP All-Nebraska Academic Archer Team

Will Muff, Lincoln Pius X

Chason Bell, Lincoln Scott MS

Sydney Bisson, Cornerstone Christian

Morgan Bridges, Cornerstone Christian

Damien Brown, Lincoln North Star

Olivia Burns, Standing Bear

Eli Collins, Cornerstone Christian

Anna Diessner, Tri-City Homeschool

Connor Evridge, Cornerstone Christian

Danny Fuller, Superior

Hailey Green, Lincoln Southeast

Maddie Hoyle, Lincoln Pound MS

Aidan Jedlecki, Cornerstone Christian

London Lambrecht, Lincoln Southeast

Kenley Lovitt, Milford

Aidan Mach, Lincoln Southwest

Camdon Roker, Lincoln Pound MS

Ayla Salistean, Milford

Brody Schnieders, Lincoln Pius X

Hunter Therkildsen, Cornerstone Christian

Kamryn Wanser, Standing Bear

Christopher Wissenburg, Milford

James Wissenburg, Milford

Aaron Wohleb, Lincoln Southwest

Registration open for turkey calling clinics

Improve your turkey calling skills just in time for spring turkey season with workshops set up in four communities across Nebraska starting March 23.

Learn different calls to use, strategies for how and when to call turkeys, and what turkey sounds are most important to a successful hunt.

Clinics in partnership with SCHEELS will be 10-11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m. March 23 at the Omaha SCHEELS, and 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 6 at the Lincoln SCHEELS. Cost is $15 and participants will receive a $15 SCHEELS gift card after the clinic. Participants should bring their own turkey call. Reserve a seat for the Omaha clinics at or the Lincoln clinic at

Free clinics will be 2 to 3 p.m. April 6 at the Kearney Outdoor Education Complex in Kearney, and 10:30 a.m. to noon April 7 at the Beatrice Gun Club in Beatrice. Participants are encouraged to bring their own call to use as a limited number of calls will be available for use during the workshop. Register for the clinics through the event listings at

The turkey calling clinics are hosted by Nebraska Game and Parks and National Wild Turkey Federation in partnership with SCHEELS.

James Wissenburg, Milford

Aaron Wohleb, Lincoln Southwest

Enjoy events in state parks this April

Spend some time this spring in Nebraska’s state parks. During April, a variety of events are planned for those for all ages and interests.

Don’t forget to purchase a vehicle park entry permit to enter the state parks. Get one at or at state park entrances.

Fort Hartsuff SHP to host book presentation

Learn about the medical history of Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park with a book presentation at 10 a.m. April 6 by author Dr. Todd E. Harburn.

Harburn will discuss his new book, "The Little Post Hospital on the North Loup River: The Medical History of Fort Hartsuff, Nebraska 1874-1881.”

Harburn is an independent scholar and retired orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician. His detailed history of Fort Hartsuff's hospital is published by Heritage Books and includes a forward by Roye Lindsay, a retired park superintendent.

A silent auction will be held of several of Harburn's original paintings of the fort. Proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Fort Hartsuff. All attendees will be entered into a drawing for an original painting.

For more information, visit the calendar event entry at

Venture Parks Discovery Fair is April 7

Nebraska’s Venture Parks are hosting a Venture Parks Discovery Fair from noon to 3 p.m. April 7 at Crete Carrier Riverview Lodge at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.

Attend this event to learn about activities to be offered in the Venture Parks this summer and job opportunities in the parks.

Regional parks that are hiring include Platte River and Eugene T. Mahoney state parks, Schramm Education Center, and Schramm Park, Louisville and Two Rivers state recreation areas.

The Discovery Fair will include:

  • Games, fun activities, food vendors and photo opportunities with Kit the Raccoon mascot.
  • Information on seasonal park worker positions, including naturalist, activity worker (pool, rock wall, paddle boats), customer service representative, housekeeping, grounds crew, lifeguard, wrangler, office clerk, maintenance worker, shooting range aide and restaurant staff.
  • Information on how to work and play in the parks; Venture Parks offer opportunities for discovery, exploration, excitement, serenity and imagination with unique features and activities at each park.
  • Information about our camp hosting program; learn from prior hosts, who will be on site to help answer any questions.

Contact Melody Dillon at 402-944-4223 or [email protected] for more information.

Flock to Birds of a Feather on April 9

Get ready to go birding by participating in the new Birds of a Feather program at 9:30 a.m. on select Tuesdays at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center.

On April 9, the topic for this bird-related program for all ages will be Spring Migration and Beginner Birding. Learn basic birding skills and what to look for as the spring migration continues. Discover when and where to find certain birds.

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

Celebrate Earth Day with art April 22

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 through art and writing while on a discovery stroll through the forest and prairie at Schramm Park State Recreation Area.

Create a collage of nature sketches from observations during the walk and then use watercolors to add interest. All supplies are provided and the walking will be primarily on paved or flatter trail areas. 

Meet in the Schramm Education Center lobby at 4 p.m.

Trek Through the Trees on Arbor Day

Spend time among the trees while walking through the forest on Arbor Day, April 26, at Platte River and Eugene T. Mahoney state parks.

Play Tree Bingo as you hike with a naturalist, learning tree-related fun facts along the way. We’ll search for unique trees, signs of life in the trees, seed pods, different leaf shapes and more.

Meet at 10 a.m. at Platte River’s Nature Center below Mallet Lodge. At Mahoney, meet at 1 p.m. at the Lookout Tower by Crete Carrier Riverview Lodge.

The activity also will take place April 28 at Schramm Education Center. Meet at 1 p.m. at the picnic shelter by the pond/main trailhead.

Catch these 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 presents Lunch with a Raccoon on April 3

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 2024 series, which occurs the first Wednesday of the month, continues April 3 with the theme Lunch with a Raccoon at 9 and 10 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregivers. The cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Wise and Wild is April 9 at James Family Conservatory

Wise and Wild is a program for those age 55 and up who love the outdoors. It will be at 3 p.m. on select Tuesdays at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center.

On April 9, the topic will be Spring Migration and Beginner Birding. Learn basic birding skills and what to look for as the spring migration continues. Discover when and where to find certain birds.

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

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Wildcat Hills preschool program is April 9

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will host its monthly preschool program April 9 with Reptiles and Amphibians.

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

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.

Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night is in Kearney

Grab your fellow nature nerds and join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as it hosts Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night at 7 p.m. April 11 at McCue’s Nebraska Taproom in Kearney.

Nature is cool, so there is no shortage of topics questions could cover. Get your teams of no more than five players and be ready to compete for prizes. Registration is not required.

These events are for adults only and are free to attend with a purchase from McCue’s, 2008 Avenue A, Suite A.

For more information and or questions, email [email protected].

Wildcat Hills to host Frogs, Toads and Salamanders homeschool program

Come meet and learn about live amphibians during the homeschool program Frogs, Toads and Salamanders on April 11 at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area.

The homeschool program meets once a month at 10 a.m. Mountain time at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center. Topics change each month.

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.

Become a Nebraska Master Naturalist

Sign up to take Core 24 PLUS training to begin the steps to become a Nebraska Master Naturalist.

Training takes place April 19-21 and 26-28 at Schramm Education Center south. It includes the normal training, plus an additional six hours of continuing education and six hours of volunteer opportunity. The PLUS portion is available as hours to current certified Nebraska Master Naturalists.

The Core 24 PLUS provides the opportunity for community building, networking and a deeper connection to current and incoming Nebraska Master Naturalists.

The Nebraska Master Naturalist Program is an adult conservation and environmental education program that combines indoor presentations and hands-on field experiences to teach conservation volunteers about Nebraska’s natural resources.

For more information or to apply, visit the calendar event entry at Email any questions to [email protected].

Two-day Nebraska Master Naturalist PLUS Workshop scheduled

Certified Nebraska Master Naturalists are invited to the Nebraska Master Naturalist PLUS Workshop.

The two-day workshop is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 21 at Schramm Education Center and 9 a.m.-noon April 28 at Fontenelle Forest, Camp Brewster, in Bellevue.

This is an opportunity to come together with Master Naturalists in Training, to receive continuing education and volunteer hours. Participants will receive training and hands-on experience in bioblitzs, the City Nature Challenge and the online biodiversity sharing platform iNaturalist.

There is a Fontenelle Forest admission fee is for non-members, $15 for adults and $13 for ages 62 and older.

For more information or to register, visit the calendar event entry at Email any questions to [email protected].

Education Through Photography subject of webinar

The Master Naturalist Mondays virtual webinar series continues at 12:30 p.m. April 22 with Framing Nature: Education Through Photography.

Presenter Brianna Nugent, an environmental educator with Nebraska Game and Parks and a Nebraska Master Naturalist, will discuss why visual aids are important, how they can be used to educate, and why photography is a powerful teaching tool.

Nebraska Master Naturalist is a statewide volunteer conservation program. The program recruits, trains, manages, and provides resources for our volunteer naturalist members. This free webinar series hosts a variety of presenters and subject matter. It allows Nebraska Master Naturalist to connect to its conservation motivations and inspirations and its naturalist community across the state.

For more information or to register, visit the calendar event entry at Email any questions to [email protected].