VIEW the WILDCAT HILLS PHOTO GALLERY | September kicked off Wildcat Hills five week educational bird banding station in cooperation with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. Several area schools traveled out to the Nature Center and took part in the two hour program. Students learned about the bird banding process, migration, local
birds and went on a birding hike! Several new species were captured at this year’s program, including a Stellar’s Jay, Rock Wren and Pine Warbler. In coordination with the Education Bird Banding Station, the Wildcat Hills Nature Center also held a weekend open house. Area bird enthusiasts ‘flocked’ to this program to learn about the banding process and to see birds up-close and in the hand.
Several area schools attended The ‘Branch Out’ program this month. This two day program had a tree themed focus. Several area partners from Educational Service Unit #13, National Parks Service (NPS), Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, UNL Extension,
Forest Service and North Platte NRD helped provide educational opportunities at this event. Expert fire fighting crews traveled from Cape Cod to conduct a training session on fighting forest fires for students.
Wildcat Hills’ staff conducted a presentation for the area home school program. The theme for September’s presentation was “Feathered Friends”. Participants observed a banding process, took part in a bird beak adaptation activity and decorated “binoculars”. The students were excited and attentive when they were observing a Chipping Sparrow and Spotted Towhee up close.
Staff traveled to Lake Oliver to present at the Kimball Outdoor Classroom, presenting a session on animal habitats with a biologist partner from Pheasants Forever. Students learned about area animal habitats and enjoyed playing a predator/prey activity.
Lake Ogallala was another destination for staff presentations. This time staff presented an educational lesson to area second graders about aquatic critters. The students got hands-on and up close with several turtles, frogs, toads and snakes. The student’s hands down favorite animal was the 12 pound snapping turtle.
Other visitors to the center during the month of September included the regional Airstream Club who stopped by to participate and observe the program. The group held their meeting in the Scottsbluff/Gering area and participants from several different states attended.