Grant Helps Build Wildlife Blind, Fund Outreach


A grant is helping a local non-profit connect people around the world with nature here in Nebraska.

An avid hunter, Kearney Wells Fargo market president Bob Huddleston has built a few blinds.

"This is a lot larger blind than I've ever been a part of, but it's just fun to be out on the river on a gorgeous day like this; and be a Nebraskan and help make it a better world."

Huddleston and Wells Fargo employees from Omaha to Kearney are volunteering time to build a fifth blind at Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon.

"Volunteers are the life blood of the sanctuary," said director Bill Taddicken.

Rowe's 80 volunteers put in 6,000 hours in March and April alone this year.

That's when blinds like this host 15,000 sandhill crane viewers at Rowe alone.

"People from all 50 states and last year 46 different countries were represented," said Taddicken.

He says that's a $10 to $20 million economic impact on the area.

Wells Fargo is investing in this habitat's future with a $51,000 grant, which is also building the new blind.

The grant will also help fund a community outreach coordinator, which Rowe staff say is key.

"It's really important to realize that the water we're using here in central Nebraska is directly connected to the Platte River and the Platte River is connected to how we live," said Taddicken. "Our community outreach coordinator, which is partly funded through the Wells Fargo grant, is going to help people understand that."

Rowe is only one of 64 non-profits to receive this grant. Three million dollars was given away nationwide.