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Butterflies

By Brandy
VanDeWalle

Butterflies
The office has received numerous questions regarding the abundance of butterflies (most of what I’ve seen are Painted Lady butterflies) in the area.  An extension entomologist told me the following: “It is hard to pinpoint reasons these insects survive and flourish better in one year over another.  Painted Lady butterflies overwinter in southern areas of the country and migrate north in the spring.  They have a broad food host range which includes thistle plants.  If any of these food sources are abundant, the weather is favorable and natural enemy populations are minimal, the butterflies can grow and develop quite successfully.  This results in the high population that we are seeing now.” Hopefully this answers questions you might have. Butterfly information can be found at http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/butterflies.shtml.
The Great
American Eclipse
And Agritourism
Some of my summer has been spent creating lessons to accompany the solar eclipse event which will occur August 21, 2017. Over 200 Nebraska communities fall within path of totality, or the path of the shadow where observers will see the moon completely over the sun for roughly two and a half minutes.  During the total solar eclipse, the moon’s umbral shadow will fly across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, in a little over 90 minutes. This is the first eclipse through the contiguous United States since 1979, according to NASA records.
An eclipse will only occur in the same spot once every 375 years and we are fortunate to be in the area of totality.
With thousands of tourists expected to visit Nebraska to visit the eclipse, I’ve heard of people as far from Japan and Sweden coming to our area to view this amazing event. There may even be a few rural landowners wanting to capitalize on this economic development opportunity. There are a few things that David Aiken, Extension Agricultural Law Specialist has pointed out to be aware. Landowners have legal protection against tourist personal injury liability if they do not charge a fee to campers or eclipse viewers. If they do charge a fee, they must meet 2015 Nebraska agritourism legal requirements in order to reduce their injury liability risk.
In short, if you are charging people to camp on your land, you could be liable of that person gets hurt. There are ways Nebraska landowners can obtain limited agritourism liability protection such as posting your property with the specified agritourism liability signs and include the same language in any agritourism activity contract like a camping lease. The landowner must also exercise reasonable care to guard against unusual dangers associated with the property, maintain the property, facilities and equipment, train and properly supervise any employees and comply with any related state or local legal requirements (i.e. capping an abandoned well). There are other legal options as detailed in a recent University of Nebraska news release, “Great Plains’ ecotourism initiative produces liability study”.
Aiken suggests contacting your insurance agent regarding whether your current liability insurance will cover any eclipse-related incidents. Your attorney can advise you regarding agritourism liability, agritourism leases, and agritourism liability waivers.
Safely Viewing
The Eclipse
It is important to note that it is unsafe to directly look at the sun, except the short period (totality) when the moon entirely blocks the sun. There are special glasses that must be used in order to prevent damage to one’s eyes. Special-purpose solar filters allow one to safely view the sun. Even very dark sunglasses are not safe. To date solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standards. Always inspect your solar filters before use. If they are scratched or damaged, discard it. Be sure to read and follow directions printed on the package or label. Be sure to supervise children using solar filters. Other tips provided by NASA include standing still and covering your eyes with the eclipse glasses before looking at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter – do not remove it while looking at the sun.
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.  If you are in the path of total eclipse, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
More information can be found on NASA’S website at eclipse2017.nasa.gov.