Conservation Fun Abounds for 235 Fifth Graders at Northwest Nebraska Festival

Conservation Fun Abounds for 235 Fifth Graders at Northwest Nebraska Festival



Date: 5/13/16

Contact Info: Sheri Daniels, 308-432-6190 daniels [at]


Conservation Fun Abounds for 235 Fifth Graders at Northwest Nebraska Festival


On Tuesday, May 3rd, The Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (UNWNRD), along with a dozen partners, hosted the 12th Annual Northwest Nebraska Conservation Festival at the Assumption Arena in Chadron.  A day full of environmental education was well-attended by approximately 235 area students from 7 schools, including Alliance, Hay Springs, Rushville, Gordon, St. Agnes Academy, Crawford, Chadron and a few locally home schooled children as well. 


Natural resources education is the focus of the Northwest Nebraska Conservation Festival which aligns well with the science standards and the work of numerous natural resource entities who participate in the event each year.  During the Festival, Bryan Kahl, Brad Carlson and Aaron Sanford with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) hosted a GPS Hunt while Robin Foulk and Molly Lakin covered a soil education activity called Soil Detectives.  Dave Carlson, UNWNRD Board Member utilized a watershed model to enlighten students about different pollution sources that may impact a watershed.  Youth learned about trees and forest resources by navigating a scavenger hunt with Amy Seiler and Fred McCartney of the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) and Scott Schremmer with City of Chadron. 


The Panhandle Research Integration for Discovery Education (PRIDE) Committee members Dan Wordekemper, Kristi Paul, Lora O’Rourke, Sarlyn McCormick, Nancy Adler and Jan Bruhn taught youth about noxious weed control.  Shelley Steffl with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Erin Divine with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies utilized a wildlife game called “Quick Frozen Critters”. Leah Gremm from Dawes County Extension and Haley Anders from UNWNRD educated students about ground water and its connection to lakes, streams and rivers. UNWNRD technician Nevin Price and Vern Stokey from Cameco helped the students launch water rockets.  A new addition this year, a Fire Dynamics station with a simluation display that illustrates how fire can move though a landscape, led by NFS Fire Management Specialist Seth Peterson was very popular with the children and teachers alike.  While students enjoyed lunch at Finnegan Park, Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl made a guest appearance to promote the messages of wildfire and pollution prevention thanks to several staff from the U.S. Forest Service.


In an effort to educate our youth about environmental issues and promote stewardship for our surroundings, the UNWNRD and partners listed above coordinate and host the Northwest Nebraska Conservation Festival each spring.  The event is open to fifth-grade students throughout the District.  At the end of the event, each student was given a Colorado Blue Spruce seedling, a kit to make a compass and numerous educational prizes from participating agencies.

For more information about the education programs available with UNWNRD, please visit, or call 308-432-6190.

Nebraska’s NRDs * Protecting Property * Protecting Lives * Protecting the Future!