A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director's Corner
Spring was very brief here in Nebraska. One weatherman noted, “We had spring for a whole 15 minutes.” The Trust was invited to host a booth at Lauritzen Gardens’ “Spring Festival” May 17 – 19. It allowed us to visit with members of the public that didn’t know a lot about the Trust, but had interest in Nebraska’s natural resources, especially our plants and animals. The Trust approved a grant earlier this year to Lauritzen Garden to assist with a conservation center, imperiled plants greenhouse and demonstration rain garden.
The legislative session ends on June 5th and we continue to monitor LB 57. It was prioritized by Senator Larson. The Trust board was originally neutral, but changed its position to opposition at the April 4, 2013, board meeting. The bill is currently on Select File awaiting second round debate.
Here is to a wet summer, but not too wet.
Mark A. Brohman
Lincoln Parks Foundation - Revitalizing Nebraska's Centennial Mall
The leaders of the campaign to revitalize Nebraska’s Centennial Mall reached a milestone in a four-year fund-raising effort with two recent announcements – (1) an award of a third and final year of an Nebraska Environmental Trust Grant for $200,000, and (2) a donation of $2 million from a Nebraska native, Glenn Korff of Boulder, Colorado. The gift from Glenn Korff represents the largest amount ever given to the Lincoln parks system. With these announcements, $9.6 million has been committed to the project which includes the establishment of $1.5 million endowment to serve as an ongoing funding source for future repair and replacement needs along the Mall. The City of Lincoln intends to start construction later this fall of the third/final phase of the seven-block Mall that connects the State Capitol with the University of Nebraska. The entire project should be completed in 2015 in time for the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2017.
Envisioned by Capitol Architect Bertram Goodhue, Nebraska’s Centennial Mall was built in 1967 to commemorate the State’s 100th birthday. Visitors to the Mall include residents, tourists and 35,000 fourth grade students from across the state that visit the Capitol every year and use the Mall as part of their field trip focusing on Nebraska history. The condition of the Mall has deteriorated over the years, and is not accessible to those with mobility limitations. A master plan for renovation of the Mall has been developed by the team of The Clark Enersen Partners, Bahr Vermeer Haecker, Olsson Associates and Tom Laging. The plan was approved by Nebraska Capitol Commission which is chaired by the Governor as well as the Capitol Environs Commission.
The revitalized Mall will have accessible walkways and is being designed to accommodate a wide variety of activities and uses. Some of the more prominent features will include the Capitol Fountain and Plaza featuring the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, the Nebraska Plaza and Missouri River Fountain, the Platte River and Ogallala Aquifer plaza areas, the Sparking the Good Life Fountain and Plaza, and the Spirit of Nebraska Pathway. This pathway will be a series of granite and bronze tiles placed along the twin walkways that frame all seven blocks of the Mall. The pathway program supports the Mall project and endowment fund by providing opportunities to sponsor tiles about famous Nebraskans and to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses. Over time, it is envisioned that these blocks will become a “Mosaic of Nebraskans” and their stories.
An interactive education system that gives visitors access to more in-depth information through their smartphones or tablet computers is also being designed into the Mall. The technology will link visitors to historical information on a dedicated website at EducationOnLocation.org. Educators can access the website for additional information on these topics in their classrooms. Plans also are under way to install wi-fi and broadband systems. Campaign leaders also recently announced partnerships with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and the agriculture industry. The new interactive education system will provide an opportunity to present detailed accounts of their roles in Nebraska history.
Funding from the Trust is being used toward energy efficient and renewable energy features such as LED lighting, to demonstrate alternative storm water management techniques such as Silva Cells and permeable pavement, and for the planting of street trees and native grasses. The project will enhance the downtown area’s habitat by planting trees utilizing Silva Cell technology to promote street trees to grow to their full height, live the entire duration of their life, and eliminate compacted soils and the resulting buckling of pavement due to tree roots growing up instead of down. Silva Cells utilize a mix of native soils and sand to retain runoff for a longer period of time, both helping the trees grow and allowing for the water to perk through native soils and sands while removing herbicides, pesticides, oils and grease that stormwater often picks up.
The project is sponsored by the Lincoln Parks Foundation, and other major partners include the City of Lincoln; the State of Nebraska; Nebraska Environmental Trust; Union Pacific; Windstream; the Lincoln Community Foundation on behalf of the Sheila Dickinson Dinsmore Graf Fund; the Lancaster County Visitor Improvement Fund; Burlington Northern Santa Fe; the Sunderland Foundation; the Dillon Foundation; Ameritas; First National Bank; State Farm; Nebraska Farm Bureau; the Cope Foundation of Kearney; and the Junior League of Lincoln.For more information about the project, call 402-441-8528 or visit NECentennialMall.org
Gretna High School - An Educational Immersion Project
Gretna High School recently received a grant from the Trust for the Courtyard and Garden: An Educational Immersion Project to enhance the school's current garden as well as design a new courtyard within the school's addition.
They have two areas under development: the Garden and the Courtyard. Both areas are being developed for the purposes of educating and immersing our students in conservation issues and sustainability. The Courtyard will have a shade lab, a full sun lab, a grasses lab, and an evergreen lab. It will also have an amphitheater area for large groups, and another hard surface classroom site. There will be a handicapped accessible raised planting bed. The Courtyard area is totally enclosed by the new addition to their school.
The Garden site is an existing area that will gain some improvements. These include a hard surface classroom area, an annual bed, trees to mitigate sound pollution from the shop exhaust system, a flume to mitigate a drainage issue, and an extended planting area. All curricular areas from art and music to science will be able to use these outdoor classrooms. Students will be directly involved in the development of these areas as much as possible. Shop students are making their stakes to label the trees, students have moved plants, students will be mulching, and doing additional plantings. As many of their students as possible will be immersed in this outdoor educational project.
Nebraska State Recycling Equipment Grants
The Nebraska State Recycling Association (NSRA) has grant funds available for municipalities, other government entities, non-profits and recycling companies (for example, waste haulers) who wish to purchase recycling equipment. Go to recyclenebraska.org or call Deb Rost at 402-933-3059 in Omaha for more information. Grants can help fund the purchase of recycling trailers, semi trailers, carts, dumpsters, balers, forklifts, trucks and more. Equipment may be new, used or refurbished. This is a quick turnaround program where application-to-approval is usually accomplished in approximately a month.
The Nebraska State Recycling Association is nonprofit organization founded in 1980.
-July 18 - 19, 2013 (Thursday/Friday) - 3rd Quarter Board Meeting, Location: Holdrege.
- August 23 - September 2, 2013 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island.
- September 7, 2013 - World O Water Festival, Omaha.
- September 10-12, 2013 - Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island