Ready to notice nature? Join the City Nature Challenge, a community science event to find and document urban wildlife, beginning April 26 across Nebraska.

The global challenge is a chance to look for nature in urban areas and learn about the animal and plant life discovered there.

Using the free iNaturalist app, participants photograph nature and upload their observations to the app between April 26-29. Then they help identify observations between April 30-May 5.

Wildlife can be any wild plant, animal, fungi or other evidence of life, such as scat, fur or tracks. Participants can even document species through their windows.

Though anyone may participate in the CNC global project, Nebraska partners are hosting the challenge from three urban locations across the state. Search iNaturalist for the following project near you:

  • Lincoln-Lancaster County
  • Omaha Metro
  • Scotts Bluff County
  • Global Project

Learn how you can get involved locally to contribute to science globally by registering for the City Nature Challenge webinar in the event listing at webinar is 6 p.m. Central time April 16. Or catch the recording after the webinar on the “Nebraska Game and Parks Education” YouTube channel.

Visit for more information about the City Nature Challenge, including a video about how to use iNaturalist, and partners on the projects.

The City Nature Challenge, launched in 2016 as a competition between two U.S. cities, is now an international competition to document nature and better understand urban biodiversity. In 2023, more than 66,000 people participated, recording more than 1.8 million observations around the globe. Learn more at

54th Annual Cornhusker Trap Shoot set for May 2-4

More than 2,400 students in grades 6-12 are expected to compete in the 54th Annual Cornhusker Trap Shoot May 2-4 on the home grounds of the Nebraska Trapshooting Association in Doniphan, Nebraska.

Joining Nebraskans typically are shooters from Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota. More than 900 junior high and more than 1,500 senior high students are expected to compete.

“It’s exciting to see the dedication and talent of these young people,” said Rachel Carlson, shoot director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “This event is a celebration of the competition season, and we are proud to consistently see it as one of the largest youth events in the state.”

Competition will take place in individual and team divisions. Junior high students (grades 6-8) will shoot 100 16-yard targets on May 2. High school competitors (grades 9-12) will shoot 75 16-yard targets on May 3, then 75 handicap targets on May 4. The high school shooter with the highest combined score will earn the Cornhusker Cup. Competition begins at 8 a.m. each day.

The Cornhusker Trap Shoot is open nationwide to all shooters in grades 6-12 who have completed a hunter education course.

The NTA home grounds are 3 miles south of Interstate 80 exit 312 on U.S. 281. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the NTA are hosts.

Visit for more information.

Catch these Game and Parks education events in May

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in May. Here are some opportunities:

Little Saplings presents Backbones on May 1

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 series, which occurs the first Wednesday of the month, continues May 1 with the theme Backbones 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.

Celebrate Amphibians of Nebraska at Schramm May 4

Hop into the world of Nebraska frogs with state herpetologist Dennis Ferraro at the Schramm Education Center on May 4 in this kickoff to National Amphibian Week.

Learn about amphibians and how to help conserve them. Afternoon (Amphibians and Frog Catching 101) and evening (Frog Calls and Frog Calls 101) sessions will be offered; attend one or both.

See the calendar event entry at for more information and to register. A park entry permit is not required in the Schramm Education Center parking lot.

Participate in Big Butterfly Count Workshop May 4

Get involved with conservation and science by participating in Nebraska’s Big Butterfly Count Workshop at 1 p.m. May 4 at the Whitney Education Center, 2206 N. M Road, Marquette, Nebraska.

Participants will learn how to identify butterflies and contribute to Nebraska’s Big Butterfly Count, a community science project to collect statewide data to better understand butterfly diversity across the state.

The workshop is free but space is limited. See the calendar event entry at to register and find more information. For questions, contact [email protected].

Homeschool Hikes set for May 15 at Schramm

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program at 9 a.m. May 15. This month's theme is Wildflowers.

Homeschool Hikes is a monthly nature exploration program hosted by the Schramm Education Center geared toward homeschool families and ages 5 and up.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at

Five Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights scheduled May 15

Grab your fellow nature nerds and join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as it hosts five Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights on May 15.

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 the host brewery.

The Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights, which begin at 7 p.m. local time, are at:

  • Scottsbluff – Flyover Brewing Company, 1824 Broadway
  • Lincoln – Cosmic Eye Brewing, 6800 P St., Ste. 300
  • Hastings – First Street Brewing, 119 N. St. Joseph Ave.
  • La Vista – Kros Strain Brewing, 10411 Portal Road, Ste. 102
  • Ponca – Cedar Hills Bar & Grill, 102 W. 3rd

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

Butterfly training at Homestead National Historic Park

Become a community scientist and help conserve Nebraska’s rare, at-risk butterflies. Training for the Monarch and Regal Fritillary Survey will be from 1-5 p.m. May 18 at Homestead National Historic Park near Beatrice.

The survey is a community science project where volunteers help biologists document monarch and regal fritillary butterflies in Nebraska.

Join the first hour to learn information about butterflies and other community science opportunities. Then, anyone interested in becoming a survey volunteer is invited to stay to learn how to participate.

For more information, see the calendar event entry at or contact Cody Dreier at [email protected] or 402-471-1755.

Low-tech Process Based Restoration in Nebraska subject of webinar

The Master Naturalist Mondays virtual webinar series continues at 12:30 p.m. May 20 with Low-tech Process Based Restoration in Nebraska.

Cassidy Wessel, a wildlife biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, will discuss this method of stream restoration that rapidly is gaining momentum in western states. Hear about Nebraska’s unique stream resources, the challenges they face, and some discussion on where LTPBR might be an applicable solution.

Nebraska Master Naturalist is a statewide volunteer conservation program that recruits, trains, manages, and provides resources for our volunteer naturalist members.

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

Dutch Oven cooking at Platte River SP

Come to Platte River State Park on May 23 when Becoming an Outdoors-Family presents Dutch Oven Cooking.

Learn all aspects of cooking with Dutch ovens, which make it easy to enjoy a tasty outdoor meal. The fee for the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, is $15. Equipment will be provided.

To register, see the calendar event entry at

Mahoney SP hosting reptile program

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park will host a reptile program at the newly renovated James Family Conservatory and Nature Center over Memorial Day Weekend.

The park’s naturalists will have live reptile presentations at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on May 25 and at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on May 26.

Admission to the James Family Conservatory and Nature Center is free.

Calamus campsites temporarily first-come, first-serve

All campsites at Calamus State Recreation Area near Burwell temporarily will be available on a first-come, first-served basis this upcoming season. A roads project in 2024 has affected the ability for reservations to be accepted at campgrounds.

The roads project is part of ongoing efforts to enhance accessibility and safety within the SRA. It includes repaving camper pads, roadways, Virginia Smith Dam and South Lake Road up to Dry Valley, and creating Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible camper pads.

Visitors can expect temporary closures around the park and in the campgrounds. They are encouraged to call the park ahead of arrival for updates at 308-346-5666.

For campers who prefer to make reservations, Sherman Reservoir SRA near Loup City, located approximately 40 miles southeast of Calamus, is available. The expanded West Ridge Campground has 61 campsites with Electric Plus (30/50 amp) service. Reservations are needed for half the sites; the other half are first-come, first-served.

Find additional outdoor recreation opportunities at

Celebrate Bird Month in Nebraska

Each year, May is Bird Month in Nebraska. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and partner organizations celebrate with a variety of activities across the state throughout the month.

This year’s theme is Protect insects, Protech Birds — because insects are an essential source of energy for birds during their migration journey.

Find more information about the month or more than 25 events planned at; search for “Nebraska Bird Month.”

Following are a few ways to participate hosted by Game and Parks:

Come to Birds at the Brewhaus in Hartington

Celebrate Nebraska Bird Month on May 9 with Birds at the Brewhaus in Hartington.

Big Hair Brewhaus, located at 306 N. Broadway, will host the 7 p.m. event, including bird trivia, a local speaker discussing birds in the area, and a talk on the brewing process by the owner.

The event is free. Registration is not required.

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

Birding hikes at Platte River SP, Schramm on May 11

Celebrate Nebraska Bird Month and World Migratory Bird Day with a naturalist-led birding hike in the Venture Parks on May 11.

One hike will start at 8:30 a.m. at Platte River State Park. Hikers should meet at the Nature Center below Mallet Lodge. Another hike begins at 10 a.m. at Schramm Park Education Center. Meet in the lobby.

Discover what it takes to be a birder and the skills to help identify birds.

Wise and Wild is May 14 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 May 14, the topic will be Birds and Bugs: Celebrate Nebraska Bird Month and World Migratory Bird Day. Discover why insects are essential for many migratory bird species during their breeding seasons and migration journeys.

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

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Flock to Birds of a Feather on May 14

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 May 14, the topic for this bird-related program for all ages will be Birds and Bugs. Discover why insects are essential for many migratory bird species during their breeding seasons and migration journeys.

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

Flying WILD educator workshop May 22

Join Nebraska Game and Parks in a Flying WILD Educator Workshop in conjunction with Nebraska Bird Month at Prairie Pines in Lincoln at 6 p.m. May 22.

Each participant will walk away with a wealth of knowledge about Nebraska birds, a new Flying WILD curriculum guide, and more.

The workshop, limited to 25 participants, is free but registration is required. See the calendar event entry at for more information and to register. Email [email protected] with questions.

Visit Indian Cave SP for Migratory Bird Day

Indian Cave State Park will host a variety of family-friendly activities during the 10th Annual Migratory Bird Day on May 25.

The festivities start at 3 p.m. with a guided bird outing. Fun, hands-on bird crafts and games for all ages will take place from 4-6 p.m., followed by a fish fry from 6-7 p.m. and a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt at 9 p.m.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Birding for Everybody and Every Body May 25 at Indian Cave

Come to Indian Cave State Park on May 25 for Birding for Everybody and Every Body.

This free birding activity is accessible and inclusive. It is open to everyone, including beginner birders and families with small children. Join a guided bird outing through the new trail near the pollinator gardens. The trail is a mowed grass trail with a slight slope and is well shaded by tree cover. Meet at the museum gazebo at 3 p.m.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

All About Owls coming to Louisville

Learn about Nebraska’s owls at the All About Owls event May 25 at Louisville State Recreation Area.

Participants will learn how to dissect an owl pellet and then go on an owl hike.

Meet at the Meisinger Shelter across from concessions at 8:30 p.m.

Nebraska Birding Bowl returns this May

Participate in the second Nebraska Birding Bowl and learn about birds, enjoy the outdoors and contribute data toward bird conservation. This fun, free statewide birding competition is returning this May for Nebraska Bird Month.

The Birding Bowl is a great opportunity to try out this hobby, improve skills, and share your love of birding with others. Birding opportunities exist across the state.

Participants of all levels are invited. Birders will compete as individuals or teams, registering online in April or May. They may participate in one of the following categories:

  • Fledgling Flock — for youth groups and families to introduce birding to youth.
  • Backyard Birder — for households that enjoy watching birds from their home.
  • Dabbling Birder — for beginner-to-casual birders.
  • Competitive Birder — for those who like to observe the most bird species.

Birders will use eBird, a community science platform, to track observations while contributing data for bird conservation.

Teams have a chance to win prizes, such as a two-night cabin stay at a state park, bird feeders, binoculars and a $1,000 cash prize.

The Nebraska Birding Bowl is a joint project of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Audubon Great Plains and the Wild Bird Habitat Store.

Visit to register and learn more, including eBird webinars to prepare birders for the Birding Bowl. Also, see more information on a Birding Bowl Weekend Kickoff event May 3-5, in Lincoln.

Commission will consider big game hunting recommendations

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider staff recommendations for 2024 deer, antelope and elk hunting seasons when it meets April 25 at Ponca State Park.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at the Missouri River Resource and Education Center, 88090 Spur 26 E, Ponca.

A public hearing is scheduled for proposed amendments to Commission orders pertaining to season dates, bag limits, permit quantities and areas open for deer, antelope and elk hunting. The proposed changes will help the agency meet management goals for big game populations. Management goals take into consideration population and harvest data, as well as input from hunters, landowners, and the public, with the goal of maintaining long-term opportunities and access for hunters.

Staff will recommend, among other big game proposals:

  • removing 219 either-sex and 184 doe/fawn antelope permits,
  • removing 11 bull and 38 antlerless elk permits,
  • reducing available November Firearm permits by 13% and Antlerless Only Season Choice permits by 37%,
  • creating new Private Land Only Pine Ridge and Private Land Only Sandhills deer permits,
  • converting the Statewide Buck and Restricted Statewide Buck deer permits to the Season Choice format, which makes the permit valid for all deer seasons with the legal method of take during each open season,
  • Calamus West, Loup West, Plains, Sandhills and Upper Platte join the units where an individual may have only one unit permit that allows the harvest of a mule deer. Hunters can hold a second mule deer unit permit in a different unit.

In other business, staff will recommend:

  • approval of the rental fees for the new horse pens at Mare Barn Campground at Fort Robinson State Park.
  • an increase in cash change funds at several parks to assist with operations and accommodate shower house coin requirements.

The commissioners also will hear reports about the Missouri River Outdoor Expo’s 20thanniversary in 2025 and a spring education and outreach update.

A complete meeting agenda can be found at