(OMAHA, NEBRASKA – February 22, 2023) Today, Audubon Nebraska announced a $34 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to invest in their Nebraska nature centers and programs. Since July 2020, Audubon has raised more than $31 million toward this goal, which will fund new construction and renovations at their two nature centers – Rowe Sanctuary and Spring Creek Prairie – as well as conservation programs, native habitat restoration, education programs, and partnerships with private landowners across Nebraska.
“We know that what is good for birds is good for people. When birds thrive, so do people. Which is why we work to conserve our waterways and our native prairies, and share our knowledge to inspire people to join us. Everything is connected, and people need these spaces, too,” says Kristal Stoner, Audubon Nebraska Executive Director.
Elevate Nebraska’s ambitious plan includes investments in all areas of Audubon’s statewide work, including:
- Nature Center Expansions – accessibility renovations, new construction, and new nature trails
- Conservation, Stewardship, and Education programs – such as the fourth-grade Prairie Immersion curriculum
- Research – study and track declining bird species and their changing migration patterns
- Working Lands Programs – restoring habitat in partnership with private landowners
- Expanding the Platte River Initiative
- Sustainable Conservation – long-term planning for legacy gifts
Thus far, this fundraising has helped Audubon Nebraska accomplish long-term milestones, including developing and publishing a 50-year restoration plan for Platte River ecosystem in partnership with Vision for an Ecologically Sound Platte River (VESPR). The Platte River Initiative addresses the following challenges across the watershed: the impact of Colorado’s diminishing snowfall; three states’ competing water demands on the Platte; and the river’s conservation needs and habitat it creates for birds.
Audubon is also expanding their Working Lands programs in Nebraska, offering cost sharing programs to private landowners for implementing sustainable land management techniques such as using prescribed burns to manage invasive Eastern Red Cedar in the Sandhills. Private partnerships like the Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative help landowners develop sustainable practices that will serve their business interests, protect water resources, and preserve native prairie habitat.
Audubon’s education programs cultivate the natural curiosity of students and directs it toward the natural sciences. These programs connect students of all ages with science through hands-on experiences, inspiring them to become the next generation of scientists and conservationists that will lead us through tomorrow’s challenges.
Elevate Nebraska calls on all Nebraskans to help us cross the finish line and preserve the places that make this state a haven for birds and nature lovers.
Melissa Amarawardana, Melissa.Amarawardana@audubon.org, 402.999.3404