Education

Education

In addition to some of the conventional educational activities, NNRD staff strive to provide information and education to both youth and adults. Quarterly newsletters, this website, periodic press releases, social media, displays, and presentations are just a few of the vehicles used to share information about programs and events. NRD staff are always available to speak to civic groups, conduct educational workshops for teachers and/or students, or lead tours and informational activities upon request.

Water Celebration

Water Celebration
Water Celebration

Held each year at Peru State College in March during their spring break, this collaborative effort with the Cooperative Extension, NRCS, Nebraska Forest Service, and others provides fifth graders with a day full of hands-on activities. Games, experiments, and crafts combine to explain the different ways water is important.

Plant-A-Tree

Plant-A-Tree
Plant-A-Tree

Over 18,000 trees have been presented to third graders throughout the District since the program’s inception in 1989. NRD staff deliver the trees each April to classrooms at their request; a short program is provided to educate the youngsters about their tree species and how to plant and care for it. Each child has an opportunity to take a seedling home.

Envirothon

Envirothon
Envirothon

This competition tests teams of five high schoolers in seven categories: soils, wildlife, range, forestry, aquatics, policy, and one national subject which changes each year. Regional contests take place from January-March across the state; winners advance to the State contest in late April at locations that change each year. The lucky State winner represents Nebraska at the national contest later that summer. The regional contest for schools in the Nemaha NRD is in Beatrice in March.

Nebraska Envirothon

Land & Range Judging Contests

Land & Range Judging Contests
2018 Area Land Judging
Land & Range Judging Contests

Each fall high school FFA students compete in range judging contests and land judging contests throughout the state. Range judging takes place in September within predetermined regions, and those contests rotate among different locations within their regions. Students are tested on plant identification and range management. A state contest which also rotates around the state is held later in the month, and any team or individual may compete at that contest regardless of their placing in the regionals.

Land judging contests are also set up on a regional basis, and the Nemaha NRD and Lower Big Blue NRD take turns hosting every other year. This contest involves evaluating soils and land use. Unlike the range contest, land judging contestants must qualify at their regional contest in order to participate in the state contest.

2020 Land Judging Results

            A warm, sunny day greeted the 208 FFA students who competed at the annual Southeast Area Land Judging Contest. Held every fall, the 2020 contest took place on October 7 east of Auburn, Nebraska. The contest was sponsored by the Nemaha Natural Resources District with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Mark Willoughby, retired NRCS soil scientist.

            Participants traveled among four pits on the farm and were tested on soil characteristics and recommended land treatment measures at each pit. In order to meet COVID-19 safety requirements, all students and adults wore face coverings and maintained social distancing. Also competitors stayed within their own school group instead of mixing with students from other schools. Schools arrived in 20-minute intervals, proceeded through the 4-station contest site, and left at the end of their school’s competition. Results were not announced in a group on the day of the contest as usual but instead were sent to all schools the following week.

            FFA chapters who competed at this year’s southeast area contest came from Diller-Odell, Fairbury, Falls City, HTRS, Johnson-Brock, Johnson County Central, Lewiston, Meridian, Nebraska City, Palmyra, Pawnee City, Syracuse, and Tri County. Though students compete individually, four-member teams are also formed from each school based on their scores. The top four schools will advance one team each to the State Land Judging Contest scheduled October 28 in York County. Individually, anyone finishing in the top 10 who is not already on a state-qualifying team may also advance to the State contest.

            Earning a berth at the State contest were the top four teams including first place finishing team Tri County composed of Gavin Weichel, Cole Siems, Brevin Damrow, and Landen Chapman. In second place was Lewiston’s team with members Masyn Arena, Ty Arena, Leah Christen, and Tristen Ray. Third place was awarded to the Diller-Odell team of Callan McKinney, Austin Jurgens, Zach Warren, and Cooper Ebeling. Rounding out the top four teams was Justin Brewer, David Kuker, Kyler Frederick, and Havyn Ruiz from Falls City.

            Taking top honors in the individual competition were Masyn Arena from Lewiston followed by Diller-Odell’s Callan McKinney in second place. Tri County’s Gavin Weichel, Cole Siems, and Brevin Damrow claimed the next three purple ribbons. Jacob Wood representing Palmyra FFA placed sixth, and Diller Odell student Austin Jurgens earned seventh place. Justin Brewer and David Kuker, both from Falls City, rounded out the purple ribbon winners in eighth and ninth place. Tenth place and a blue ribbon went to Landen Chapman from Tri County. Since Wood was not on a State qualifying team, he earns a trip to the contest to compete as an individual only.

            Though a bit unusual, this year’s contest still provided the youth an opportunity to use their skills and knowledge gained in preparing for the contest. Thanks to the students, instructors, school administration, NRD & NRCS staff, Mark Willoughby, and landowners Lynn & Jana Rogge, who allowed the contest to be held on their land, for working together to ensure a successful contest and hands-on learning opportunity for everyone involved.

2020 Area Land Judging - Individual Results

2020 Area Land Judging - Team Results

 

Watershed of Wonders

Watershed of Wonders
Watershed of Wonders

In even numbered years the Nemaha NRD hosts a day camp, Watershed of Wonders, at one of its public recreation areas for children ages 10-12. The camp originated in 2002 and has been at either Kirkman’s Cove or Iron Horse Trail Lake every two years.

Up to 100 children may be accommodated at the free event that provides hands-on natural resources activities such as archery, fishing, water rockets, and a boat or hayrack ride.