Cody Wagner

Conservation Program Manager

Cody oversees the conservation program at Rowe Sanctuary, including land management of Rowe’s 3,000 acres, long-term monitoring efforts, and coordination with partner organizations and local landowners to accomplish large scale conservation objectives throughout the central Platte River Valley. He has been with Audubon since 2016, starting out as the Habitat Program Technician before taking on a variety of roles over the years prior to his current position.

Cody earned a B.S. in Conservation Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from Wayne State College. Prior to his time with Audubon he worked with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission private lands conservation program, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge system, and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District groundwater management team.

His love of the outdoors extends to his hobbies as well and in his free time he enjoys gardening, exploring the outdoor areas of Nebraska, camping, and photography.

Conservation Influence:

There have been many people who instilled in me a love of the outdoors and especially the prairie. I was fortunate to grow up outdoors hunting with my father, passing hours exploring the woods and streams behind my house in the country, and to have a science teacher who taught a class all about Nebraska’s wildlife with Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac as the textbook. These experiences made me love the outdoors, but it was quiet time spent sitting in a prairie while studying botany in college that had me fall in love with grasslands. Prairies make you slow down and look close if you want to see the diversity beyond their reputation as a sea of grass. At the same time, you can see that these are constantly changing ecosystems and full of surprises year after year. I want to make sure that future generations get the chance to appreciate the subtle beauty of our native grasslands.

Favorite Bird:

My favorite birds are probably Bobolinks. Their bubbly, almost alien calls signal summer has arrived on the prairie with all that entails. A close runner up would be the Upland Sandpiper, the first time I heard their “wolf whistle” call in the early morning air in the Nebraska Sandhills is one of my all time favorite memories.