Platte River Prairies


While some people think of Nebraska as a boring, flat place, the state’s subtle landscape contains biologically rich and diverse ecosystems defined by rivers like the Platte.
Climate has shaped the Platte River for thousands of years. Frigid winters and stormy springs and summers bring droughts, floods, and winds that form its braided channels.

  • A Photo Gallery of the Platte River Prairies

    Through time-lapse photography, and still photos, the Platte Basin Timelapse team reveals the secret, hidden life of the diverse animals and plants that inhabit the wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands of the secluded Platte River Prairies in central Nebraska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Activity to View Prairie Plant Specimens

    Once plant specimens become a part of an herbarium or dried plant collection they are used as reference material for researchers who are working to understand the health of the prairie ecosystem. The images in this activity display a wide array of prairie plant specimens identified at Crane Trust, Nebraska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Activity to Watch the Animals of the Prairie

    Meet more animals of the Platte River prairie ecosystem. You’ll get cool wildlife facts and view videos captured by custom trail cam systems hidden from view. There is amazing biodiversity on the prairie. Get a unique glimpse of wildlife by watching videos captured by custom trail cam systems that were mounted in nature and hidden from view.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Activity: Build Food Chains & Food Webs

    The interrelationship between species in the river, wetland, grassland, and woodland habitats of the Platte River prairie ecosystem is a complex, dynamic food system. By exploring food chains and food webs, you will discover how energy is transferred from one organism to another. All living things are connected.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Advice From a Provincial, The River by Don Welch

    Listen to Nebraska poet, Don Welch, as he reads his poem addressed to anybody who would speed past the Platte River in Nebraska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Biological Diversity on the Prairie

    The Platte Basin reveals a secret, hidden life of the diverse animals and plants that inhabit the wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands of the secluded Platte River Prairies in central Nebraska. Watch the video and be inspired.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Biological Surveys - Small Mammals

    By monitoring animals, biologists can understand the health of a particular ecosystem. Watch this video of researchers as they collect and study small mammals on the Platte River prairie.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Video - Andy Caven, Wildlife Biologist

    To protect the fragile links in this chain, biologists manage ecosystems for biological diversity through land acquisition and restoration, prescribed burning and grazing, seed collection, long-term monitoring of plants and animals, and by working closely with communities, farmers, ranchers, and citizen scientists like you. Watch this video to learn more about the career of a wildlife biologist.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Video - Dr. Tala Awada, Plant Ecologist

    Dead trees are critical to the woodland ecosystem and signal its overall health, as they provide nutrients, release nitrogen, and store carbon dioxide. To learn more about the importance of woodlands, watch this interview with Dr. Tala Awada, Professor, School of Natural Resources and Associate Dean, Agricultural Research Division at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Create an Herbarium using Plant Presses

    Plant specimens are part of an herbarium or dried plant collection and used as reference material for researchers who are working to understand the health of the prairie ecosystem. This video demonstrates how to collect, prepare, identify, label, and mount plants on herbarium sheets.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Platte River Prairies: Lesson Plan

    Learn about the chain of grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands that make up the Platte River Prairies. This lesson plan explores a complex ecosystem that supports a highly diverse community of plants and animals.

    Grades: 6-8,13+
  • Time-Lapse - Beaver Lodge at the Crane Trust

    Beavers are the engineers of the wetland ecosystem.  They build dams to slow the flow of water in streams and rivers so that they can build lodges for shelter. For more than 20-million years beavers gnawed trees and built dams in the Platte River prairie region. Beavers were historically important to the North American fur trade, and as a result, they were hunted to near extinction by 1900.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Time-Lapse: Crane Roost on the Platte River

    A Crane Roost on the Platte River—experience this time-lapse experience of the Crane migration to Central Nebraska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Time-lapse: The River at Rowe Tower

    Passing of the seasons on the Platte River—a time-lapse video of the Rowe Tower at the Rowe Sanctuary in central Nebraska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Vegetation on the Prairie

    This video demonstrates the importance of vegetation to the platte river prairies. The amazing biodiversity on the prairie contains around 227 total grass species in Nebraska and 78 grass species.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Wetlands - A Prairie Slough

    Greg Wright a wildlife biologist and Jerry Kerry from the Platte River Recovery implementation Program talks to us about prairie sloughs and the creatures and plant life it supports.

    Grades: 6-12

Contributor:
Contributor:
Funder:
Funder:
Funder:
Producer: