In 1959, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) Forestry Assoc. Professor Walter Thaine Bagley and wife Virginia purchased the 145 acre row crop farm with a 10 acre native prairie, that is now the Prairie Pines Nature Preserve.
They transformed the farm to woodlands, windbreaks, grassland and wildlife habitat with diverse trees, an arboretum and reclaimed grassland.
It became the first “choose-and-cut” Christmas tree farm, the first home for Raptor Recovery, and the first Conservation Easement in Nebraska.
Prairie Pines was donated to the University of Nebraska Foundation in 1992 to be “protected forever as a place that would provide a pleasant habitat for all beings--plant and animal.” The Nebraska Forest Service assumed management in 2016 and works collaboratively with the Prairie Pines Partners to:
"Sustain a habitat for all living things through conservation, education and experience to promote a lasting connection with the natural world and its resources."