2016 Annual Report

Mary Lou Chapek protects Turkey Creek Preserve, a part of her conservation vision, through a donated conservation easement.  Northern Cheyenne completes Monument on land protected by a conservation easement.  The Nebraska Land Trust supports the Monument project by helping to raise funds from many generous individuals and foundations.  The Nebraska Land Trust initiates community conservation to engage local people in land protection along the Lower Platte Valley.

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A place to heal and remember: Northern Cheyenne Monument is dedicated on protected land in Pine Ridge
When you plan a mid-July event outdoors in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge, you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. So a large tent was erected to shelter attendees from blazing sun or heavy rain at the dedication of a Monument to the Cheyenne Breakout of 1879. However, Mother Nature was kind the morning of July 15, 2016, providing a cloudy sky and a cool breeze that had some people reaching for coats including Dave Sands, the Nebraska Land Trust’s (NLT) executive director who had served on the Monument Committee to help raise $150,000 for its completion. Read the full story
NET’s “Nebraska Stories”: Sowbelly Canyon
NET Television’s series “Nebraska Stories” showcases the restoration of Sowbelly Canyon, which was recently protected by Jim and Chris Voeller through a Nebraska Land Trust conservation easement. The once pine-covered property has experienced some destructive natural events through the years by hot crown fires and flash floods. Restoration efforts by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and dedicated landowners are bringing back its beauty. Read the full story
Conservationist’s vision protected forever north of Omaha
It was a glorious October day in 2016 when a team from the Nebraska Land Trust (NLT) descended on Mary Lou Chapek’s land in Washington County.  The warm weather was complimented by the warm colors of autumn as shades of red, orange and yellow seemed to glow beneath a deep blue sky.  Oak/hickory woodlands blanketed the steep hills flanking the Missouri Valley, while marshes, lakes and creeks occupied the valley floor.  Read the full story
2016 Appeal
A few weeks ago on election night, I was nowhere near a newscast or voting booth (I voted early). Instead, I was in the Pine Ridge on a 2,400-acre ranch east of Chadron. At the family’s invitation, I had been there to view elk on three previous occasions, but not one had indulged my desire to see them. This time, I had reason for high hopes. An hour before sunset I had climbed into a new viewing blind with the ranching couple who love these elk and are hoping to permanently preserve their habitat through a conservation easement with the Nebraska Land Trust (NLT).

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Forest stand improvement gives oak trees a fighting chance
After the Nebraska Land Trust (NLT) completed the Kennedy conservation easement in 2013, a conversation began around the management of their woodland.  The protected property lies along the lower Platte Valley, an area known for its oak-hickory woodland bluffs.  However, the “oak” in “oak-hickory” is under considerable pressure to keep its name in the title. Read the full story
Loess Canyons prairie adds to conservation legacy
When Todd and Laura McWha preserved their 304-acre Loess Canyons prairie south of Brady last December, it was actually the second prairie they had preserved forever. Previously they had completed a conservation easement on a Sandhills prairie with a Read the full story
Sowbelly Ranch: A Pine Ridge jewel where beauty is more than skin deep
In 1983, the late Fred Thomas wrote a popular, well-informed column for the Omaha World-Herald titled “Your Environment.”  On one occasion, he “asked a few veteran Nebraska travelers to select the prettiest places in Nebraska.”  According to Fred, “Sowbelly Canyon drew more mention for No. 1 than anyplace else.” Read the full story
Marshall family conserves history and native grasslands on the Niobrara River
While in college, Gary and Laura Marshall fell in love with 261 acres on the Niobrara River in Boyd County. So much so that they purchased the land at a time in life when many of their peers hadn’t yet purchased their first car. Read the full story
2015 Appeal
It was a perfect October morning in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge. Under a deep blue sky the Black Hills rose like an island from rolling waves of grass 60 miles to the north. Curving away to the western horizon, the escarpment of the Pine Ridge resembled a rocky shoreline. Eight members of the Read the full story