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Photo Caption: Woodland Caribou, painted by Sky Waters from Minnesota, was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2012 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest.Credit: Endangered Species Coalition.


Elementary, middle and high school teachers are encouraged to have their students participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 17, 2013.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous conservation organizations will observe Endangered Species Day to recognize conservation efforts underway across the nation aimed at helping America’s imperiled species. This year also commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s rarest plant and animal species. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Young artists who are home schooled and participate in youth groups are also eligible to submit their art. Previous winners have come from California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Louisiana and as far away as Alaska. Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2013.

This year, the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest finalists will be judged by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers and conservationists, including Wyland, renowned marine life artist; Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild; David Littschwager, a freelance photographer and regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine; Susan Middletown, a photographer who has collaborated with Littschwager and whose own work has been published in four books; and Alice Tangerini, botanical illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution.

The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) will select the 40 semifinalists from thousands of entries. It takes empathy, direct action and awareness to prevent the extinction of endangered species. Art can certainly play an important role. The Youth Art Contest is an ideal platform to engage the next generation.

Winners will be chosen in four categories: K-Grade 2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12, and will receive plaques and art supply gift packs. In addition, one grand prize winner will be honored with their name engraved on a special trophy and receive a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. with one guardian to attend a reception in May. The grand prize winner will also receive art supplies and a special art lesson (via Skype) from Wyland, the artist.

The Youth Art Contest is organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Child Art Foundation. For more information, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit http://www.endangeredspeciesday.org/.

Many of the Service’s field and regional offices will be hosting events in their communities and providing unique programs to visitors on endangered species conservation in celebration of Endangered Species Day. For more information on how you can find an event near you, please visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ESDay/index.html.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ where you can download podcasts and find links to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov

Altrec Outdoors - Let your passion define your pat


SD National Guard logoRAPID CITY,S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota National Guard unit is getting ready for duty in Afghanistan.

A deployment ceremony is scheduled Friday at Camp Rapid at Rapid City for the 11 soldiers with the 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

The Guard says they will serve nine months in Afghanistan after undergoing several weeks of final training at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

The unit’s mission involves public affairs, media coverage and media escorting.


Homeless ShelterRAPID CITY,S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City homeless shelter is once again serving hot meals after getting a $350,000 kitchen renovation.

The Cornerstone Rescue Mission’s upgrade went over budget and took longer than expected, but its chef says he’s thrilled with the results.

Jamie Hagan served about 130 people at the first midday meal last week. Ham and bean soup and fried chicken were on the menu.

The project’s cost was paid for through grants and donations. The work began in August, after which Cornerstone’s residents were fed either at an alternative site or given sack lunches.

The Rapid City Journal reports that between 300 and 400 meals are served at Cornerstone each day. The new kitchen features stainless steel appliances, a new stove and a double-convection oven.


Blue Lake_Garden County

LINCOLN, Neb. – Officials have temporarily closed access to Blue Lake in Garden County because vehicle traffic has begun to make a mess of the 2.7-mile sandy trail that leads anglers to water.

“The trail has gotten hit pretty hard this year with ice fishermen. It is in pretty rough shape,” said Joe Rydell, a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northwest district office at Alliance. “To prevent it from deteriorating any further, we’re shutting it down for the spring thaw.”

A lease agreement with a private landowner allows for public use of the two-track trail to Blue Lake, which is 22 miles north of Oshkosh near the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Rydell said the lake also is experiencing deteriorating ice conditions. He said the trail will be opened sometime this spring.

Altrec Outdoors - Let your passion define your pat



The 2013 Girl Scout Cookie Program runs February 15-March 24, with more than 19,000 Girl Scouts across the state asking for your support through the purchase of Girl Scout Cookies.

This year, the Girl Scouts welcome a new cookie to the line-up: the Mango Crème.

These crunchy vanilla and coconut cookies with a mango-flavored crème filling have all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries. This exciting innovation brings “better for you” benefits to Girl Scouts and is the first cookie of its kind.

2013 also brings new package designs for the first time since 1999. The iconic Girl Scout cookie package showcases the five lifelong financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills that the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Annual cookie sales supports troop activities and provides necessary funding for Girl Scouts throughout Nebraska and enables them to reach girls who would not otherwise have the resources to participate in Girl Scouting.



Bird articleHarrison, NE – Amanda Filipi will present a program in the theater of the Agate Fossil Beds Visitor Center and out-of-doors (where the birds are) on Sunday, February 17th at 1:30 pm.  Her talk will include the background of the Great Backyard Bird Count, birding basics, and common birds of the area.  Be sure to dress appropriately and bring your binoculars if you have them; some binoculars will be available to borrow.

Filipi’s parents started her interest in birds when she was little.  She says, “My parents had a bird field guide by the window and would identify new or visiting birds.”  As she grew up, she noticed that she knew many of the more common birds and wanted to identify new species. A member of the Wildcat Hills Audubon Society, Filipi previously worked as an educator for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory where she had many great opportunities to learn from ‘seasoned’ birders and biologists. She currently works for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering, Nebraska.  Here she not only gets to watch the birds from the feeders at the Nature Center, but she also gets to share her love of birds and the outdoors.

If you like birds and want to get involved with this important national winter bird count, Agate Fossil Beds’ 2,700 acres are comprised of three different bird habitats attracting upland birds, prairie birds and wetlands birds.  With almost five miles of walking trails within the park, birders can see these three different habitats without having to go cross country.  Each participant will receive a free Pocket Guide to Prairie Birds put out by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.  Other bird books are available in the Oregon Trail Museum Association bookstore in the visitor center.

February 15 -18, 2013 is the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.  This event is hosted by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  People new to birding as well as experienced birders are encouraged to participate in the count.  Each year, participants’ reports track the location and numbers of familiar birds, as well as document unusual bird behavior.  Patterns of migration, trends reflecting climate change, disease, and use of urban areas are all studied using the results of this program.  Last year 623 species and 17 million birds were counted.

It’s easy to participate.

  1. Visit www.birdsource.org/gbbc  for easy-to-follow instructions, including tips for identifying bird species.  Download a checklist for your area.
  2. Count the birds you see, wherever you choose to count.  Write down the highest number of individual birds you see at one time—that way you will avoid counting any bird twice.
  3. After at least 15 minutes of watching in one place, report your results online at www.birdsource.org/gbbc . (You can spend more time observing if you prefer.)
  4. You can repeat your count at the same place on each day of the Great Backyard Bird Count, or you can visit other locations.  Submit a new checklist for each day, time period and location.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is located 22 miles south of Harrison, Nebraska, or 34 miles north of Mitchell, Nebraska, on State Highway 29.  Winter hours for the visitor center are 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  The walking trails are open from dawn until dusk.  Agate Fossil Beds is a free park.  For more information call 308-668-2211 or 308-436-9760, go to www.nps.gov/agfo  or visit them on Facebook.

Altrec Outdoors - Let your passion define your pat


feedlotGERING, Neb. (AP) — Feedlot operators in Nebraska and Iowa can get advice this month from experts about dealing with high feed costs and drought.

The annual beef feedlot roundtables will be held February 19th through 21st in Gering, Holdrege and West Point. The events will be broadcast to locations in Iowa.

The sessions will focus on the latest in feedlot health, nutrition and economics. The event is sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Iowa State University Extension and the Nebraska Beef Council.

The presenters include a mix of university and industry experts who will offer tips on dealing with the current high feed prices and what alternatives exist.

Registration costs $30 ahead of time or $40 at the door. More details are available online at Panhandle.unl.edu.


courtroomRAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A June trial date has been set for a Rapid City man accused of shooting a stranger in the head during a house party last April.

KOTA-TV reports that 20-year-old Kelsey Reavis will have a three-day jury trial starting June 4th.

Before then, the state is required to share audio tape evidence provided by a private investigator with the defense counsel.

Reavis is accused of shooting 28-year-old Christopher Levin with a .45 caliber pistol after a confrontation at the house party. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and two alternate counts of aggravated assault in the April 28th shooting.

Reavis faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted.


Northern Plains Outdoor Expo

RAPID CITY – The Northern Plains Outdoor Expo is back at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center February 8th – 10th.

Showcasing over 100 dealers & vendors and a lineup of events for the entire family, the Expo brings education, entertainment, and chances to win.

The avid outdoorsman or recreationalist will enjoy seminars, the Eastman’s Trophy Deer Tour, and the Big Buck, Bull, & Mt. Lion Contest & Fundraiser with your chance to win some of the $10,000 in cash & prizes in the Cowboy Bar on Saturday, February 9th.

Northern Plains Outdoor Expo_Kid FishingIt’s a family affair with free kid’s activities to keep the young ones busy, including the popular Fish Tank, Duck Races and Youth Archery Contest.

Back by popular demand is the Unique Gift and Art Area including original art, jewelry, furniture, décor and more.

There will also be a  gun raffle and Live Auction on Saturday, February 9th with items including a bull buffalo hunt, an Alaskan fishing trip, Antler Art and more. Registration begins at 6:00pm.

Take advantage of the best outdoor recreation and equipment by over 100 vendors and dealers, and millions of dollars in inventory. The Northern Plains Outdoor Expo will be this weekend at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Admission $7 for adults, $4 children ages 6-15, and children under 6 get in for free – or purchase your weekend pass for only $12! All proceeds benefit many local charities.

For more information visit www.npoutdoorexpo.com.

Altrec Outdoors - Let your passion define your pat


Map courtesy of Nebraska Games & Parks Commission
Map courtesy of Nebraska Games & Parks Commission


LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials are urging anglers to take caution after two all-terrain vehicles broke through the ice and became submerged at Cottonwood-Steverson Lake on Feb. 4.

Conservation officer Heath Packett of Gordon said two ATVs carrying three riders broke through the ice on the northeast corner of Cottonwood Lake in Cherry County. He said each of the riders safely escaped from the frigid water, which is about 8 feet deep at the location of the accident.

The accident has prompted officials to prohibit the use of ATVs on Cottonwood-Steverson, a 680-acre body of water 30 miles north of Hyannis in the Sandhills. The use of ATVs on nearby Home Valley Lake also has been prohibited.

“With this week’s warm temperatures, the ice conditions are deteriorating and they’re not likely to get better before spring,” Packett said. “Ice anglers and others should be especially cautious.”

North American Fisherman Magazine

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