Tag Archives: Fontenelle Forest

Basketball to Poetry, This Week Runs the Gamut

April 5, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Friday, April 6-Sunday, April 8: The weather may not be very spring-like this weekend, but it is that time. What better way to get ready for the flower season than by heading to the Ralston Arena Arts & Crafts Show? You’ll be able to shop hundreds of vendors from across the country, just in time to give your home a little extra oomph for the season. There will also be entertainment, food, drinks, and gift certificate drawings. If you’re worried about parking, don’t. There will be plenty of free parking, including shuttle service from Horsemen’s Park. Get tickets and all the details you’ll need here.

Thursday, April 5: Sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Writer’s Workshop and English department, tonight’s 700 Words Prose Slam is open to everyone in the community. The theme of this slam is the #MeToo movement. The event is hosted by 13th Floor Magazine and takes place at the soon-to-be-closed Apollon Art Space. The entry fee for participants is $5, but the event is free for those who want to come out and listen. Everyone and anyone is welcome to share their thoughts and experiences in relation to the #MeToo movement. There will be cash prizes for first, second, and third places. To learn more, please go here.

Thursday, April 5 to Thursday, April 12: It’s a tale as old as time, but there’s very little rhyming in this story. An older man marries a younger woman, jealousy, intrigue, and a sense of betrayal ensue. Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s propensity for moodiness abounds in Uncle Vanya, opening tonight at the Joslyn Castle, performed by the Brigit St. Brigit Theatre Company. Chekov is known for leaving his audience wondering, so don’t expect the proverbial happy ending. His elusiveness is part of what made him one of the pioneers of modern writing. Experience one of his best-known plays by getting your tickets here.

Friday, April 6: For some of us, our first exposure to the Harlem Globetrotters was during Saturday morning cartoons. Whether from their own cartoon (The Harlem Globetrotters), their  variety show (The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine), or as “guest stars” on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, chances are high you’ve heard of them Regardless of what shows you watched as a kid, unless you’ve been living off the grid for the last century you have at least hear the name. Tomorrow you have a chance to see them play. They will be throwing down and showing off at the CenturyLink Center at 7 p.m. Jump on over here to get your tickets now!

Saturday, April 7: Put on your dancing shoes and head to the University of Nebraska Omaha for their UNO Dance Marathon. The student-run committee raises funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the year, but this is their main event, the one all others have been leading up to. For this special day, the children from Omaha’s own Children’s Hospital will join the team of Mavericks for a dance marathon, 12 hours session! Help them meet and hopefully exceed their goals by donating now, then register to help them celebrate this Saturday. Tap here for more info.

Sunday, April 8: (Recurring event) Put the dancing shoes away, dig out your hiking boots, (if you haven’t already) and trek on over to Fontenelle Forest for the History Hike at Camp Wakonda this Sunday. Bring the whole family out to explore nature while expanding their knowledge of the area’s history. Judy Bell will be leading the hike, pointing out the sights while filling your heads with knowledge. Hikers will meet at Camp Wakonda, which spans 40 acres of wooded bluffs next to Fontenelle Forest, at 1 p.m. and will last approximately two hours. Get all the info you’ll need here.

 

Alicia Sancho Scherich

March 29, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Behind every good artist, there exists a muse. And for Alicia Sancho Scherich, her muse happens to be a former pen pal—Mother Teresa. Yes, that Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and humanitarian extraordinaire. 

The two connected only once, but the memory still brings tears to Sancho Scherich’s eyes as she recalls it nearly three decades later. After completing a large canvas painting of the icon, she wanted to make reproductions and wrote to ask Mother Teresa if she’d like all sales donated to her charity. Being the saint that she is, Mother Teresa wrote back, suggesting Sancho Scherich keep her goodwill within her local community instead. But Sancho Scherich had an even better, bigger, and bolder idea.

Using this first 4-by-6 foot canvas painting as the epicenter of something much more grandiose, Sancho Scherich began painting, researching, and painting some more. Twelve years later, 17 more linen canvases made stunning with strokes of oil paint, and her magnum opus was complete—a mural titled “World Peace” that went on display in Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery last year. 

“I wanted to create something that captured the nature of man, with each canvas depicting either a different positive or negative aspect,” Sancho Scherich says. “I consider this my greatest and most thought-provoking achievement.”

And that’s really saying something for an 84-year-old artist who’s been working for the better part of the last century. Throughout her illustrious career, Sancho Scherich’s style has transitioned from traditional realism to abstract expressionism, but all of her work stands out for its near perfection. Even with hundreds of paintings, murals, and prints under her belt, each piece manages to combine obsessive research with uncanny imagination to embody all the things that make humanity, well, human.

“Although my work may look different, I always try to get straight to the heart of the matter, whether it’s a portrait or a symbolic piece,” Sancho Scherich says. “And when something comes to my head, I just love working and working on it until it’s perfect.”

With her lineage, though, creative perfectionism runs through Sancho Scherich’s very DNA. Her grandfather was a violinist in the court orchestra of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and her grandmother was an accomplished artist, as was her father. So much so that he received wide acclaim and was awarded bronze, silver, and gold medals from the Spanish National Exposition of Fine Arts (the equivalence of such an honor in the United States would be being named Artist Laureate by the
federal government).

While Sancho Scherich has called the sprawling suburbs of Bellevue, Nebraska, home since 1960, she still looks to lessons from her father in the sunny vistas of Madrid as the catalyst for her later accomplishments. In fact, with her father’s guidance, her artistic career began with handcrafting royal dolls as a teenager and working towards a degree in fashion design and toy making. By age 26, this Spanish señorita was United States-bound after falling for and marrying an American airman who was being transferred from a post in Spain to Offutt Air Force Base.

“There are many cultural differences in Spanish and American art,” Sancho Scherich says. “Here, the first thing many consider is how much money they can get out of a painting. In Europe, price is secondary, so the work is more authentic and passionate.” 

These Spanish values stay with Sancho Scherich today. Most of her paintings are given as gifts or adorn the walls of her home (adjacent to Fontenelle Forest). But even the most passionate of painters needs to make some pennies. From St. Joseph Hospital to College of St. Mary to the Woodmen of the World Society, she has been commissioned to paint portraits for present and past leadership in notable organizations. Additionally, she creates work for local philanthropies that are given to help raise funds at charity auctions. 

Like Spanish wine, things seem to only get sweeter with age for Sancho Scherich. In late 2017, she nabbed two nominations from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for her showing of “World Peace” at Creighton earlier in the year. And if she has any say, that’s just the beginning of this piece’s journey. She hopes to market it to be shown in galleries across the Midwest, the nation, and eventually the world, all with the end goal of it finally being installed in the United Nations General Assembly.

“Her passion for this project is simply unmatched,” says Steve Scherich, her son. “Even me, after years of looking at these canvases, I’ll find things I hadn’t ever seen before. This really needs to be shared with others.”

At barely 5 feet tall, this petite painter packs a big heart and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Even after suffering a stroke two years ago and losing her husband, she says nothing will stop her from hunting down that next big idea.

“Art is something inside you that you need to express always,” Sancho Scherich says. “I can’t stop doing this and go to the Riviera anytime soon. I just need to find something to inspire me to create again.”

Saint Cecilia Cathedral’s Sunderland Gallery is hosting an exhibition of Alicia Sancho Scherich’s father’s work, A Lifetime of Painting by Mariano Sancho, through April 1. Visit cathedralartsproject.org for more information.

This article was printed in the March/April 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Bit O’ Everything, Honey

February 8, 2018 by

Pick of the Week—Friday, Feb. 9-11: Celebrate your love of all things anime and show your appreciation of the multifaceted aspects of Japanese pop culture at Kanpai!Con 2018. Happening at Hotel RL, this three-day event will have games, tournaments, prizes, and a variety of special guests. Panels, meet ups, and autograph sessions will be held, as well as dances on Friday and Saturday nights. Dress to the nines if you want to attend the special Formal Fantasy Cosplay Ball on Friday, though. To get all the information you need, click here.

Thursday, Feb. 8: Take a long lunch today and head to UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center to listen to some stimulating jazz music from violinist Daniel Davis (Daniel D). The young artist hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, began performing live at the age of 12, so he knows how to entertain. So hurry and tell the boss you need a little mental health break and get to Urban Jazz Violinist | UNO Black History Month because the show starts at 11:30 a.m. Learn more about what’s happening this month at UNO here.

Saturday, Feb. 10: Still trying to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for your Valentine? Then head to Bench’s Open House—Valentine’s Day Edition. This collaborative community hub provides space and tools for local artisans, and this weekend you get the chance to check it out and purchase some of their wares. Whether for that aforementioned Valentine, or to add to your own collection, there’s bound to be something to lift your spirits and bring a little much-needed sunshine to your life. Get more info here.

Saturday, Feb. 10: If your interest in pop art is more Kendrick than Kanpai, then this art show may be more your style. The Prince and Michael Jackson Tribute Art Show Opening Reception happens this Saturday at The Get Down Ultra Lounge. Art Pop Omaha is bringing you 15 local artists paying tribute to the purple one and the gloved one, respectively. Come early to mingle with the talent before the dancing starts. Don’t stop ‘til you get enough. Dress the part, and you might just win a prize, so go crazy and check out more here.

Sunday, Feb. 11: Abandon all things traditionally associated with the upcoming holiday and show your love for nature by attending Love at First Flight: Valentine’s Day Edition of Raptors…Live! Check out Fontenelle Forest’s beautiful birds of prey and learn more about them from “raptor ambassadors” and experts. Predators love too, so head out and show them a little love this weekend. This event starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Swoop on over here for more details and to check out other events at the forest.

 

Hitting the Trail

July 8, 2014 by

Beyond Fontenelle Forest and DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge, most of the significant day hikes in Eastern Nebraska or Western Iowa take you up and down the steep bluff lines of the region’s major rivers. Basically, in our landscape, if you don’t want to hike cornfields, you have to get back to the rivers.

Those bluffs in places such as Mahoney, Platte River and Indian Cave State Parks often offer the closest thing to a wilderness experience in the area, but they also present the closest thing to a real hazard. Typically, you’re walking on loose dirt, wood chips, rock aggregates, or compacted clays. The footing can be tricky when dry, downright unnerving when moist.

Not trying to alarm, here. Just be mindful when you hit the trails, especially with older parents or young children.

A few tips for a safe and enjoyable hike:

The right shoes
You don’t need $500 mountaineering boots. You just need good traction, something that protects your ankles from twists, something that limits the bend in your foot, and, depending on the forecast, something that either breathes air or repels water. Gore-Tex optional. Any light hiker will usually do. Kids will probably lobby to wear their athletic shoes. This isn’t the Front Range. Unless it’s muddy, the Nikes are usually okay.

A walking stick
This may feel like you’re overdoing it, but, again, those slopes can be trickier than you realize. Walking sticks are cheap (even sometimes free on the forest floor) and they can be the difference between a close call and a fall.

Water, water, water
In our area, hikers very often ignore the hydration issue. Sure, you’ll survive on these relatively short trails. But you may be awfully thirsty, especially if you make a few wrong turns.

Bug repellent
What the region lacks in 14,000-foot peaks, it makes up for in mosquitos and ticks.

Sunscreen
You may be out longer than you planned and you’ll still get plenty of sun in the woods.

A snack
Again, this may not be a life or death issue, but, especially
with kids, you’ll be a hero when you pull out treats at the halfway point.

Making Tracks

February 1, 2014 by

The frostbitten months carry additional and sometimes frustrating challenges when taking my two preschool-age grandsons for the weekend. The problem is that there seems to be an inverse relationship between the temperature and the CFQ.

The what?

That would be the Cabin Fever Quotient, that restless, bouncing-off-the-walls void created when you run out of indoor activities capable of entertaining the little ones. But Saturdays are a snap if you possess an intrepid spirit and a decent pair of boots.

One of our fave winter outings is to go critter tracking in expeditions that offer a fascinating peek into the sometime-secret winter habits of area wildlife. Start by doing a web search on the subject of “animal track identification” and you’ll find gobs of online field guides and other useful resources, several of them in easily printable, carry-along formats. It’s also fun and informative to gather the children in front of the computer to watch any of the zillions of YouTube videos available on the topic in preparation for your woodland trek.

A fresh, unblemished snowfall is the perfect palette for such wilderness adventures. Virtually every interruption in the pristine blanket at your feet—yes, droppings, too—holds a mystery waiting to be unlocked by young, inquisitive minds. Forgot to print out that field guide we discussed earlier? Smartphone web search to the rescue. While you’re at it, take close-up photos and have the kids start their own wildlife journals to match prints (and poop) to the animals that left them. Pocket a small measuring tape to have the children record the dimensions of the markings and make note of where they were found. Do those raccoon prints lead to or from water? Do those squirrel tracks disappear at the base of a mighty oak?

Sprawling spaces like Fontenelle Forest, Hummel Park, and area state parks offer a staggering array of snowy finds, but even the more expansive of city parks will reveal evidence of almost everything short of deer.

Take along a thermos of hot chocolate and find a log to carve out some quiet time during your treasure hunt. Especially because the snow acts as an acoustic muffler, there is nothing quite so serene—even spiritual—as the dead silence of a winter’s morn. Be quieter still and you increase the odds of encounters with all manner of creatures.

The awe-inspiring majesty of nature never hibernates. Introduce your grandkids to the wintry landscape, and soon there will grow in them a deeper reverence for the natural world and their special place in it.

Fashion: Into the Woods

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Megan Hunt, 26, shows off her youthful, free-spirited, summer style with outfits from her local retail
business, Hello Holiday, on an outing to Fontenelle Forest with her daughter, Alice, 3.

Hit the Trails

Photography by Nebraska Travel & Tourism

Allow the beauty of Nebraska to inspire your family to get out and play together. Experience miles of renowned bike trails and hiking paths that wind through scenic splendor and offer breathtaking views. Nebraska is crisscrossed with dirt, gravel, and hard-surface trails that will guide you through some of the most beautiful parts of the state. So load up the bikes, lace up your hiking boots, and get the family moving.

One of the state’s premier destinations for trail seekers is Chadron State Park, tucked into the northwest corner of Nebraska. Mountain bikers come from far and wide to ride what are considered to be the top single- and dual-track destinations in the nation.

If hiking is more your style, head to Toadstool Geologic Park north of Crawford, Neb. Here, you will discover an unexpected, lunar-like terrain that’s perfect for exploring. Or take in the natural beauty and winding trails of western Nebraska’s Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering, Neb. Here, trekkers will discover rocky buttes and picture-perfect wilderness virtually unaffected by the passing of time.

The eastern end of the state offers a bounty of outdoor adventure as well. Hikers and bikers alike will enjoy the Cowboy Trail between Norfolk and Chadron, the nation’s longest rail-to-trail project in progress. The trail’s signature sites are its long bridges that offer spectacular views.

For mountain bikers, the Steamboat Trace Hike/Bike Trail along the Missouri River or the more metropolitan MoPac Trail West in Lincoln are great choices for an invigorating excursion.

Despite being surrounded by nearly a million people, Bellevue’s Fontenelle Forest is a haven of deep solitude with 17 miles of walking trails. In North Omaha, Neale Woods Nature Center’s nine miles of trails weave through heavy forests, hilltop prairies, and riverside woodlands.

With a state park system that stretches from border to border, you don’t have to go far to find quality trails. Spend a weekend camping at Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area or rent a cabin or teepee at Platte River State Park—parks near the metro that offer several hiking and biking trails. Indian Cave State Park is almost 30 minutes southeast of Nebraska City, Neb., and near the city of Shubert on the Missouri River. It’s a 3,052-acre region that’s ruggedly pristine and has 22 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Hundreds of trails are waiting for you to explore, so go to VisitNebraska.com to find one to tackle today. Or order the new Nebraska Bicycle Map at transportation.nebraska.gov.