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Wildflower week celebrated statewide

Dan Moser
IANR News Service

LINCOLN, Neb. – Inspired by a similar national event, Nebraska Wildflower Week is a celebration of wildflowers and native plants in the wild and in the landscape through an array of events and activities across Nebraska. In 2011, it will be observed the first week in June (May 28-June 5), when many of Nebraska’s prairies and gardens are at their prime.

Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Inc. serves as coordinator for Wildflower Week activities, bringing together organizations and individuals across the state who recognize the value of wildflowers – not only for their beauty but also for what they imply and symbolize.

“Where wildflowers are thriving, it is a sign that the environment is healthy,” said Bob Henrickson, whose nursery production work with the arboretum concentrates on native and regionally appropriate plants.

Opportunities for wildflower enthusiasts across the state include guided tours; presentations on using wildflowers in home landscapes; music on the prairie; wildflower activities for children, etc.

Events, photos and more information can be found at arboretum.unl.edu/wildflower.

Wildflower Events

• May 28-June 5 near Harrison. “Wildflower Walks on the Prairie” at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument at 10:30 and 1:30, leaving from visitor center as staffing permits. Plant signs on trail and herbarium in visitor center for self-guided tours. http://www.nps.gov/agfo, Lil Mansfield, (308) 436-9760 or (308) 668-2211, lil_mansfield@nps.gov.

• May 28 near Red Cloud. “Music on the Cather Prairie” featuring Mike Adams and Pilgrim Classic Country at 2 p.m. Guests will also have the opportunity to explore Cather Prairie, located 5 miles south of Red Cloud, to learn about rare plants, the interaction between fire and grazing and the Willa Cather Foundation’s restoration efforts. This 608-acre ecological treasure is the largest never-plowed, native prairie in six counties. Fee: $10. http://www.WillaCather.org, info@willacather.org, (402) 746-2641.

• May 28 near Kimball. “Kimball Wildflower Week” to enjoy the wonder of Nebraska’s shortgrass prairie ecosystem. Morning yoga, followed by bird hike, at 7 a.m. Wildflower hike at 10. Bring sack lunch and beverage or visit one of Kimball’s restaurants to stay for afternoon hike at 2 p.m. Campfire hot dogs and s’mores at 6 p.m. (bring a drink and something to share). Evening wildflower/sunset hike at 7:30 p.m.; free but suggested donation of $5/adult to go to Kimball Community Arboretum. Site use donated by EJE Ranch. Inclement weather make-up date is June 4 with same events. Directions: From Kimball stoplight (Hwy 71/30) drive 3 miles south, then 3 miles west on CR 28. Turn right on CR 35 and drive 1.2 miles north (crossing over I-80) and follow signs. Shaun Evertson, (308) 241-0878, shaunevertson@charter.net.

• May 29 near Burwell. “Blowout Penstemon Tour,” guided tour through area with endangered blowout penstemon from 1:30-4. Meet at Calamus Outfitters, 16 miles northwest of Burwell on Highway 96, for a jeep tour through the Sandhills. Cost: $25/person. Call to reserve your spot. (308) 346-4697 or hbswitzer@nctc.net.

• May 30-June 5, “Wildflower Plant Sale” at Gardenland (retail division of Bluebird Nursery, Inc. at Sixth & Linden in Clarkson). Wide selection of Nebraska native wildflowers and grasses and other hardy U.S. natives. Monday-Friday 8-5, Sat. 8-4, Sun. 1-5 through Father’s Day. (402) 892-3442, gardenland@bluebirdnursery.com.

• June 4 in Bellevue. “National Trails Day” at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center from 10-4, featuring guided wildflower walks, outdoor photography tips, hiking gear demos and interactive stations. http://www.fontenelleforest.org, (402) 731-3140.

• June 4 in Omaha. “Wildflower Walks” at Lauritzen Gardens led by Director of Conservation Jim Locklear. Walking tour of the Woodland Trail from 10-11:30 a.m. through the garden’s 10-acre native stand of oak-hickory forest. Walking tour from 2-3:30 p.m. to observe prairie natives (wildflowers and grasses) in gardens and landscape of Lauritzen Gardens. Fee: $7 per adult; free to members of Lauritzen Gardens. No advance registration required. http://www.lauritzengardens.org, (402) 346-4002

• June 4 near Gering. “Wildflowers of the Wildcat Hills” guided wildflower walk at 9 a.m., weather permitting, at Wildcat Hills Nature Center 10 miles south of Gering via Nebraska Highway 71. Meet at the Nature Center. Plant signage on trails. (308) 436-3777, ngpc.wildcat.hills@nebraska.gov.

• June 4 near Clearwater, “Wildflower Walk” through an eastern sandhills native prairie from 11-12 with the Nebraska Native Plant Society. The prairie is 2.8 miles south of Clearwater on Highway 275, east side of River Road (516th Ave). The site has a variety of habitats from wetland swales to small dunes. akrohn@shoestringseed.com.

• June 4 near Marquette. “Griffith Prairie 5K/10K Fun Run/Walk” offers a great time to explore this amazing post-burn, fresh, green and flowering Platte River bluffs prairie with walking or running friends. Check-in at 8:30 a.m. Entry form and more at http://www.prairieplains.org/assets/files/Final%20race%20form%20for%20web.pdf.

• June 6 in Omaha. “Mommy and Me: Wildflowers” preschool program for children ages 3 to 5 and an accompanying adult from 10-11:30 a.m. Read about wildflowers, go on a wildflower hike and create your own wildflower book to take home. Fee: $8/member, $14 non-member. Advance registration required. http://www.lauritzengardens.org, (402) 346-4002.

• June 12 near Denton. “Weekend Wildflower Walk” at Spring Creek Prairie from 3-4 p.m. June is a great month for viewing native prairie wildflowers on a walk led by botanist Kay Kottas. Wonderful opportunity to see native plants up close and to learn to use them in home landscaping projects. Fee: $6/adult, $4/children ages 8-12 accompanied by an adult. Register by June 11. springcreekprairie.audubon.org, (402) 797-2301.


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