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"Nebraska's Pollinator Community Science"

  by Cody Dreier, Pollinator Ecologist,

      Nebraska Game and Parks Commission 

Wachiska Program and General Meeting — Thursday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.,

Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street, and also via YouTube link:


Many insect populations have taken a turn for the worse over the last century. Some of the best tools to monitor these populations are community-based science projects. This talk will focus on pollinator community science opportunities in Nebraska.


The first project is Nebraska’s Big Butterfly Count, the brainchild of Joanne Langabee, a master naturalist from Omaha. It involves walking self-selected trails, identifying and counting each butterfly seen. This year the survey training will focus on common eastern and central Nebraska butterfly species and will be held May 4 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Whitney Education Center at Aurora. This is before my talk, so be sure to get signed up ahead of time.


My primary duty is to run the Nebraska Game and Parks’ Monarch and Regal Fritillary Survey. This community science project involves walking assigned 200-meter-long transects looking for monarchs and regal fritillaries. A quick habitat, vegetation, and management assessment is done on the return trip. There are two training sessions for this survey. The first is at Homestead National Historic Park near Beatrice, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on May 18; the second is at Schramm Education Center near Gretna, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on June 1. If you are unable to make an in-person training date, there is a recorded training on YouTube.


The last project I want to highlight is the Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas, a community science project focused on tracking native bumble bees. Volunteers catch bumble bees and put them on ice to immobilize them. Once asleep, the bees can be safely handled, identified, and photographed. Bees are not harmed during surveys. After the data is collected, the bees wake up and fly away. For more information on how to get involved, check out the Atlas website.


My presentation to Wachiska Audubon will be a deeper dive into how to get involved with pollinator community science in Nebraska. If you are unable to attend the May meeting, contact me to find the community pollinator science project that is right for you. Email me at


Cody Dreier grew up in Humboldt, Nebraska. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney before earning his master’s from UNL. He is now the pollinator ecologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Cody enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three children and playing board games with his friends.


Join Wachiska on Thursday, May 9, at Lincoln’s Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street, to learn more about these projects and many more in which you can participate. This free, public,

in-person talk will also be live-streamed on YouTube at No registration is needed. The program can also be viewed at a later time. Check Wachiska’s website for links to past programs.

Birdathon Field Trips 

The weekend of May 11 and 12 should be one of the best birdwatching weekends of the year. It’s migration time when some of the first warblers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and other migrants make it to Nebraska. That

Saturday is International Bird Migration Day.


Join us on Saturday, May 11, at 8:00 a.m. at Wilderness Park. Meet at the South 14th Street entrance, just north of Rokeby Road and south of Pine Lake Road. Todd Paddock will lead the trip for both beginners and more experienced birders.

On Sunday, May 12, Jeff Meyer will lead a birding hike at Platte River State Park. We will meet at the observation tower at 8:00 a.m. Platte River State Park is about four miles east of South Bend on Highway 66. It is a great place to see tanagers, vireos, flycatchers, and warblers. If you are birding on your own on May 11 and 12, keep track of the bird species you see and turn them in to Ken Reitan at the Wachiska office. This is the weekend we would like to get as large a list of total bird species as possible.

NOU’s 125th Anniversary Celebration to Meet in Lincoln


The Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union (NOU) will be observing the group’s 125th anniversary during their spring meeting May 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Lincoln Southwest, 2500 Tamarin Ridge Road. You do not need to be an NOU member to attend.



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Save the Date for “Tour the Wild Side”


Wachiska’s fourth annual “Tour the Wild Side” is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Plan to join in this tour of several backyards to learn how you can be part of an effort to create patches of habitat that can become a collective living landscape for birds, bugs, and people. Volunteers are needed at each site. Contact Theresa at or Mark at, 402-525-1504 (cell), if you can help on the day of the event.

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center April Programs


Saturday May 4             Beginner Accessible Bird Outing, 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. in partnership with 

                                      the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 


Saturday, May 11           Super Bird Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon. Activities include a Birding

                                       by Ear workshop (8:00 - 9:00 a.m.), a Slow Birding outing (9:00 - 10:00

                                       a.m.), and a Family Bird Fair (10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon). Free admission


Sunday, May 19               Prairie-to-Prairie 2024: Run-Bike-Run. This  non-competitive race is a

                                         fundraiser for the Haines Branch Corridor project.

                                         Register through the Lincoln Parks Foundation at                      

Saturday, April 20           Earth Day Lincoln  10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Innovation Campus                


Tuesday, May 21             Third Tuesday Bird Outing, 8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

                                        Join an experienced guide. Free admission, registration preferred.


More details on these and other events at; 402-797-2301.

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