Episode 808 of the television show, Nebraska Stories, could almost be considered a “Best of” episode. For this week, the show is re-airing episodes featuring places found in the Nebraska Panhandle region. Although the episode aired on March 2nd, you can still find all of the segments online. The notes for each segment are still in regular type with my thoughts on each part in italics.
“Wildcat Hills” In a state known for its flat land, the Wildcat Hills in western Nebraska provides a dramatic alternative. The landscape is a unique co-existence of prairie and mountain ecosystems, featuring beautiful rolling hills, rocky formations and habitats for unique plant and animal species. A local rangeland ecologist takes us on a walk in the wild lands of the Wildcat Hills. I think I have almost made it to the Wildcat Hills. This is such a beautiful part of Nebraska that I definitely want to explore further at some point.
Colorful costumes swirl to the rhythm of traditional Latin American music under the sandy buttes of Scottsbluff National Monument. Dance instructor Mary Ann Shockley reflects on her years of teaching the skills of Mexican baile to the children of the panhandle community. If we lived a little closer, I am convinced that my daughter would love learning this type of dance. I always appreciate when “experts” are willing to pass on their craft to the next generation.
“The Swift Fox”
It’s the size of a cat, but a member of the dog family and Nebraska’s most elusive wildlife. It’s also on the endangered species list. Go in the field with UNL student researcher Lucia Corral to learn how scientists are trying to save an important member of the Great Plains ecosystem known as the swift fox. This type fox almost looks cute. Still not sure that I would want to have one cross my path. But the fact that this fox roams the Panhandle – an isolated region, makes sense.
“Brown Sheep Company” There are only a handful of active wool mills in the United States, but one of the best is located in the Panhandle. Peggy Jo Wells and her husband, Robert, are producing wool that’s not only sought after by crafters, but has also captured the eye of a New York designer. Someday I will take a tour of this mill! I am not a knitter, but I am a fan of artisans. This business definitely qualifies since they aid others in the art of being creative.
Songs for farmers and the people who love them- that’s what Susan Werner sings about in her latest album co-funded by the LIED Center. She tours the state to share her musical homage to the best of rural life. Music that emphasizes Nebraska is always interesting to hear. I was not familiar with this artist before, but I am certain that I would enjoy listening to her in concert.