A Late Summer Treat: The Princeton Whooping Crane Festival

There’s a Whooping Crane Festival taking place in Wisconsin this weekend, and if you’re looking for a late summer treat, you won’t be disappointed if you take a drive to Green Lake County and check it out. It started today and continues through Sunday with a great variety of activities, including a special tour of the International Crane Foundation, in Baraboo, at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Some of the other planned events include a silent auction, an artisans’ and vendors’ market, activities for children, birding opportunities, and a one-hour canoe trip in a hand-built replica of a French fur trader’s canoe. Here’s the schedule, for more info. For craniacs who can never get enough information regarding the progress of our beloved whooping cranes – as well as news of other avian species – there is a full line up of Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon talks. And they are:

Patricia Manthey, WI DNR avian ecologist and conservation biologist (retired in 2014), will speak, 9-10 a.m., about the recovery of the Trumpeter Swan, a conservation success story that spanned two and half decades. Trumpeter swan nests are now found in 24 Wisconsin counties.

Summer wildflowers are everywhere along the back roads of Wisconsin.

Summer wildflowers are everywhere along the back roads of Wisconsin.

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Beverly Paulan, WI DNR pilot, and Joe Duff, pilot and co-founder of Operation Migration, are speaking at 10:30 a.m., and will have plenty of stories to share! Their subject, the role played by aviation in Wisconsin’s wildlife conservation programs; not only for the whooping crane and trumpeter swan, but also in tracking wolf packs, and deer herds, and conducting bird surveys.

Patricia Fisher, wildlife rehabber, and owner of The Feather Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in New London, WI, will talk at 1 p.m., about her 30 years of raptor – and other critter – rehabilitation. She once told an Appleton newspaper interviewer “The most rewarding part of wildlife rehab to me is to be a part of their world. Something not everyone gets. Releasing them is phenomenal, but just to be with them is incredible.”

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At 3 p.m., Joe Duff will return to the podium to address the topic foremost in the minds of most craniacs: the transition taking place this year in the whooping crane reintroduction. He will discuss how the new protocol involving “adoption of the new cranes by the former ultralight migration students,” is evolving, and how it might help the Wisconsin crane population’s chances of becoming a self-sustaining flock.

As stated above, The Princeton Whooping Crane Festival, and your drive to get there, just might be the perfect end-of-summer activity you’re seeking.

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