Conserving Nebraska’s Wildlife and Wild Places

Our Fish & Wildlife Conservation work is designed to help Nebraskans get involved in fish and wildlife conservation projects in their backyard or community. Some examples:

Adopt a Stream

Nebraska Wildlife Federation’s Adopt a Stream program teaches Nebraskans how to understand, enjoy, monitor and conserve their neighborhood stream, creek or wetland. Some Adopt a Stream participants pick up trash along streams, while others monitor water chemistry and the changing population of snails, clams, dragonfly larvae, and other critters that live there. Many take the next step by developing stream conservation projects that restore and protect habitat for fish, amphibians, and other wildlife that depend on Nebraska waterways.

Through a series of workshops held across Nebraska, we have trained over 220 Nebraskans in basic stream monitoring and conservation techniques. See more information here. 

Backyard Wildlife

We teach people that by providing food, shelter, water, and a place to raise young, anyone can make a place for wildlife. We focus on using our state’s native plants to attract and sustain birds, butterflies, mammals, and other wildlife.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat program has certified over 125,000 backyard, schoolyard, churchyard, and community habitat areas over the past 35 years. Certified Wildlife Habitats™ have been as small as an apartment patio, and as large as hundreds of acres. For more information, visit NWF’s Gardening for Wildlife .

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Monarchs and Pollinators

Monarch butterflies migrate long distances, traveling from Nebraska and other points on the Great Plains to a mountain forest in the middle of Mexico for the winter. Over several generations each spring, monarchs make their way back north, sipping nectar from flowers to sustain them. They lay their eggs on milkweeds — and only milkweeds — and the caterpillars that hatch eat only milkweed leaves. Sadly, the number of monarchs in the USA have declined by some 90% over the past two decades, victims of increasingly effective pesticides, loss of native prairie and other grasslands, and herbicides. Honey bees, native bees and other pollinators face similar challenges. Nebraska Wildlife Federation is working to showing educators and others how to create pollinator gardens in their schoolyards, backyards and churchyards. We are working to create model Monarch and Pollinator Gardens across Nebraska. See more here...

Master Naturalist

Nebraska Wildlife Federation joined with other Nebraska organizations and agencies to create the Master Naturalist program in our state. If you want to learn about wildlife and our natural world, meet people who share your passion for the outdoors, and give back to the Federation and your community through volunteer opportunities, the Nebraska Master Naturalist Program is for you! Volunteers get more than 60 hours of hands-on, science-based natural resources training taught in the field. Learn about Nebraska’s ecosystems, plants and animals, conservation biology, natural history and much more. To sign up or for more information, visit Nebraska Master Naturalist.

Tallgrass Prairie

Nebraska has lost some 98% of the 15 million acres of native tallgrass prairie that once dominated the eastern third of the state. Remaining areas of Nebraska tallgrass prairie — perhaps just 300,000 acres in all — are scattered, the habitat fragmented, across 42 counties. These remnant prairies are owned by a variety of private, public, and non-profit entities, and managed for a variety of purposes like livestock production, research, and environmental education.

To help in prairie conservation, the Federation developed a Tallgrass Prairie Database. With funding from the State Wildlife Grants program, we identified over 1,000 grassland parcels in eastern Nebraska. We shared our database of prairie remnants with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which used the information to digitally map remnant native prairie. We published a map in 2005 with directions to 75 native prairie remnants that are on public land, or on private land with some public access.  For a copy of our map of public and semi-public tallgrass prairies of Nebraska, contact our office.

Whooper Watch

In 2001, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, and the Crane Trust launched Whooper Watch, a volunteer program to help biologists track the annual Whooping Crane migration through our state. Volunteers are trained to spot Whooping Cranes and report the birds they see through a Whooper Watch hotline. Today, the Crane Trust manages the program in Nebraska, and the Texas Conservation Alliance operates Whooper Watch in Texas, where Whooping Cranes spend the winter. For more information or to become a Whooper Watch volunteer, visit the Crane Trust or the Texas Conservation Alliance.