On Saturday, September 22nd, celebrate birds with a special National Public Lands Day event at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). From 8:00 until noon, enjoy a bird walk, a presentation on grassland birds from a UNL expert, and help clean and repair the bluebird boxes on the refuge.

At 8:00 a.m., join area birding experts Wendy Murphy, from the Niobrara Council, and Kelly Corman, from the Nebraska Game & Park Commission’s Northern Prairies Land Trust, on a bird identification walk. The walk will last about 1.5 hours, and follow the 1-mile Fort Falls Trail. All skill levels are welcome, and attendees should meet at the Fort Niobrara NWR Burr Oak Parking Area to begin the walk. Binoculars will be available for those who do not have them.

At 10:00 a.m., UNL researcher Lyndsie Wszola will present a program on grassland birds, including the popular Eastern and Mountain Bluebirds. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation.

At 11:00 a.m., participants are invited to help clean and repair the bluebird boxes along the trail at Fort Niobrara NWR. These boxes are regularly used by bluebirds and tree swallows, but must be cleaned annually. All tools and safety equipment will be provided, and no skill is necessary to help out.

This event is sponsored by the Sandhills Prairie Refuge Association, the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, and the Niobrara National Scenic River, with assistance from the Niobrara Council and the Northern Prairies Land Trust/Nebraska Game & Parks Commission. For more information, please contact the Niobrara National Scenic River at 402-376-1901.

Caption: Lisa and Hope Woodraska join Park Ranger Bobbie Jo Pennington on a special Kids’ Discovery Hike for National Public Lands Day.