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Family Bird Count set for Lake Minatare

MINATARE, Neb. — The public is invited to attend a special birdwatching event at Scout’s Rest Campground of Lake Minatare State Recreation Area.

The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are conducting the Family Christmas Bird Count at the lake on Dec. 15 from 9-11 a.m. The lake is closed from Oct. 15-Jan. 15 each year as part of the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge, but is opening for this exclusive event.

The Bird Count will be modeled after the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, an annual effort since 1900 that has challenged citizens to observe and record local bird populations during the holiday.

Amber Shiltz, Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator for the Conservancy, said the Lake Minatare event will allow families to connect with nature while learning about birds and their wintering habitats. Attendees will learn birdwatching tips, tally the species they observe, and be treated to snacks and hot cocoa.

The event will begin at the Scout Cabin. A Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles but the event is open to the public free of charge.

For more information, contact Schiltz at amber.schiltz@birdconservancy.org or 402-310-6137.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include 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 have two children.

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