A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff


September 2011

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Trust Invites Comments for 2012 Grant Applications
  3. Nebraska Agriculture Education Soils Project Ffunded by the Trust
  4. Exploring the Niobrara’s Past, Present and Future
  5. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

It has been a busy month at the Trust.  We had an opportunity to visit with a lot of people the last few weeks at the Nebraska State Fair, Husker Harvest Days and the Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park.  Having a booth set up at these three major events allowed us to explain to the public what the Trust is and what we do.  At the same time it is very gratifying for us to hear how much the public appreciates what the Trust does and what our funds have accomplished. 

Adding to the busy schedule has been the passing of the grant deadline and now we are preparing the applications to be reviewed by technical reviewers before the Grants Committee begins their work. 

We are sad to report that Tina Harris (Grant Assistant) will be leaving us.  We knew the time was coming as Tina’s husband had taken a new job out of the area and it was just a matter of time before Tina would find a new job closer to her husband’s employer.  We wish Tina well and we’ll miss her and her knowledge of the Trust.

The Huskers are doing well in football as it looks like they will be undefeated going into Wisconsin and the volleyball team appears to be pulling together, but showing areas of weakness at times.  We will see how good both teams are as they enter Big 10 conference play.  Hopefully your local football and volleyball high school team is doing well.

The hint of frost is just around the corner and the cool evenings have set in recently. Enjoy the fall!

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Trust Invites Comments for 2012 Grant Applications

The Nebraska Environmental Trust entered the 2012 grant cycle on September 6, 2011 receiving 93 new applications and 45 carry-over projects requesting a total of $50,755,163.00 in grants.

As part of the grant application process, the Trust invites members of the public to review the proposed grants and provide written comments about the projects. A summary of each proposal will be available soon on the Trust’s web site www.environmentaltrust.org. Comments on the grant applications will be accepted until April 4, 2012 at the Nebraska Environmental Trust, 700 S 16th Street, PO Box 94913, Lincoln, NE 68509-4913 or via e-mail to marilyn.tabor@nebraska.gov.


Nebraska Agriculture Education Soils Project Funded by the Trust

(submitted by Edward George)

“Youth can be valuable partners and resources in helping protect environment and in addressing environmental concerns. They have the power to make a difference in their communities, but often need the encouragement of adults before taking on the challenges of environmental stewardship.”


Cooperative Extension Supports Youth Environmental Stewardship and through the funding of the Trust, seventy Nebraska Agriculture Educators (FFA teachers) attended Excellence in Ag Science Day: Educators Connecting Agriculture to Research at North Platte Research Center and Mead Agriculture Research Extension Center. Agricultural Educators received books, soil probes, and soil information from University of Nebraska Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Soil researchers and specialists presented Agriculture Educators the latest soil technology and educational information. Teachers will have resources for youth education learning in the classroom, chemistry and biology laboratories, computer classes and for field research experiences.

With the financial resources provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska’s 137 Agriculture Educators and over six thousand students:

  • Will develop students' confidence while broadening their investigative research capabilities.
  • Will be actively involved in conserving, preserving and restoring Nebraska’s landscape.
  • Will provide students' with hands on learning opportunities in the classroom and labs that enables them to be active participants within their communities to address soil concerns. Relating learning experiences to real life issues.
  • Will stimulate student’s interests and prepare them with skills about soil science as participants in Nebraska Natural Resource District Land/Soil Judging Contests.
  • Will develop soil projects based upon local environmental concerns, monitor soil health and quality, propose solutions and develop action plans within their communities.
  • Will recognize the impacts of humans on the environment.
  • Assess soil productivity and capability while increasing net profitability without reducing or harming Nebraska’s natural resources.


Participants of the Ag Education Soils Project


Responses from Educators attending 2011 Excellence in Ag Science Days:

“There is so much great information and materials to help me teach soil science. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of it." Hartington Agriculture Educator, Amber Endres.

“Ed (George), your soils workshop was great. Thanks for putting together the grant and for the items we received while at it." Alliance Agriculture Educator, Lori Walla.


Exploring the Niobrara’s Past, Present and Future

(submitted by Michelle Garwood)

As summer draws to an end, kids go back to school and the tourist rush slows, the Niobrara returns to its tranquil self.  Another chapter of the River’s history comes to a close.  Each camping season has its own unique set of stories, ones that area children will probably pass along to their children someday.  But that is ultimately the goal of Niobrara Council education programs – to develop in area residents a deep love and appreciation for this treasured resource.  A love that will be passed from one generation to the next, resulting in active and long-term conservation efforts.

In its ninth year of summer programs, the Niobrara Council delivered four camping experiences with the theme of “The Niobrara:  A Journey Through Time”. 

The youth explored history of the river valley through hands-on fossil presentations.  They also created Native American amulet bags and talked about the history of Fort Niobrara and The Niobrara Valley Preserve south of Norden.  Each camp enjoyed at least one Dutch-oven style meal, similar to how the pioneers used to cook.  The students participated in several modern-day activities including canoeing and tubing, tent camping, hiking, fishing, and photography.  Several species of wildlife were observed and many conversations revolved around preserving the animals and six ecosystems for the future.  The 4th and 5th graders assisted with a conservation project at Zion Lutheran School.  They were some of the first people to start “construction” on the future outdoor classroom that will be open to the public in the upcoming year.  The Downriver youth helped clean up the Keller State Recreation area.

All campers had a chance to enjoy the brand new equipment that was purchased through a $15,000 Nebraska Environmental Trust Grant.  Eight canoes and a canoe trailer, paddles, PFD’s, tents, and sleeping bags were the major items purchased through the grant.  These items made it possible for the camps to evolve to a new level this year and made it possible for the Niobrara Council to offer its first overnight experiences to the older youth.


Canoes purchased using Trust funds

Upcoming Events

- September 25, 2011 - The 100th Anniversary of the Ferguson House - Open House (1pm-5pm)

- November 8, 2011 - 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House.

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