Catch these Game and Parks Education Events in December

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in December. Here are some opportunities:

Nebraska Master Naturalist Fall Conference is Dec. 2

Master naturalists and those interested in the program are invited to the Nebraska Master Naturalist Fall Conference to connect with fellow master naturalists, be inspired by their projects, share ideas, and learn about new education and volunteer opportunities.

The conference, with the theme New Beginnings, is Dec. 2 at the Crane Trust near Wood River.

Attendees will hear a program update from Nebraska Master Naturalist Foundation Board President Mike Schrad and meet new Nebraska Master Naturalist State Coordinator Jamie Bachmann.

The Master Naturalist Program is part of a new partnership with the Nebraska Master Naturalist Foundation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Master Naturalist Program recruits, trains, manages and provides resources for its naturalist members participating in interpretation and education, habitat stewardship, community science, and outdoor skills and recreation in Nebraska.

Registration is free and can be completed at the calendar event entry at Direct questions to, with Conference Question in the subject line. A limited number of beds are available at the Crane Trust for Dec. 1.

Archery on Fire Saturday at Platte River SP

Join the fun at Platte River State Park for Archery on Fire from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

Bring the family to at the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Complex and learn more about archery. Equipment and knowledgeable staff will be provided.

Activities will include balloon archery, 3D archery, crossbows, aerial archery, atlatl, tomahawk throwing, slingshots, pellet guns, and more. There also will be pine cone bird feeder making and a reptile show.

Wildcat Tales preschool program is Dec. 5

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will host the monthly Wildcat Tales preschool program Dec. 5.

Each program will include a lesson plan, story and hands-on activity specifically targeted for children ages 2-6 years. The program Powerful Pines will meet at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. Mountain time. Each month will have a different program topic.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Little Saplings program presents Ducks on Dec. 6

Adults looking to explore the outdoors with their young children are invited to Little Saplings, a monthly early childhood nature discovery program at Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

The 2023 series, which occurs the first Wednesday of the month, continues Dec. 6 with the theme Ducks at 9 and 10 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregivers.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Wildcat Hills to host Powerful Pines homeschool program

Come and learn about these trees’ unique seeds, leaves and root system during the Wildcat Hills Homeschool Program Powerful Pines on Dec. 7 at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area.

This program meets once a month at 10 a.m. Mountain time at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Homeschool Hikes set for Dec. 20-21 at Schramm Park SRA

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 21. This month’s theme is Hibernation.

Homeschool Hikes is a monthly nature exploration program hosted by the Schramm Education Center geared toward homeschool families and ages 5 and up.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at

Schramm to host Christmas Bird Count for Kids

Get the family outdoors and help contribute to science by participating in the Christmas Bird Count for Kids at Schramm Education Center near Gretna from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 29.

Schramm naturalists will lead bird hikes in the forest and down to the Platte River. Participants can also watch birds indoors at the park’s feeders. Make bird crafts and help tally the results so they can be shared with the annual Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Project. Reports from each of these counts are sent to the Audubon Society, which compiles the data to help inform researchers about the status of bird populations.

The cost to participate is $4 per child ages 4 and up and $5 per adult. That includes the program and admission to the Education Center after the program. Schramm Family Pass Members participate free. A state park vehicle permit is not required in the Schramm Education Center parking lot.

Platte River SP Nature Center open Saturdays in December

Platte River State Park’s Nature Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in December.

Located below Mallet Lodge near the Wooden Tower, the Nature Center features a classic nature-nook feel with live reptiles and amphibians. Guests can enjoy hands-on activities and interacting with naturalists who are excited to share their knowledge of the outdoors.