Official Nebraska Government Website. Go to Nebraska.gov
Home » Author Archives: Justin Haag, Regional Editor/PIO

Author Archives: Justin Haag, Regional Editor/PIO

Justin Haag serves the Panhandle as a NEBRASKAland’s Regional Editor and Public Information Officer for the Commission. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing and hunting. 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.

Panhandle Passages: Moving the Spotlight

With the sun just below the horizon, this scene at Whitney Lake is brightened by a dead tree and stars. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

One day this week I set out early looking to capture photos of migrating sandhill cranes which commonly stay over in our area on their journey southward this time of year. Even though I had heard promising reports from the previous night I didn’t find where the cranes were resting for the night. I did, however, capture the above image which I believe is worth keeping. One of the challenges in landscape photography is recognizing the portion of a scene ... Read More »

Fort Robinson Christmas Dinner Celebrating 20 Years

The lodge at Fort Robinson State Park shines brightly during the holidays. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

The 20th annual Historical Christmas Dinner at Fort Robinson State Park is set for Saturday, Dec. 6. To mark the special anniversary, the dinner’s theme will step back 100 years with attire and the menu from the 1914 Christmas dinner at the Fort. Only 200 tickets will be sold for the dinner, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 3. Tickets will be available by cash or check at the Fort Robinson ... Read More »

Smoky Gray Photos

Scott Justice of Chadron harvested this turkey of the erythristic, or red, color phase. (Submitted photo)

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of ... Read More »

Dutch Oven Program Set at Wildcat Hills SRA

JH20140725_9524.jpg

Those looking to take a traditional approach to cooking a delicious meal in the outdoors are encouraged to sign up for an upcoming program at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area of Gering. Amanda Filipi, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist, will present the “Lovin’ Dutch Oven” program Saturday, Nov. 1, at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. The deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 24. Filipi will demonstrate the age-old process of using Dutch ovens, cast iron pots ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

Wild turkeys, one of which is likely a "smoky gray" phase bird, walk through grass in the Nebraska National Forest. (Photo by Justin Haag)

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: One for the Snakes

The snake uses its forked tongue, which many snake-haters find disturbing, to sense chemicals in the air and gain clues of the presence of predators and prey. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

After visiting with a Chadron community service organization last week, I wrapped up the presentation with a slideshow of wildlife photos from western Nebraska and moved on to questions. One question kind of caught me off-guard. A friend in the audience asked why I hadn’t included any photos of snakes. I didn’t even realize that I had not given any time to reptiles, but he was right. I was certainly guilty of favoring other classes above reptiles. Mammals, birds, amphibians ... Read More »

Bird Banding Coming to Chadron State Park, Wildcat Hills

Melanie Mancuso of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory examines a red crossbill that was captured at a bird banding station at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area in August 2013. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

The public is invited to get up-close and personal with bird populations at two parks in the Nebraska Panhandle this fall. During the coming month, banding stations will be operating at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering and Chadron State Park near Chadron. The public is invited to join the bird-banders during two special sessions, Saturday, Aug. 30, at Chadron and Saturday, Sept. 13, at Wildcat Hills. Attendees of the informational sessions will watch as biologists retrieve birds from ... Read More »

Try-Athlon Set at Chadron State Park

NGPC Logo

Community wellness is the goal during the annual Try-Athlon at Chadron State Park this weekend. The annual event, sponsored by the Chadron Lifespan Wellness Team, will be Sunday, Aug. 24, at 3 p.m. Entrants of the Try-Athlon are challenged to swim, bike or run, either individually or with team members. Check-in begins at 2 p.m. at the park swimming pool and participants may sign up and pay the $10 registration fee the day of the event. Organizers bill the event ... Read More »

Where the Carp Goes

JH20140716_8404

An extraordinary aspect to wildlife management these days is the extent to which technology is being used to learn more about animals. It seems telemetry, the process of using tracking devices attached to the animals to collect data, is increasingly being used to monitor a variety of species. In my time with the Game and Parks Commission, I’ve photographed researchers putting collars on animals as big as elk and as small as burrowing owls. I even read an article not ... Read More »

Outdoor Cooking Program Set at Chadron State Park

Dutch oven

  The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has cooked up a program to help people improve their outdoor cuisine. The presentation, led by Commission outdoor education specialist Amanda Filipi, will be at the Chadron State Park Trading Post’s fire pit on Friday, July 25, at 5 p.m. Participants can expect to dine on a delicious meal after learning to cook it using techniques such as Dutch oven, foil and open fire. Filipi encourages people to sign up soon. The registration ... Read More »