Field Trips and Add-Ons

NAISMA hosts the only conference to bridge geographic divides across North America in invasive species management. Network with natural resource managers, researchers, and leaders in the invasive species field. 

2023 Annual Conference Field Trips and Add-Ons

The Lincoln area is home to some of the best wildlife and unique habitats in North America — as well as numerous invasive species challenges and successes. You do not need to be registered for the conference to attend a field trip or the banquet!

All busses will depart and return to the Cornhusker Marriott hotel at 333 S 13th St, Lincoln, NE 68508

All field trips are $75 include a box lunch. “Not a Banquet” is $65 and includes dinner.

TNC/Disney Wilderness Preserve

November 9th, 12:00 pm – 5:00pm

We’ll explore the Disney Wilderness Preserve on an 18-passenger swamp buggy to see how it is shaped by fire and has a relatively open structure. Mitigation involved wetland and upland habitat restoration activities including control of non-native, invasive plants, controlled burns in fire-dependent habitats, mechanical removal of overgrown shrubs and trees resulting from fire suppression, and removal of agricultural ditches. Today it is largely managed with controlled burns and non-native invasive plant control. The swamp buggy involves a steep climb to enter, and participants will need to sign a liability waiver. More information:

“Not A Banquet” Awards Dinner

Oct. 18, 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

What’s in a name? Not “banquet,”” that’s for sure! Somewhere in NAISMA’s history, we eschewed a fancy title in favor of a friendly gathering, complete with a cocktail hour (cash bar), wholesome food, and good conversation. Help us congratulate our NAISMA annual awards winners in (casual) style! The Banquet will run from 5:30 PM-8 PM with an optional book signing with Dr. Jeanette Davis, and cocktail hour (cash bar) from 4:30 PM-5:30 PM. Dinner will start at 5:30 PM and the awards ceremony will begin at 6 PM.

Free Walking Tour of the Historic State Capitol

Oct. 16, 12:40 pm – 2:00 pm

A free walking tour of the historic State Capitol building and grounds, led by Visit Lincoln Staffers. Comfortable shoes and clothing recommended. Lunch not provided.

Tour Leaders

Dr. Yeyin Shi is currently an associate professor of agricultural intelligence in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research and teaching program aims to use advanced sensing and information technology as well as data analytics to automate and improve the decision making and application processes in agricultural production and natural resource management.

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center

Oct. 16, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm and

Oct. 18, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The tour will rotate guests in three different areas.

Stop 1 –  Learn about the University of Nebraska Drone Research to identify Common reed (phragmites australis) and see a drone demonstration showing the work being done across Nebraska to manage invasives.

Stop 2 –  Load up on a wagon ride to see this unbroken prairie and how it is being managed to maintain its natural beauty against invasive’s such as musk thistle, sericea lespedeza, woody species and frogs. 

Stop 3 – Experience a presentation by Homestead National Historical Park, to learn about the history of the Homestead Act of 1862 and how the National Park Service manages the park, site of one of the very first land parcels claimed under the Homestead Act on January 1, 1863.

Tour Leaders

Kevin Knorr is an owner in an Agricultural Drone Business, Volitant Drone Technologies. Volitant Drones is an authorized dealer of DJI Agricultural Drones, providing drones and related materials to agricultural producers across the nation. Volitant Technologies also offer a commercial application service of agricultural chemicals, fertilizer and other crop health products.
Brent Wulf is the owner and Chief Pilot of Hexagon Helicopters Inc. based in rural Valley, NE.  He and his crew have been completing both liquid and dry aerial applications since 2004, originally starting in the commercial ag sector and more recently the specialty herbicide application market to include Salt Cedar and Phragmites control.  Hexagon is also involved in wildlife management and survey projects as well as Utility support work and disaster relief.

Schramm State Park & Mopac Trail

Oct. 18, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The tour will rotate guests in three different areas.

Stop 1 – Visit the Schramm Education Center with aquariums featuring!

  • Nebraska’s natural aquatic habitats – cool water streams, river, reservoirs, and farm ponds.
  • Six smaller tanks focusing on some of Nebraska’s smaller, lesser-known fish species.
  • Seventeen live animal tanks featuring Nebraska’s reptile and amphibian species.
  • Educational nature center areas including a reading nook, maker’s space, bird watching area and pre-school play area.
  • Interactive activities including digital topographical map, interactive wayfinding maps, touch screens focusing on the species of the area.
  • Virtual reality mountain biking experience where visitors will have the opportunity to “ride” the trails on an actual bike.

Stop 2
–  Hear from the Producers of the Nebraska Wetlands videos and see the beauty of Nebraska.  At this stop you will also have the opportunity to sample one of Nebraska’s invasive fish, the Silver carp.  This will be the first time we’ve ever had the chance to eat one of our invasives at a NAISMA Conference!

Stop 3 – Take a very easy 1 mile walk along the Mopac trail on an old railroad bridge, putting you right over the Platte River to witness helicopter, drone & airboat applications, all management tools being used to treat invasives species across Nebraska.  In addition, there will also be a static display of other equipment being used along the rivers and flood plains.

Tour Leaders

Laurie Stepanek, Forest Health Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service & University of Nebraska—Lincoln

The Nebraska Forest Service is a state agency within the University of Nebraska-Lincoln system dedicated to enriching the lives of all Nebraskans by protecting, restoring, and utilizing Nebraska’s tree and forest resources.  Laurie Stepanek currently leads the agency’s Forest Health Program.  Her work for the past 30 years has focused on providing technical information and training to horticulture and natural resource professionals regarding identification and management of pests and problems of trees.

Arbor Day Farm – home of Arbor Day

Oct. 18, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The tour will rotate guests in three different areas.

Stop 1 – Experience the Treetop Village located inside the Tree Adventure Park. It is the only place in America where you can explore 11 different treehouses scattered across 3 acres and connected by unique bridges and netted walkways — all without ever touching the ground.

This uniquely designed attraction is the first of its kind in the U.S. And it’s the first in North America to feature the WonderNet, a large, raised (and incredibly fun) area for jumping, playing, and bringing out the kid in everyone. Treetop Village also features a 50-foot slide you can race down and head back up again for more fun in the trees.

It’s perfect for the entire family and accessible for everyone. It’s also the only place in America where having fun helps plant trees in forests around the world!

Stop 2 – Hear from the Producers of the Nebraska Wetlands videos and see the beauty of Nebraska.  You will be amazed; it isn’t all like what you see driving across Interstate 80. 

Stop 3 – Learn from the Arbor Day Farm orchard manager about the challenges they face with insects and diseases in the Apple Orchard.  This will also be an opportunity to learn more about Arbor Day and its History.

You will also want to stop in the Apple House Market to treat yourself or someone you love to a little something special from one of the many shops throughout Arbor Day Farm. You’ll find tasty treats, wines, nature-inspired gifts, and other delightful reminders of your time here. And every purchase helps to further our tree planting mission.