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. 

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

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River

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

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

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Rainwater Basin

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River

* 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" -  Sarah Hewitt
  • "Birding By Ear" - Jason "the Birdnerd" St. Sauver

3:30 pm - Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Trip - Calamus Outfitters (overnight stay)

* 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: Michael Forsberg. Free admission, no reservations needed.

Saturday, March 23

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

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

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Rainwater Basin

7:00 am-12:30 pm - Birding the Platte River

* 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
  • Chester McConnel, President of Friends of the Wild Whoopers

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

  • Mary Bomberger Brown
  • 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

* 3:30-4:20 pm – Concurrent Sessions

  • Dave Bassch, Director of Biological and Ecological Services at Headwaters Corporation
  • Jonathan Hayes, Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon New Mexico

* 4:30-5:20 pm – Concurrent Sessions

  • "Conservation Ranching" - Andrew Pierson, Director of Conservation at Audubon Nebraska
  • "A Reinventory of the Birds of Mormon Island Crane Meadows: Changes in the avian commmunity from 1982-2017" - Andy Caven, Crane Trust Lead Biologist

* 6:00-7:00 pm – Social (cash bar)

* 7:00-9:00 pm – Banquet and Speaker - Davdi 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)

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