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2010.05.17> For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Dedication Ceremony Planned for Glacier Creek on May 26

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Department of Biology and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District (NRD) will host the Glacier Creek Dedication at Allwine Prairie Preserve on Wednesday, May 26. The event will celebrate the addition of 83 acres of land adjacent to Allwine Prairie as the first phase of the Glacier Creek Project. The new tract of land was purchased in December 2009.

UNO’s Allwine Prairie, among the largest of the oldest original tallgrass prairie restorations in the nation, initially consisted of 160 acres of land at 144th and State streets. The additional 83 acres will buffer the preserve from surrounding development while also adding a diversity of wetland habitats to what can be studied and observed at the preserve. The $1.2 million spent to purchase the additional area came from the Papio NRD, UNO, and a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant to UNO.

“Allwine Prairie is something unique and important to the region since it represents our prairie heritage,” said Tom Bragg, director of the Allwine Prairie Preserve and a UNO biology professor. “The preserve's location is particularly important because it can be reached by most metro area residents within 30 minutes by car making it easily accessible for local schools and residents alike. The additional Glacier Creek land will help assure the long-term viability of the site as a unique prairie-wetland complex of habitats maintained to enhance environmental education, research, and appreciation of our prairie heritage.”

UNO Chancellor John Christensen, Jim Thompson, chair of the NRD Board of Directors and Mark Brohman, executive director of the Nebraska Environmental Trust, will make brief remarks starting at 3 p.m. on May 26.

“We view this partnership with UNO as a unique opportunity to create valuable wetland habitat. Our metro area’s rapid urbanization has diminished these natural resources that are so critical to wildlife and the quality of water in our lakes and streams,” said John Winkler, NRD manager.

In addition to the speakers, author John Price (who also is a professor of English at UNO) will read a short piece from his book, Not Just Any Land. Native American flutist Michel Murphy and UNO's The Moving Company will perform, as well. For those interested, a walking tour of the prairie will follow the dedication ceremony. This dedication, which is also a local World Environment Day event, is open to the public. A related World Environment Day public event is a prairie talk by Chris Helzer of The Nature Conservancy which will be held at UNO at 7 p.m. in The Thompson Alumni Center, 6705 Dodge Street.

Allwine Prairie was created when Arthur and Antoinette Allwine donated their farm to the university in 1959. It was reseeded to native tallgrass prairie grasses in 1970 and since has been supplemented with seedings from local prairies. Over 1,200 individuals visited the preserve in 2009, which included university students from UNO and Creighton, various high schools, grade school summer camps, and other groups, including the Boy Scouts of America, 4-H groups and the Audubon Society. Families and individuals are also welcome to use the area to watch birds, photograph nature or just walk through a prairie. Ongoing efforts look to acquire additional adjacent land and to construct a 10,000 square foot education and research facility at the site. For more information or to offer support, go to www.unomaha.edu/prairie or call 554-2641.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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