Friends Photo Contest Winner for February

Our Photo Contest for February brought in so many spectacular photos. One small change-only in the event of a tie, will the two photos go to NWRA’s Facebook page to determine the winner. We are still working out all the “kinks” for this and appreciate your patience.      

For February the winning photo taken by Dale Bales, is of a bison and a fiery red sunset at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, Iowa. Linda Frazier has other photos of the Refuge.    

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa was established in 1990 with the purpose to protect, restore and reconstruct and manage native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and sedge meadow. Prior to European-American settlement, tallgrass prairie covered 85% of Iowa. Today, less than 0.1% of Iowa’s prairie remains in small isolated fragments. In an effort to bring back native prairie plant communities, refuge staff and volunteers gathered and used local seed sources to replant or reconstruct 4,000 acres of tallgrass prairie.

Today, the refuge protects over 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat and provides visitors, students, researchers and local landowners with educational, recreational and volunteer opportunities to learn about and enjoy their native tallgrass prairie heritage.

The Friends of Neal Smith NWR exists to assist the Refuge and the staff in a variety of ways. Helping with publicity, including through funding of a billboard is ongoing. Concerts, Bison Days, trail walks, guest speakers, gatherings of Friends group members, volunteer work days, art exhibits, photography contest and exhibits, scholarships, funding of transportation for school field trips, funding for internships, greeting visitors and operating the Nature Store are just some of the ways in which the Friends of NSNWR are involved with this special Refuge. 

Continue ReadingFriends Photo Contest Winner for February

Spotlight on Fort Niobrara NWR

Last month, Mark Lindvall shared this amazing video when he was at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge during their bison roundup. Thank you, Mark!

Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge is located in north central Nebraska and encompasses also 20,000 acres. The Refuge was once a frontier military fort and was established in 1912 as a “preserve and breeding ground for native birds”. Later, the Refuge’s purpose was expanded to include the conservation of bison and elk herds, like those that once roamed the Great Plains.

At Fort Niobrara NWR you will see a unique blend of topography, soils, and rock formations. The Niobrara River flows across the Refuge for 9 miles, cutting deep canyons into the limestone rocks along the river.

You can drive the 3 ½ mile auto tour route near the Visitor Center to see bison, prairie dogs, elk, many different birds and historical points of interest. There is a scenic overlook just off the highway that runs by the Refuge. Also, a nature trail descends stairs down to the base of Fort Falls and continues to the Niobrara River.

Definitely put Fort Niobrara on your list of Refuges to visit!

Continue ReadingSpotlight on Fort Niobrara NWR