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Author Archives: Amy Kucera, Associate Editor

A Nebraska native from Verdigre, Kucera received an Associate’s degree in English Education from Northeast Community College in Norfolk and Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Wayne State College in Wayne. She obtained a English language teaching certificate through the Cambridge University in Prague, Czech Republic. She joined the Commission in 2012 as Assistant Park Superintendent at Ponca State Park and became Associate Editor of NEBRASKAland in 2013. In addition to writing, her interests include history, music, art and traveling— especially via foot, horseback, canoe and kayak. She currently lives near Raymond with her dog, Norden.

Turning Ten: The Missouri River Outdoor Expo

Jon Farrar/NEBRASKAland Magazine

More than 52,000 visitors in two days. Nearly 1,000 volunteers. Over 100 hands-on exhibits. Sixteen trolleys. Three locations in one park. Two world-record holders. One decade. As the Missouri River Outdoor Expo reaches a number of milestones, perhaps the most notable is the countless memories created each year at Ponca State Park. Located along the Missouri River near Ponca, the park transforms into a busy city – Nebraska’s fourth largest during the event – accommodating thousands of outdoor enthusiasts of ... Read More »

Good Life, Great Rides: Nebraska Horse Camp and Trails

Horses graze at Fort Robinson State Park.  Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

    From a moonlit ride along the riverside, to a deep canyon descent into forested bluffs, witnessing the beauty of Nebraska from the saddle is an exhilarating experience. With accommodations for both the two- and four-legged, the following locations offer a glimpse of the myriad of riding opportunities to be had throughout the state, which include diverse terrain, unique wildlife viewing opportunities and the wide horizon lines that make Nebraska worth riding. Remember, trail and camp availability is subject ... Read More »

Salt Creek Jewels

Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

A fog rising through the Salt Creek valley led me quietly out the door and down the driveway, past a series of dirt road intersections and directly to the gate of the Little Salt Fork Marsh Preserve near Raymond, just in time to greet the dawn. It was the barbed-wire spun in silk that first made me stop to consider the hidden creatures residing here that revealed a soft touch in sharp contrast to the tamed highway cutting through the creek. As I crossed ... Read More »

Crazy Horse Memorial Ride

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From a humble beginning with a handful of riders to the largest gathering of the Lakota horse nation, the Crazy Horse Memorial Ride is a growing tribute to Oglala Lakota war chief Crazy Horse, as well as warriors of yesterday and today. “The ride is in honor of all veterans,” said Bamm Brewer, ride organizer from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. From Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, participants of the 17th annual event traveled to Chadron on Monday to camp at the Dawes County Fairgrounds. On Tuesday morning, ... Read More »

Nebraska Powwow Calendar

Bison manager and traditional dancer for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Larry Wright Sr. places his bison headcap on a young boy in Niobrara.Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

Just as the pulse of the sun bursting over the prairie horizon signals the dawn, the powwow drum beat heralds dancers to rise and move towards the center of the circle. Led by honored elders, veterans and tribal members with flags and eagle staffs, the grand entry begins and the grounds soon fill with the vivid colors of intricately woven regalia. The men lead the lively procession, wearing horn caps and headdresses, roaches, feathered bustles, bone breastplates, beaded cuffs, buckskin fringe and ribbon shirts, soon ... Read More »

Nebraska Crane Festival Celebrates Stunning Spectacle

Eric Fowler/NEBRASKAland Magazine

As the Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival celebrates 44 years in the Platte River valley this weekend, the Sandhill cranes will have commemorated a few more – at least 2.5 million more, that is. Fossil evidence suggests the Sandhill crane may be the oldest living bird species on the planet. On their ancient migratory pathway from wintering in southern U.S. and Mexico to their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska, they converge along a small swath of braided channels on the Platte River each spring. This ... Read More »

Birds Count: From the Backyard and Beyond

Great Backyard Bird Count led by Loess Hills Audubon Society volunteers at Ponca State Park, 2013.

A hooded merganser swims a quiet creek. A cardinal sings from a bird feeder on a bare cottonwood branch. A bald eagle crisscrosses the blue sky. Observed in a single morning, these birds were part of millions–33,464,616 to be exact –that made up the final tally of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) in 2013 when participants in 111 countries submitted 137,998 checklists, documenting more than one-third of the world’s bird species in just four days. Want to be a part of the experience? ... Read More »

KANEKO Exhibits Explore Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World

Indus River, Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan.
Photo by Randy Olsen

Photographers transcending time through tradition become no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world, a traveling exhibit from the Annenberg Space for Photography on display at KANEKO in Omaha through April 19, with an opening reception tonight (Feb. 7) from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Curated by Wade Davis, a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence with photographer Patricia Lanza, the Director of Content at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the images examine the complexities of upholding traditional ways of life in modern times through such themes as ... Read More »

Wings Over the Platte Features Life on the River

The exhibit includes this illustration of a Salt Creek tiger beetle by featured artist Donna Schimonitz.

The regions oldest and largest artist exhibit dedicated to life on the Platte River, Wings Over The Platte, opens with a reception tonight (Feb. 13) from 6-8 p.m. at the Venue next to Bartenbach’s Galleries in downtown Grand Island. Hosted by the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, the exhibit is free and open to the public. “It’s a very unique time for us,” Joe Black, Executive Director of the Stuhr Museum, said in reference to the relocation of the ... Read More »