Saturday, August 25, 2018

Conservation in Action at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin


Last weekend, we stopped in at the International Crane Foundation to learn a bit about the organization and beautiful cranes! The International Crane Foundation engages in conservation efforts around the world that support crane populations and critical habitats. They educate populations worldwide on how they can protect habitats within their diverse landscapes and alongside farming practices.

Home to 15 Species of Crane:

Wattled Crane taking a rest in the shade on a warm day at International Crane Foundation
Whttled Crane taking a rest in the shade on a warm day.

We are very lucky to have the headquarters so close to us for a visit! The headquarters encompasses about 300 acres and is home to cranes representing each of the 15 species. Some of the enclosures are more open like the Wattled Crane above. By the enclosures, we found informative plaques about each crane species and the threats they face.

Informative plaques at the International Crane Foundation teach about cranes and their critical habitats.
Informative plaques at the International Crane Foundation teach about cranes and their critical habitats.
A little closer look at the Wattled Crane -- you can see the wattle:

Wattled Crane spending some time in the shade on a hot summer day.

My favorite section was that of the Blue Cranes. Blue Cranes living in the southern portion of Africa. So neat to see them here:

Pair of Blue Cranes at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin
Pair of Blue Cranes
One of my favorite cranes is one we see locally, the Sandhill Crane. During migration this year, we actually had a pair fly right over our car on the way to a nearby preserve. The Sandhill Cranes were kept in a more enclosed area. However, that did not prevent one from eyeing us!
Sandhill Crane eyeing us at the International Crane Foundation in  Baraboo, Wisconsin
Sandhill Crane eyeing us .

A little tough to see, but here are two of the critically endangered Siberian Cranes. The International Crane Foundation is working with conservationists in Russia, Mongolia and China to save and restore their habitat.

Lovely pair of Siberian Cranes.



Saving the Whooping Crane:

Through conservation efforts, the International Crane Foundation has helped bring the Whooping Crane back from the bring of extinction. Recently, we learned some of the Whooping Cranes from the International Crane Foundation where located at Nachusa Grasslands here in Illinois. It is amazing to see them back in their natural habitat. The Whooping Crane exhibit has a range detailed and informative plaques as well as video. There is a wonderful seated viewing area to view the  Whooping Cranes. During our visit, there was a talk with naturalists about conservation methods helping the endangered Whooping Crane.

Whooping Cranes enjoying the wetlands at the International Crane Foundation.
Whooping Cranes enjoying the wetlands.
Whooping Cranes are the rarest cranes in the world. Below, you can see that Midwest is a big chunk of their range. In the 1940's, fewer than 20 were known to exist. The International Crane Foundation began conservation efforts in 1973 and now at least 400 are known to exist. So, they are still endangered but it was quite remarkable to see them at Nachusa!

The range of the endangered Whooping Crane.
The range of the endangered Whooping Crane.

Hiking:

There are trails to explore on the outskirts of the preserve. There are about 2 miles of trails that go through various ecosystems including remnant and restored tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and wetlands. Wild sandhill cranes nest in the marsh mid April- early July, so give them privacy to incubate their eggs.

Hiking trails at the International Crane Foundation

Interesting Way to Reuse Glass:

When visiting a site dedicated to conservation, you often learn about new avenues in conservation. Immediately, I noticed a glittered pathway. It turns out some of the pavement at the preserve is made with recycled glass giving it new purpose. Pretty innovative! More info was detailed in a handy sign:


Explanation of the usefulness of recycled glass pavement.
Explanation of the usefulness of recycled glass pavement.

Beautiful and resourceful recycled glass pavement at the International Crane Foundation.
Beautiful and resourceful recycled glass pavement!
A Place to Learn about Cranes and Conservation while Celebrating Nature:

The International Crane Foundation does remarkable work by engaging conservationists, the public and other stakeholders in learning more about cranes and how we can protect their critical habitats. A visit to the headquarters provided us with time to admire these majestic birds and learn more about their habits as well as conservation efforts to help them. We really enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning!

Things to Know:

  • Please be quiet and respectful in order to not startle the cranes during your visit. Do not mimic their calls or movements.
  • The gift shop is full of all sorts of crane inspired items including artisan items made here in the US!
  • Guided tours are offered each day Memorial Day - Labor Day, so check schedule. 
  • The International Crane Foundation is open seasonally April 15-October 31. However, they will be closed for the 2019 season due to renovations. So, plane on checking them out in 2020!
**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Conservation in Action at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin Saving Cranes Worldwide

1 comment:

  1. We went to Baraboo just a couple weeks ago and were amazed at all the things the town had to offer. Next time we visit we'll have to go on a hike at the International Crane Foundation.

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