Gov. Heineman announces winners at Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference
Arbor Day Farm has been named the 2011 Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division. Governor Dave Heineman announced the award at the 36th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference, held October 18-20, 2011, in Omaha.
The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates Nebraska’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. Among the nature-based activities found at Arbor Day Farm:
Arbor Day Farm’s tree-planting mission truly comes to life inside the greenhouses, where visitors tour the facilities and see firsthand where tens of thousands of tree seedlings get their start. Certified arborists and greenhouse staff “show-and-tell” about the growing process, with each visitor receiving a free tree seedling to plant at home. More about the greenhouse at Arbor Day Farm.
In 2008, Arbor Day Farm first introduced the Discovery Ride as a way to give visitors a front-row seat to the many conservation practices across the property. The custom-designed ride transports visitors through the orchards, vineyards, stream banks, test plots, and demonstration areas of Arbor Day Farm. The new Discovery Ride Depot (added in 2011) provides a shaded space for gathering before and after embarking on the Discovery Ride. More about the Discovery Ride at Arbor Day Farm.
The fertile soils bordering the Missouri River are ideal for growing grapes, and Arbor Day Farm is no exception. Currently, nearly five acres of grapes grown at Arbor Day Farm produce approximately 12,000 bottles annually of red, white, and fruit wines, some of which have taken top honors at the Mid-American Wine Competition in recent years. Vineyard tours are offered seasonally for a closer look at the grapes and the wines they produce, and wine tasting is a popular weekend activity for guests of Lied Lodge. The vineyards at Arbor Day Farm are featured on the Nebraska Wine Tour Passport Program. More about Arbor Day Farm wines.
- Lied Lodge: a green hotel and meeting venue
Guests of Lied Lodge will find a variety of sustainable options inside their guest room, from recycling bins for responsible disposal of trash to a linen and towel re-use program saving thousands of gallons of water and detergent every year. Lied Lodge is also heated and cooled by the burning of waste wood chips; guests may tour the Fuelwood Energy Visitors Gallery to see how the system works and the benefits it provides. In addition, Lied Lodge is a certified sustainable meeting facility, achieving the International Association of Conference Centers’ Green Star certification in 2009, 2010, & 2011. More about sustainable practices at Lied Lodge.
- Locally-Grown / Locally-Sourced Food
Whenever possible, the Timber Dining Room at Lied Lodge features entrees made with fresh ingredients from the fields, orchards, and gardens at Arbor Day Farm. Fresh fruits and vegetables harvested here – tomatoes, apples, pears, herbs, potatoes, peaches, cherries, asparagus, and many more – travel fewer than three miles from field to plate. Meats are sourced from small-scale farmers/producers from Nebraska communities, and menus are updated constantly to reflect what’s in season. More about locally-grown food at Lied Lodge.
In 1996, the Arbor Day Foundation began the Hazelnut Research Project by planting nine acres of hybrid hazelnuts at Arbor Day Farm. By 2000, the project evolved to include charter members across the U.S. doing research on hazelnuts in their own backyard and has expanded to nearly 100,000 members. Recently, a Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium was formed with researchers from the Arbor Day Foundation, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, and University of Nebraska. The Consortium is working to develop hybrid hazelnuts into a sustainable crop for much of United States and Southern Canada, and to address critical issues facing our world in the areas of agriculture and the environment, wildlife habitat, society, health, hunger, and sustainable energy. More about the Arbor Day Foundation's hazelnut program.
Arbor Day Farm is situated in both the Central Flyway and the Mississippi Flyway for migratory birds, making for spectacular bird watching opportunities in the spring and the fall. There are 176 varieties of birds present at Arbor Day Farm throughout the year, each documented in a two-volume, fully-illustrated bird guide for the property. Binoculars are available for guest use and bird blinds are strategically placed along the trails at Arbor Day Farm to provide optimum viewing opportunities for guests.
Arbor Day Farm’s Preservation Orchard is a rare collection of more than 60 varieties of heirloom apples no longer commercially available. Some of these heritage apples have lineage that has been traced back to Asia, Europe, and South America, dating as far back as the 1600s. In addition to a rare look back at the history of apples, Arbor Day Farm’s Preservation Orchard also serves as a living genetic repository for future food sources in changing climates. More about apples at Arbor Day Farm.
Arbor Day Farm’s goal is to remain a leader in Nebraska eco- and agri-tourism, and to consistently seek opportunities to further develop its nature-based tourism opportunities to entice large audiences to Nebraska City well into the future.
A complete listing of other 2011 Nebraska Travel and Tourism Award winners is available online at visitnebraska.gov.