Well, we have had a touch of winter. Winter can be fun, or it can be tragic. Do you remember this story from a few years ago? James Kim took a wrong turn and found himself and his family stuck on a remote Oregon Highway. Kim’s family was eventually rescued, but he froze to death while trying to hike out and find help.
Kim missed a turnoff on the way to a resort. Rather than turn around, they took what they thought was an alternate route. Instead of getting back to the resort, they took a tragic trip down a road that is marked on Oregon Department of Transportation maps with a red legend, “This route closed in winter.”
Getting caught in a snowstorm and stranded can happen in Nebraska, too. A winter storm front, like the one that threatened us a few days ago, can sweep across the plains and create very dangerous situations with ice or snow. If you were caught out on the road, maybe in a remote part of the state, would you have what it takes to bivouac for several days in your vehicle?
One of the most important things to remember if you get lost or stuck while traveling is to stay with your vehicle. Your vehicle is a much bigger object for rescuers to see than a single person moving across the landscape. Your vehicle is also shelter and shelter is probably the most important asset you need in a winter survival situation. As seen with the tragic story mentioned above, the wife and daughters who stayed in the car survived.
Here are a few simple items that I recommend you carry with you during the winter:
» Water. You can survive for several days without food, but you need water everyday. I carry water in plastic bottles. Even if they freeze, the plastic will expand and you’ll still have water. You can also buy bottled water or sport drinks that work perfect for this.
» Always have something with you to start a fire. A disposable cigarette lighter is easy to carry and very dependable, even in wet conditions.
» Carry several small votive candles. These can generate a lot more heat inside a vehicle than you might think.
» Carry a metal cup. You can use it for melting ice over your burning candles if needed. A pocket knife is handy to have to chip away at ice or cut into frozen water bottles.
» Have an assortment of candy or trail bars with you. One bar a day will give you enough energy to survive.
» Carry a one-pound metal coffee can or small bucket. You can put a candle inside the can and make a heater with it or use the can to melt water. Roll down a window, about an inch, when using any kind of heater inside a vehicle. This will allow some fresh air in and an avenue for carbon monoxide to escape.
» Cell phone charger. Carry a cell phone charger that plugs into your car.
» Carry an emergency blanket. I like the metal foil type space blankets. They are small, strong and take up very little space. They reflect back lots of body heat.
» Railroad or safety flares are always a good idea. They can be a beacon for rescuers and double as a source of immediate heat or a way to start a fire to stay warm.
» Carry something that is hunter orange. You can use this as a signaling device or marker for your vehicle.
» Have extra warm clothes and footwear with you in the vehicle. This could be a lifesaver!
I hope you never get lost or stranded, but the key is to be prepared.
Youth art contest
Wildlife Forever’s 2020 State-Fish Art Contest, with support from Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops, is open and now accepting entries. This international contest is free to enter for all youth in grades K-12.
Students have the opportunity to win prizes and recognition while learning about state fish species, behaviors, aquatic habitats and conservation. The art of conservation creates interest in a child’s imagination while they learn about fish and fishing.
To enter, young artists create an original illustration of their chosen fish species from the official state fish list. A personal one-page written essay, story or poem based on behavior, habitat or conservation needs is also required and awarded. Winning contestants will be honored in four grade categories: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Judging is in April and winners will be announced in May.
The 2020 contest also has two new award categories with opportunities for additional prizes and recognition. The Guy Harvey Award, created in partnership with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, highlights saltwater fish and their importance in healthy ocean ecosystems.
Participants that enter this award category could win a signed Guy Harvey Print. The World Fish Migration Foundation and Wildlife Forever have partnered to create the Fish Migration Award.
This international award focuses on migratory fish and the free-flowing waters they rely on. The winners of this award will be featured on World Fish Migration Day, May 16th, 2020.
The deadline to enter the 2020 State-Fish Art Contest is March 31st, 2020. Visit statefishart.org for full details on how to participate.