Saving Wildlife and Wild Places 2016

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/636900

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Page 6 of 7

hen people go out into the "wild" – whether in their backyard, a state park or a drive in the country – what do they actually see? Are they looking actively for wildlife or just enjoying the walk or drive? Believe it or not, it is real easy to see animals in their natural habitat going about their daily routine. All that needs to happen is to look for things that do not belong or seem out of the ordinary. When walking through the forest, park or even looking in the backyard, one may notice out of the corner of his or her eye something that does not seem right. This is the moment to turn and focus attention in that direction. There is an excellent chance to see something otherwise unnoticed. Always be aware of what the surroundings have to offer. When people consider entering the secretive world of wildlife in its natural habitat, it is more than often a question of "How do I get the most out of spotting and viewing wildlife wherever I go?" Shy wildlife can be hard to find. However, each year we offer Watchable Wildlife small grants to many entities, which are designed to enhance peoples' viewing experiences and to get folks involved with and connected to wildlife around them. The grant program is also meant to lead to further appreciation of wildlife the state of Nebraska has to offer and to promote ecotourism opportunities in rural areas, which helps booster the local and state economy. With the help of the watchable wildlife grant program, several wildlife viewing blinds have been built throughout the state to facilitate and enhance people's experiences in viewing numerous Nebraska wildlife species. The structures used were made in several different ways from converted material to newly built structures and ADA-accessible blinds. Red Willow County in southwest Nebraska hosts an annual Chicken Dance Festival using such blinds. Since 2013, they have been host to visitors from New York, Idaho, South Carolina and Germany, among other locations. The ADA accessible blinds have made it possible for all people to enjoy the sights that the festival has to offer. Several more pictures and information can be found on the festival's Facebook page: http://www.facebook. com/PrairieChickenDanceTours/. Through the use of blinds, such as these in Red Willow, the public is able to view Greater Prairie-Chickens "dancing" in leks (or groups of males) not usually seen at such close proximity. The public also is able to appreciate the animals in their natural habitat without disturbing the animals' normal activities. Having educational opportunities such as these has brought sightseers from around the country and world into some of the smaller communities in Nebraska. ✔ By Adam Jones, Watchable Wildlife Biologist, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Viewing from a Distance PHOTO BY CAROL SCHLEGELRS ti l f ildlif hen – w par what do they a W 7 PHOT PHOTO BY O BY CAR CAROL S OL SCHLE CHLEGELR GELRS ADA accessible trailer converted into a viewing blind to help everyone enjoy spectacles such as the "Chicken Dance" Visitor's at the Red Willow Prairie Chicken Dance Festival enjoying the Dance of the Birds. Greater Prairie Chickens "dancing" in a lek working to attract females. PHOTO BY KEN AND MARY CAMPBELL

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