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Howling Halloween


a BIG week of celebration!

Don't miss the fun Call 441-7895 to register today!

Full Moon Hike Saturday, Oct. 23


Scary Scarecrows Monday, Oct. 25


Preposterous Pumpkins

Tuesday, Oct. 26


A Whoo, a Whoosh and a Web

Tuesday, Oct. 26

Howling Hayracks

Wed. - Sat.

Oct. 27 - 30


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Pioneers Parks Nature Center Newsletter, Fall 2010

PPNC prairie, fall, 2010What an autumn we have been having!  The prairie has been at its glorious best.  We hope you had a chance to take a walk and enjoy the beauty of the grasses and the last wildflowers.  It's not too late!

After over twenty years of Spooktacular, the Nature Center celebration of Halloween has evolved into a whole week of exciting events from a full moon hike to 'howling hayracks'.  Join us for some holiday fun!

Prairie Immersion


Prairie ImmersionOctober 15th marks the end of another successful season of the Prairie Immersion program here at the Nature Center.  Funded by the Hugo A. and Thelma Aspegren Charitable Trust, 1215 LPS 4th graders had a full day to discover the rich history, the natural diversity and the breath-taking beauty the tallgrass prairie has to offer.  

Samples of student journals: 

     "The grass is very tall and pokey, looks cool and never ends.  I like the prairie.  I found two ants on me."                 Hartley student


     "The prairie is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to.  I love the sound of the bugs 'Buzzzzzzzzzzzz.'" 

                                                                           Beattie student      


Student PI Journal
Arnold student

        Prairie looks like                                          

                "full of grass, bugs everywhere"

        Prairie feels like

                "grass rubbing against you"

        Prairie sounds like

                "noise from the bugs, foot

                 crunching grass"              

        Prairie smells like "fresh air"

        One special thing about the prairie is

                 "there is nothing like it"

                                     Humann student


Special Thanks 

Prairie Immersion hikes may be over, but the Nature Center's fall hike schedule is still in full swing.  We will be guiding students to make exciting discoveries on our trails each day until Thanksgiving.  After more than 40 years of providing such experiences to the students of Lincoln free of charge, it was necessary for us to begin charging a fee this fall.  We are most grateful that the Lower Platte South NRD and the Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center are covering these costs for this year, making it possible for all teachers to give their students this important experience.

Nature Preschool

Preschool HikeExploring Nature Center trails and habitats is an important part of every day in our preschool.


In our Pre-K classes show and tell is related to the letter of the week.  One day each child received a bag of Acorns and the teachers helped the children create acorn paintings.  C was for Compost in a jug, complete with Cabbage and Carrot scraps. One child introduced the group to field Corn complete with husk and silk - many children didn't realize the corn-on-the-cob they eat in summer was not the only kind of corn and that birds and squirrels can eat field corn. As usual the fall hayrack ride was a great experience to share with a parent.


An early preschool unit really looked at colors in nature, not just green, but so many shades of green.  Then we began our owl unit.  The children were fascinated by a close encounter with our exhibit barn owl.  We also hiked to see our other exhibit owls.

New Vulture Cage

A new exhibit space next to the bald eagle cage has been constructed for our educational vulture.  This bird is great with the public and loves to show off its huge wing span, but it doesn't play too well with other birds.  It needed a new home.  Thanks to the great generosity and hard work of Dave Titterington of Wild Bird Habitat Stores, his favorite bird is almost ready to move into its new digs.  Thanks also to Rivers Metal Products for their donation of the cage's metal frame, and to Gary Larson and Gary Larson, Jr. for their volunteer construction services!


Heritage School DedicationOn Tuesday, October 5, a perfect fall morning on the prairie, Mayor Chris Beutler, Dr. Marilyn Moore, Lincoln Public Schools

Superintendent for Instruction, Lynne Ireland from the State Historical Society, and Jim McDermott of the Nebraska State Fair Board joined Terry Genrich, Natural Resources Manager for Lincoln Parks and Recreation, as well as Mrs. Henn, Heritage School teacher, and 4th graders from Arnold School, representatives of the Lincoln Cares Program, members of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Lincoln Parks Foundation, Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center, Nature Center staff, and interested members of the public to dedicate Heritage School and the Hudson Cabin.  Both buildings were formerly at State Fair Park and were moved to the Nature Center after the re-location of the fair. 


hudson cabinEach school day the bell rings out over the prairie as another class of 4th graders comes to experience a day in Heritage School as it might have been at the end of the 19th century.  The cabin, at 14 x 16 feet, provides students a glimpse into what it was to live with parents and two siblings in this "largest and grandest house, upon the whole site of [Lancaster] out on Salt Creek."

Nature Center Gardens
herb gardenAnother gardening season is drawing to a close. On October 12th dedicated volunteers potted up the tender herbs to spend the winter in the south window of the Chet Ager Building.  On October 9th, prairie garden volunteers ended their labors by sharing a picnic lunch overlooking the Martin Prairie pond.  If you have enjoyed our beautiful gardens this year, it is these wonderful folks you have to thank!  Interested in joining us?  Give Becky Seth a call at 441-8708.
Growing Up WILD

Growing Up WILDGrowing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children is a Project Wild curriculum for ages 3 - 7.   In a collaboration between the Nature Center and the Lower Platte South NRD, 40 early childhood educators were trained in this program during classes in August and October.  Participants explored such hands-on nature activities such as Spider Web Wonders, Backbone Bonanza and Wiggling Worms.

Friends of PPNC

On September 26th, forty Friends enjoyed a special hayrack ride through the beautiful fall prairie, tours of Heritage School and Hudson Cabin, pizza, homemade goodies, and great conversation.  Consider joining this special group that supports the work of the Nature Center.


The Friends are planning a wonderful Nature's Market for next April.  The live auction will feature unique and creative bird houses.  Applications for selected birdhouse designs are now available and due November 15th.

We have a new place for campfire programs.  Tucked in the trees overlooking our wetlands our amphitheater area is a cozy place to enjoy the night, sing songs and learn about nocturnal animals.
Thank You 

      Aloha Brown: memorial for Kenneth Brown

      Sheryl Buss: monetary donation

      In memory of Helen "Mike" Holmes

           Patricia Lombardi

           Rita McGuire

           Faculty and staff of Nebraska Wesleyan University

      Lutz Family: preschool supplies

      Kathie Putensen: books, craft supplies

      Michelle Crawford: insect collection

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Pioneers Park Nature Center

Did you know...

All spiders produce silk, but not all of them weave webs.  Webs, like the beautiful orb of the large yellow garden spider, are one strategy for catching prey, but some spiders, such as the large hairy wolf spiders, actively hunt. Others, like the crab spider, wait camouflaged for prey to come to them.