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justin haag

Justin Haag serves the Panhandle as a public information officer for the Commission, also serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and enjoy introducing their two children to the many outdoor recreational opportunities of the Pine Ridge region.

Public Invited to Plant Trees at Chadron State Park

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CHADRON — Boy Scouts are inviting the public to help plant 3,000 trees at Chadron State Park on Saturday, Oct. 8. Volunteers for the project are encouraged to arrive at the park’s campground at 7:30 a.m. for instructions. The planting is expected to wrap up by 2 p.m. and will conclude with a meal. For more information, contact Jim Schmitt of the Boy Scouts at 308-249-1195 or the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District at 308-432-6190.

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Bioblitz Coming to Chadron State Park

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CHADRON — The public is invited to join Chadron State Park’s first Bioblitz, a 24-hour program Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The park’s group event facility will serve as headquarters for the more than dozen surveys and activities, which are scheduled to take place at locations throughout the park. The free event will allow participants both young and old to discover and celebrate western Nebraska wildlife. A bioblitz is an event where members of the public become “citizen scientists” …

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Old-school Decoys Still Worthy of Space

Homemade dove deocys

Each September, I get a subtle first-hand reminder of the influence of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s communications efforts. About 15 or 20 years ago, a how-to story inspired me to construct dove decoys out of plywood, metal hooks and a little paint. I’m not sure who wrote or delivered the narrative, but I’m certain it came from the Commission – NEBRASKAland Magazine or something else. Nobody is going to mistake my work for a Michelangelo or Rembrandt, but …

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Wildcat Hills Shooting Complex Opening This Weekend

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GERING — The newly constructed shooting complex at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will open Labor Day weekend. The new facility along Nebraska Highway 71 south of Gering will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  A grand opening will be scheduled at a later date with the dedication of the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, which is being renovated. “We’re looking forward to showing this new complex off to the public and begin serving the region in …

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A Birthday Tribute

A bull elk rests in the upper elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo by Cricket Haag)

Let me apologize for leading this post with a photo captured outside Nebraska. As much as I’d like to claim that image, the credit instead goes to my wife Cricket who was riding shotgun while I was behind the wheel. It tops any elk photo I’ve ever shot and I might be a tad jealous. She did a great job composing the scene, but dare I suggest that a few others deserve credit for that image? We must also step …

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Here’s Your Sign

American dagger moth caterpillar

Sometimes nature is pretty obvious with its signs about what a person shouldn’t touch. Cacti, yucca plants, porcupines and rattlesnakes, for instance, have signals akin to a flashing billboard. Then there are more devious dangers such as poky thorns on beautiful rose bushes and rash-inducing urushiol on unassuming poison ivy plants. I’m not sure where the subject of the following story fits into that spectrum, but I’ve become convinced I should have been paying a little closer attention to some …

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Cheyenne Trotters Coming to Fort Robinson State Park

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CRAWFORD, Neb. — The Cheyenne Trotters, a group of skilled horse enthusiasts who specialize in cavalry demonstrations, parades and drill team performances, will entertain audiences during a series of appearances at Fort Robinson State Park in August. Drill performances are set for Thursday, Aug. 11, prior to the fort’s weekly rodeo at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m., also at the rodeo arena. Cavalry performances will be Friday-Sunday, Aug. 12-14, on the park’s parade grounds at 10 …

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Program at Chadron State Park Highlights Creatures of the Night

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CHADRON, Neb. — Bats, owls and other nocturnal species will be in the spotlight this week as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission presents its Creatures of the Night program at Chadron State Park. The program, which is open to the public free of charge, will be Saturday, July 30, at 8:30 p.m. beginning at the lagoon shelter. Amanda Filipi, an educator for the Commission, will lead the hike through the dark, in which participants may bring a flashlight or …

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Tonight’s Presentation at Chadron State Park Postponed

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This week’s installment of the summer speaker series at northwestern Nebraska’s two state parks has been postponed because of illness. The “Creatures of the Night” presentation at Chadron State Park, which was planned for the night of Friday, July 8, will be rescheduled for a date to be determined. The series will resume Friday, July 15, at Fort Robinson State Park with the same “Creatures of the Night” presentation by Amanda Filipi, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educator.

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Lake Minatare Programs Put Focus on Fritillaries, Campfires

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MINATARE, Neb. — A pair of free programs at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area on Saturday, July 16, will help participants enjoy and appreciate nature and the outdoors. The sessions, which will be at the Scouts Cabin, will teach how to build campfires and inform about the regal fritillary butterfly. The first session, which begins at 9 a.m., will focus on building campfires. By learning about the five most common types of campfires, attendees will gain a valuable tool in …

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