Shopping for Good: Presents for Craniacs & Others

There’s a new movement – at least I think I’m detecting one – to add some “shopping for good” into one’s search for holiday gifts. More and more, I’m seeing gift guides encouraging me to “buy local”, or “made in America” gifts, and to shop for fair-traded items.

Today, The Badger and the Whooping Crane is suggesting a slight variation on that theme, recommending two sources of gifts, and 3 book selections that are either crane-themed or “made in Wisconsin.”

No surprise here, the gift shop at the International Crane Foundation would be the source for the crane-themed: clothing items, earings, silk scarves, art and notecards, whooping crane puppets. But what might surprise you – and would surely delight someone you know – are these adorable plush, stuffed birdies – whooping crane, chick, and sandhill, available from $12.99 – 19.99:

Plush crane toys available from the ICF gift shop. (Courtesy,   International Crane Foundation)

Plush crane toys available from the ICF gift shop. (Courtesy, International Crane Foundation)

The merchandise at includes what you’re probably expecting: cheeseheads! And Packer gear. And Badger gear. But wait, that’s not all – handcrafted wood items, socks for hikers and walkers, goatsmilk soap, and gift baskets of cheese and sausage all say “I thought of you” straight from Wisconsin.

Now for some books: two are genuine “long-reads” about the struggles to bring the whooping crane back from the brink of extinction. The third is an e-book: a light-hearted gardening memoir rooted right here in Wisconsin

Until Robert Porter Allen, an orinthologist with the National Audubon Society, found the only remaining whooping crane nesting site in North America, meaningful and enduring efforts to protect the species could not really begin. The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story by Kathleen Kaska tells the story of Allen’s dogged, nine-year quest for that nesting site, finally found in far northern Alberta in 1954. Reviewers say this “reads like an adventure story.”

And Jon Mooallem’s book Wild Ones takes a close look today, at three particular endangered species: Lange’s metalmark butterfly, the polar bear, and the whooping crane. This book is one of the New York Times “notable works of non-fiction for 2013”. Reviewers say, “Mooallem makes a persuasive case that wild animals are America’s cultural heritage – our Sistine Chapel and our Great Books.”

After all that shopping you’ll be supergrateful for how easy-on-your-wallet is Chris Eirschele’s Garden Truths from My Family’s Stories. At $2.99 each, you can probably send Garden Truths to the Kindle or e-reader of each and every one of your gardening friends.

Book Cover for Garden Truths From My Family's Stories

Wisconsin native, Master Gardener, and garden writer, Chris now lives in Scottsdale, AZ where she continues to honor the best gift her parents left her: “the innate ability to grow plants.” Her book is eight short chapters of memoir, each one followed by a page or two of a “Garden Truth”. Among the Truths, Chris’ easy-going directions for “Starting from the back of a seed packet,” and “Saving Cannas, Dahlias and Gladiolus,” and planting Magnolia trees in the North and turning a room in your home into an Orangery and other flower gardening topics are all wonderful! This so-so, wannabe gardener loved it. Chances are you know someone who would too.

4 thoughts on “Shopping for Good: Presents for Craniacs & Others

  1. Thank you for including my ebook in your “Shopping for Good: Presents for Craniacs & Others” list. I was lucky to have my roots in Wisconsin; no matter where I have lived the Badger state calls me back, especially for the stories in Garden Truths From My Family’s Stories.

  2. Oh, you are welcome, Chris! It was ‘a natural’ for my topic, and I really have enjoyed it and hope I can help others discover it. And you’re one of us Badgers, Chris, (even tho you’re in AZ); we know that, and are glad for it !

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