Pine Ridge/Badlands Grazing and Bird Tour is May 17-18 | TSLN.com

Pine Ridge/Badlands Grazing and Bird Tour is May 17-18

LINCOLN, NE – What do long-billed curlew have to do with grazing management? Ranchers and wildlife enthusiasts are invited to find out at the upcoming Pine Ridge & Badlands Grazing and Bird Tour. Historic Fort Robinson near Crawford, NE is the location for this May 17-18, 2011 tour where participants will view the area’s unique and diverse birds and learn how rangeland management plays an important role in supporting bird populations.

The Tour will begin at noon May 17 at the Buffalo Soldiers Hall at Fort Robinson State Park. Guests will check in, then learn about local rangeland management efforts to promote wildlife and bird habitat. Bird experts will present classroom and field-based bird identification sessions including information about the species occupying this diverse landscape, their habitat needs, and how grazing and burning practices influence bird habitat. In the afternoon, participants will have options to visit several habitats including: Ponderosa Pine, riparian, shrub/lake margins, mixed grasslands and clay badlands. That evening, a Dutch Oven Ranch dinner will be available for an additional fee by the High Country Ranch Ride. Under the shadow of Crow Butte, diners will look for elk and mountain sheep along the bluffs and listen to partnering ranchers discuss their efforts to enhance wildlife habitat.

The second day will start with optional early morning bird watching around Fort Robinson followed by a continental breakfast. Participants will then have the opportunity to visit or re-visit habitat sites from the previous day before reconvening at the Buffalo Soldiers Hall for the tour-ending lunch, where speakers from the Nebraska High Country Ranch Group will discuss integrating livestock production, tourism, and wildlife habitat enhancement.

This tour is sponsored by the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Nebraska Bird Partnership, Audubon Nebraska, Fort Robinson State Park and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Tour cost is $60 per person, and includes lunch both days, materials, breakfast and transportation to sites. Space is limited to 80 attendees. Registration is due May 12, 2011, and participants can contact Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition Coordinator, Ron Bolze, at 402-426-2033 or ron@nebraskagrazinglands.org for information and a registration form.

Accommodations and the Dutch Oven Ranch Dinner are not included in the tour cost. Reservations for accommodations can be made directly with Fort Robinson State Park at 308-665-2900 or online at http://www.stateparks.com/fort_robinson.html. The Dutch Oven Ranch Dinner will require a separate reservation ($20 in advance) made out to the “High Country Ranch Ride” sent to UNL Extension, 250 Main. Suite 8 Chadron, NE 69337 by May 13. Contact Scott Cotton, NGLC Vice Chairman at 308-432-3373 or scotton2@unl.edu.

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