Alberts Receives Grassland Conservation Award

October 24, 2023

Congratulations to Mark Alberts, Gothenburg, for receiving the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts’ (NARD) Outstanding Grassland Conservation Award from the
at their annual conference in September. Alberts was recognized for his success using fire to improve and maintain pastures with farmers and ranchers in the Loess hills of Dawson County. Alberts has made significant improvements to grasslands in central Nebraska.

As coordinator, burn boss, and volunteer of the Central Platte Rangeland Alliance (CPRA), Alberts facilitates prescribed burns that have proven to be up to 100% effective in killing cedars and promoting native warm-season grasses. He has worked tirelessly to advocate for prescribed burning and strengthening the CPRA’s fight against the spread of the Eastern Red Cedar for nearly two decades.

Over the last 10 years, the CPRA has conducted up to 14 prescribed burns each spring and burned nearly 50,000 acres. With Alberts leadership, more than 75 burns have been completed and membership in the CPRA has grown to over 180 participants and supporters. As the Burn Boss, Alberts helps landowners prepare for their burns to ensure a high success rate. He writes the burn plans that include maps, soil types, job duties/equipment involved, what the landowner hopes to accomplish, and weather conditions.

“I truly enjoy the comradery involved with prescribed burns,” Alberts said. He sees the CPRA as a building block for the community, saying it’s a very “unique, midwestern” fellowship. When asked, Mark emphasized that he enjoys helping others and said he’ll continue to do his part to keep it going.