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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Ecotourism on the Great Plains: Red Cloud Workshop

Ecotourism on the Great Plains: Red Cloud Workshop

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ecotourism on the Great Plains: Red Cloud Workshop

by Center for Great Plains Studies

Date and Time

Tue, July 18, 2017

9:30 AM – 3:00 PM CDT


Red Cloud Opera House

411 N Webster St

Red Cloud, NE 68970


Business owners, ranchers, local development officials, conservationists, and others interested in building up the region’s nature-based tourism industry:

Please join the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies for a free workshop to explore how ecotourism works, see examples, and learn how to make the growing interest in nature tourism into an economic opportunity. Whether you’re from the Rainwater Basin, the Flint Hills, the Sandhills, or some other beautiful place, you are welcome!

For those who have experienced it, the Great Plains’ rolling grasslands, charismatic wildlife, and boundless scenery fill the heart with wonder. Though often disparaged as “fly-over” country, in fact the Plains are filled with fascinating biodiversity and wonderful opportunities for exploration while also harboring critically endangered habitats. The public is becoming more interested in nature-based tourism — many know of the economic benefits that the influx of Sandhill crane watchers have brought to businesses in central Nebraska — so how do we create other success stories?

Working together with local businesses, landowners, and communities is an effective conservation strategy to promote thriving rural communities and preserve our natural heritage and wild places.

The workshop, put on in conjunction with the Willa Cather Foundation, will be held at Red Cloud Opera House, 411 N Webster St, Red Cloud, NE 68970.


9:30 – 10 a.m.: Check-in, refreshments, and gathering

10 – 10:30 a.m.: Ecotourism on the Great Plains (Katie Nieland, Assistant Director, Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska)

15-minute break/networking

10:45 – 11:30 a.m.: Endangered species of the Great Plains (Sarah Sortum, Ecotourism provider Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch)

15-minute break/networking

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: lunch speaker, Eco business practices (Rick Yoder, Nebraska Business Development Center)

15-minute break/networking

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.: Liability for nature tourism providers (Anthony Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law)

15-minute break/networking

2 – 2:30 p.m.: Incorporating star gazing activities into your community events, ecotourism sites, and summer activities (John Johnson, Nebraska Star Party)

2:30 – 3 p.m.: Q&A/talk-back session

The workshop is free (including lunch) and is open to all. Registration is required. Please register here to secure your spot.

The Center’s Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition's campaign to research and market nature-based tourism is part of a project funded by the Rural Futures Institute. More about the project here: