Crane Festival

Crane Festival Schedule of Events

The Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney is the location for the speakers and concurrent sessions, and the west entrance of the hotel is the location for the departure and return of all field trips.

Festival Headquarters Hotel:  Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, 110 2nd Avenue, Kearney, NE  68848 - (308) 237-5971.

A block of rooms is being held exclusively for Audubon Nebraska at a discounted group rate of $109.95 per room, per night, plus tax on March 21 – 23, 2019, at the Holiday Inn and at these other two hotels:

Holiday Inn Express:  (308) 234-8100, rooms available Thur – Sat, March 21 – 23.  Rate $109.95 per room, per night, plus taxes.  Complimentary breakfast.

Comfort Inn:   (308) 236-3400, rooms available Fri & Sat, March 22 – 23.  Rate $109.95 per room, per night, plus taxes.  Complimentary breakfast.

Call the phone number above and state you are attending the crane festival to make your room reservations. Rooms are held until February 21, 2019, and will be subject to availability after that date. Click the hotel link above to book on-line.

Please note: if making reservations after February 21, 2019, it is necessary you phone the hotel to reserve your room. (Early arrivals or later departures will still receive the discounted rate, but must phone the hotel to make those reservations.)

* Asterisk indicates activity is paid for with festival registration.

Thursday, March 21

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding Rowe Sanctuary

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Rainwater Basin (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

4:00 pm - Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Trip - McCook (overnight stay)

4:30- 9:00 pm - Guided Sandhill Crane Viewing Experience

Friday, March 22

5:15-9:30 am – Guided Sandhill Crane Viewing Experience (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

5:15 am-3:30 pm - Legends and Stories: The Changing Ecology of the Great Plains (Willa Cather/Red Cloud, Neb.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding Rowe Sanctuary (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Rainwater Basin (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

* 12:30-2:00 pm - Lunch and Speaker - Michael Farrell

* 2:30-3:20 pm - Concurrent Sessions

  • "Crane Behavior Basics" - Pamela Bergmann
  • "Scientific Inquiry in the Classroom: Connecting students to nature through hands-on learning experiences at Kearney High School" - Cody Wagner and Kearney Public Schools teacher

* 3:30-4:20 pm - Concurrent Sessions

  • "Sandhill Crane Protection in the Dakotas" -  Marshall Johnson
  • "Birding By Ear" - Jason "the Birdnerd" St. Sauver

3:30 pm - Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Trip - Calamus Outfitters (overnight stay) (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

* 4:30-5:20 pm - Concurrent Sessions

  • "Migrating with Sandhill Cranes" - Sandra Noll and Erv Nichols
  • "Advocating for Birds with Elected Officials" - Jesse Walls

4:30- 9:00 pm - Guided Sandhill Crane Viewing Experience

7:30 pm - "Follow the Water" - The World Theatre, 2318 Central Ave., Kearney. Guest speaker: Author and Photographer Michael Forsberg. Free admission, no reservations needed.

Immediately following the showing, a question & answer session will take place with Michael Forsberg, filmmaker Pete Stegen, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications producer Christine Lesiak, and Audubon Nebraska Executive Director Kristal Stoner.

Saturday, March 23

5:15-9:30 am – Guided Sandhill Crane Viewing Experience

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding Rowe Sanctuary (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Rainwater Basin (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

* 9:00-10:00 am – Breakfast

* 10:00 am-2:00 pm - Wild Experience Room (Kearney Public Library, open to the public)

* 10:00-10:50 am - Concurrent Sessions

  • "The Trumpet in the Orchestra of Evolution: The Story of the Sandhill Crane In North America" - Anne Lacy, International Crane Foundation
  • "Whooping Cranes Facts and Habitat Needs" Chester McConnel, President of Friends of the Wild Whoopers

* 11:00-11:50 am - Concurrent Sessions

  • Mary Bomberger Brown
  • "Invasive Species Control to Increase Water Conveyance and Wildlife Habitat" - Rich Walters, Director of Stewardship for The Nature Conservancy, Nebraska

* 12:30-2:00 pm – Lunch and Speaker - Lili Taylor

* 2:15-3:20 pm – Concurrent Sessions

  • "Ultraviolet Light Significantly Reduces Sandhill Crane Collisions at Rowe" - James Dwyer, EDM International, Inc.
  • "Plants for Birds" - Katherine (Katie) Blake, Audubon Connecticut

* 3:30-4:20 pm – Concurrent Sessions

  • “Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Species and Water Action Plan Project Updates” - Dave Bassch, Director of Biological and Ecological Services at Headwaters Corporation
  • “Sandhill Cranes in the Rocky Mountains” - Jonathan Hayes, Vice President and Executive Director, Audubon New Mexico

* 4:30-5:20 pm – Concurrent Sessions

  • "Conservation Ranching" - Andrew Pierson, Director of Conservation at Audubon Nebraska
  • "Whooping Crane Migratory Flock Size: Trends, Indicators, and Implications" - Andy Caven, Crane Trust Lead Biologist

* 6:00-7:00 pm – Social (cash bar)

* 7:00-9:00 pm – Banquet and Speaker - David Mizejewski

Sunday, March 24

5:15-9:30 am – Guided Sandhill Crane Viewing Experience

* 9:30-10:30 am – Brunch

3:30 pm - Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Trip - Calamus Outfitters (overnight stay) (Trip is full; wait list available on registration website.)

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