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Connecting People 
With Nature


Birdathon and Give to Lincoln Day are underway!

Click here to donate to Birdathon



Check out the June Babbling Brook


for more information.

In celebration of Wildflower Week


 Saturday June 10, 2023 from 9 AM until Noon 

 Dieken Tallgrass Prairie

 Southwest of Unadilla on Co Rd I and 18.  Wildflower and native plant ID, bird watching, photography, insect sightings, hiking and plant seed collection will all be available for those who make the drive to Dieken.  

Give Nebraska is preparing to kick off                                           this year's 


Wachiska Audubon Society will be participating and we are fortunate to be one of the 70+ members who benefit from the 100+ public and private workplaces that allow employees to contribute to their favorite non-profits through payroll deductions.

On August 16, 2022, the Board approved revised bylaws that will be presented to the membership during the annual meeting in November. Both the 2013 and 2022 versions may be viewed or downloaded. 

Trumpeter Swans 

by Dr. Mark Vrtiska

Professor of Practice, Wildlife Management

School of Natural Resources, UNL

Wachiska Program and General Meeting —

Thursday, June 8, 7:00 p.m., Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street,

and also via YouTube link:

Trumpeter swans were extirpated from most of North America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Restoration efforts were initiated in the 1960s at Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge at Martin, South Dakota, near the South Dakota/Nebraska state line. Trumpeter swans in the Sandhills of Nebraska are part of the High Plains flock and are considered a tier-one species in the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. The High Plains flock has expanded from their range across the Sandhills and continues to grow in number; however, few data are available regarding the biology and ecology for the species in Nebraska.


Trumpeter swans nest and raise young on Sandhills lakes and wetlands. Aerial survey data indicate that they primarily use the Niobrara, Snake, North and Middle Loup and Calamus rivers during winter. However, other areas may be used (e.g., Blue Creek) but have not been documented. Wind and energy projects proposed in the Sandhills may affect trumpeter swan movements and may cause increased mortality via strikes with power lines or degradation of wintering habitat. Information regarding movements of trumpeter swans within and between wintering sites would provide insights for managers to alleviate impacts of energy development as well as provide information for conservation planning. Recent studies were conducted on nesting trumpeters, using new technology to track movements and habitat use. Studies provided some of the initial information regarding trumpeter swans in Nebraska and have provided some interesting information on these birds. Trumpeter swan populations have also increased across North America, representing another wildlife restoration success.


Dr. Mark Vrtiska is currently professor of practice, wildlife management at the School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to that, he was the waterfowl program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 20+ years and a regional biologist with Ducks Unlimited, Inc., in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Both past positions as well as his graduate and technician work have taken him across the U.S. and into parts of Canada studying waterfowl. Originally from Beatrice, Nebraska, Vrtiska received his bachelor’s degree from UNL, his master’s at Eastern Kentucky University, and Ph.D. from Mississippi State. When not working, Mark likes to take his dog Tessie hunting, reading history, watching Cornhusker sports, and interacting with grandkids.


Join Wachiska on Thursday, June 8, at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, 6300 A Street, for this free, public, in-person talk which will also be live-streamed at No registration is needed. The program can also be viewed at a later date. Check Wachiska’s website for links to past programs.


NOTE: Due to scheduling conflicts in June, there will not be a wetlands video following the regular program. These popular videos will resume at the July meeting following the picnic.


June Calendar of Events

June 5                Education/Outreach Committee

                           via Zoom, 6:00 p.m.

June 8               General Meeting, “Trumpeter Swans,”

                           by Dr. Mark Vrtiska,    

                           7:00 p.m. in-person, Unitarian Church, 

                           live- streamed; no registration 

June 12             Conservation Committee via Zoom, 6:30 p.m.

June 15              Newsletter deadline in Wachiska office,

                           5:00 p.m.

June 20              Board Meeting via Zoom, 7:00 p.m.

Upcoming Events – Save the Dates

July 13      Potluck picnic, Unitarian Church, 6:00 p.m. followed by


July 29   “Tour the Wild Side,” 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 3     50th Anniversary Celebration, Innovation Campus,                                                   details later             

Join Wachiska Today

Become a member of the Wachiska chapter of the National Audubon Society and support environmental conservation, education, and outreach in Southeast Nebraska.

Click HERE for details.

Read recent newsletters

Download the newsletter HERE

 NEW!  Wachiska is on YouTube 

In September 2021, the Wachiska Board adopted the National Audubon’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as the Chapter’s own goals: 

The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

The photos on this website were taken by Wachiska members. Many thanks to Bruce Wendorff, 

Linda Brown, Paul Johnsguard, Tim Knott, Stu Luttich, John Carlini and Elizabeth Nelson. 

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