Whooping Crane. Photo: David Browning.
Nebraska is at a crossroads. It sits at the narrow center of the Central Flyway’s hourglass-shaped migration pathway, through which millions of birds funnel during their annual journeys north and south. It is also where eastern and western bird ranges mingle and overlap.
This convergence draws people from all over the planet to see our amazing bird diversity.
Water pollution and overuse are altering the rivers flow across our state and the aquifers that lie underneath. Only two percent of tallgrass prairie remains intact, making it the most endangered ecosystem in North America. Remaining prairies shrink as they are divided, converted, or invaded by cedar trees. Native plants are disappearing from our landscapes. The places birds need to thrive are in danger. There is an urgent need to secure the preservation of these spaces, and Audubon Nebraska knows how do it—and how to ensure these areas benefit birds and people for decades to come.
Now is the time to ensure the Platte River remains a vital sanctuary for Sandhill Cranes during migration. We must tell the stories of birds like the rare and inconspicuous Henslow’s Sparrow, and of the tallgrass prairie that is home to it and many other birds—because so few of these places remain. And we must use these stories to educate and empower our rural and urban residents to help us conserve and steward these spaces. Now is the time to build a Nebraska where resilient habitats benefit birds, people, and communities.
Elevate is the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in our history. This statewide effort seeks to raise $34 million to conserve Nebraska’s birds and the places they need, and is part of a comprehensive $750 million national campaign. This is a call to action to protect birds, and in so doing, to protect our way of life and the landscapes we love across our state.
Bald Eagle. Photo: Cynthia Hansen.
Elevate seeks to raise $30 million+ for habitat restoration, accessible education programs, agricultural partnerships, and water conservation - and you can help us get there!
At the center of it all
We continually seek to increase these centers’ accessibility to the public, because we know that people first must learn more about their environment before they are motivated to care for it. These investments will touch everything—from education to working lands, from science-based programming to operations—that Audubon Nebraska does and can achieve at our centers and beyond.
Empower people, protect places
To solve our greatest environmental challenges, we need to educate the next generation about the beauty and importance of natural places and empower them to steward and protect ecosystems in the future. Through our education programs, we provide opportunities for young people to experience nature firsthand. To get their hands dirty working in the soil. To wander through native tallgrass prairie or leap into the Platte River, no matter its temperature. To learn about nature by being in nature.
Grow partnerships, preserve prairie
Nebraska is 97 percent privately owned, so farmers and ranchers are the primary stewards of our prairies. Today we are watching our prairies transition to cedar forests because encroaching trees are uncontrolled. Development and land-use conversion continue to fragment our prairies. Many Nebraskans have a strong connection to the land, and a desire to improve practices to preserve it. Audubon Nebraska staff collaborate with private landowners to implement land practices that will benefit birds and people for decades to come.
Restore the river that runs through it
The importance of the Platte River watershed cannot be overstated. It is a water source for five million people across three states. It provides vital habitat for wildlife and birds. And it sits at a critical juncture where water shortages, drought, and weather extremes are becoming the norm.
Building a Legacy
We must act now to preserve what makes Nebraska special. Tallgrass prairie is North America’s most endangered ecosystem, and grassland birds are vanishing with it. Water shortages, drought, and extreme weather and water diversion are the Platte River’s new normal, threatening migrating cranes and nesting terns and plovers.
Bald Eagles once had nearly gone extinct, but no more. My father told me that when people pay attention to birds, they learn from them and then they take action to protect them. His words remain with me today and reinforce my choice of a career in conservation.