Prairie Plains Resource Institute wants to share something — close-up, hands-on experiences on the Nebraska landscape. It's easy to take our surroundings for granted. Yet it's often a connection with the outdoors that makes us appreciate where we live. We refer to it as "sense of place" — the kind of thing that makes you want to come back home to raise your kids or at least come back to visit.
Prairie Plains has a calendar full of events that allow people to build lasting relationships with the land and with each other. As an educational land trust, our goal is to relate all aspects of our program to education and service to people — teaching about place, land stewardship, restoration and sustainable development.
SOAR (Summer Orientation About Rivers) is our model education program for youth, an intensive hands-on summer day camp where local grade school children trek to area natural and historic sites, integrating natural sciences, art, history and writing. SOAR concludes each session with a morning in the Platte River.
Youth Naturalist Program (YNP) and Young Nebraska Ecologists (YNE) were modeled after SOAR and provide more in-depth experiences for middle and high school students. An excellent opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about Nebraska ecosystems and outdoor recreation, campers will interact with professionals with careers in ecological science, natural resources, conservation and science communication.
But that's not all. We also work with landowners and other interested people, sharing information about range management, prescribed burning, plants, wildlife and history through individual consultation, working groups and special events. Our prairie preserves are excellent living laboratories for study and research, and we encourage local schools and organizations to utilize the preserves for classes and field trips.
- In October 2009, Bill and Jan Whitney presented at the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Portland, Oregon. The title of their presentation was "Connecting People to Land Through Educational Programming," and you can download a copy of their handout here!