Children’s Museum Dig Pit Serves as 811 Teaching Tool

An interactive exhibit can “plant the seed”
for damage prevention with children of all ages.  Nebraska811 is helping to teach kids about safe digging with their co-sponsorship of a hands-on dig pit at the Omaha Children’s Museum.

Nebraska811 and several local utility companies have worked with the museum to produce a highly interactive tree planting dig pit exhibit that conveys the public awareness
message to “Call 811 before you dig.” The  exhibit is part of a larger exhibit called “Forever Forest” that provides an educational experience on the importance of trees.

Children begin the activity by engaging with an interactive map highlighting the various utility lines: water, gas, communications, sewer and electricity. A button next to each utility graphic on the panel lights up and plays a sound which corresponds to each utility. The children find out where the utility lines are located and can begin planting.


The dig pit is filled with a rubber mulch to simulate the soil. Children use shovels to carefully plant faux tree saplings away from the utility lines. Simulated utility lines (colored PVC) are color coded and placed in the bottom of the dig pit.

Forever Forest is also a national touring exhibit that focuses on the various aspects of the forest industry. After its debut at the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Forever Forest exhibit will travel across Nebraska and to children’s museums throughout the United States over the next 10 years. Daily educational programs led by museum educators and local experts are part of the exhibit. They include hands-on activities to engage visitors and make them excited to learn more.

The exhibit, which runs through April 2018, has been a popular activity at the museum and appeals to a variety of age groups. Nebraska811 has found that it is fun and  educational for children and their families to learn about safe digging.

Jill Geyer, with Nebraska811 and One Call Concepts, Inc, conducts outreach and  educational activities with stakeholders across the state of Nebraska. Jill works with a variety of organizations and industries involved in underground utility damage  prevention. She can be reached at

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