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Thursday, February 20 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Different Perspectives, Same View: Following the Sandhill Crane migration from Texas to the Tintina Trench

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Every year, sandhill cranes make a long migration from the sand hills of Texas to central Alaska and even over to Siberia. Throughout their journey these large birds give us spectacular viewing opportunities in many different forms. From spotting small groups on wintering grounds in Texas to the deafening chorus of thousands feeding in Nebraska, special viewing platforms and blinds allow us to watch these birds at rest. When the birds reach Yukon, the only opportunity to see them is as they fly overhead. As wildlife professionals we have the privilege and responsibility to provide respectful viewing experiences to the public to promote the conservation of our natural wonders. This presentation will explore site specific approaches to spot, panoramic and flyover viewing experiences. Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary is a 2,800 acre preserve on the Platte River in central Nebraska. During the spring migration, 800,000+ sandhill cranes stop on their way north to breeding grounds. For 47 years, Audubon has been offering sunrise and sunset viewing experiences to observe the cranes as they roost for the night. Our design team was challenged with creating a flexible viewing blind for 30 people that could be used year-round for river or prairie interpretive programs. Many specific accommodations were made for this unique facility where visitors pay to spend three hours each spring to witness the spring crane migration, a treasure of North American wildlife. After the cranes leave Nebraska they are racing to northern breeding grounds in Canada and beyond. By the time they reach Yukon, they are following the Tintina Trench, a geological fault that passes through the old mining town of Faro. In the 90s when the mine closed, Faro collapsed, the population crashing from 2,000 to 400 people nearly overnight. But those that stayed continued to carve out a living from the wilderness by promoting their unique natural attractions, such as the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes flying by. With a weekend-long festival planned months in advance, Faro faces the challenge of attracting visitors to an isolated town on the hope they might have timed it with the migration. The viewing experience in Faro is entirely different from Nebraska, but still celebrated by those who make the journey. By following the path of the sandhill crane we can make an interesting comparison of the different audience expectations and services needed celebrate the same thing.

avatar for Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Lake Flato Architects
Matt is co-leader of the Lake Flato’s Eco-Conservation studio, which fulfills his passion for championing projects that encourage environmental stewardship. He studied under Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt, who taught him the importance of sustainable practices. Since acquiring... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Duggan

Andrew Duggan

Andrew is a landscape architect with Studio Outside and has been active in environmental education and nature center planning for 20 years. As a father of four, he is passionate about creating meaningful experiences for children of all ages out in nature. He has worked with numerous... Read More →
avatar for Carrie McClelland

Carrie McClelland

Yukon Environment
Growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, Carrie developed a love of nature by spending summer days building tree-forts in the local urban park. She was then drawn to northern Ontario where she attended Lakehead University and received an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks... Read More →
avatar for Bill Taddicken

Bill Taddicken

Rowe Sanctuary
Bill is director of Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary and has a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He, his wife, Autumn, and daughter, Aurora, live on Rowe Sanctuary. Bill and Autumn have had the pleasure of raising their daughter amidst America’s greatest... Read More →

Thursday February 20, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm EST
Aurora Room

Attendees (2)