Crane Festival


David Mizejewski

The Saturday night banquet speaker for the 2019 Crane Festival will be David Mizejewski. David is a television host, media personality, author, blogger, and a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. David is dedicated to using his knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm to help others understand the wonders of the natural world and how to live sustainably.
Check out his appearance on ABC's "Good Morning Washington."
Lili Taylor

Lili is a stage and screen actress who has appeared in such films as Mystic PizzaI Shot Andy Warhol, and The Conjuring. Some of her television highlights include "American Crime," HBO’s "Six Feet Under," and Fox’s "The X-Files," all of which garnered her Emmy nominations. She just completed work on the series "Chambers" for Netflix. She currently serves on the boards of the National Audubon Society and the American Birding Association.

Read a great Audubon article about her taking part in a Christmas bird count.

Michael Farrell

MIchael is our lunchtime presenter on Friday. He is an assistant professor of Practice in the Agricultural Leadership, Educations, and Communications Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also a 48-year veteran of public media, most of which have been spent in the production and management of documentaries about the culture, history, and environment of Nebraska and the Great Plains.

Concurrent Session Speakers

Dave Baasch – Director of Biological and Ecological Services, Platte River Recovery Implementation Program

Dave is in charge of directing adaptive management research on threatened and endangered species, including the iconic Whooping Crane, along the central Platte River in Nebraska. He received a doctorate degree in natural resource sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008

Pamela Bergmann – Rowe Sanctuary Volunteer and Stewardship Board Member

In the early 1980s, Pamela retired as the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Regional Environmental Officer for Alaska. An avid outdoorsperson, photographer, and international traveler, she loves to share her passion for wildlife and nature. Pamela serves on the stewardship board for the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary and has been migrating to Nebraska for the past eight years during crane season to volunteer as a sanctuary guide.

Katherine (Katie) Blake - Bird-friendly Communities ManagerAudubon Connecticut

Katie manages Audubon’s Urban Oases, Schoolyard Habitat, and Plants for Birds Programs. She works with numerous and diverse partners in creating bird-friendly communities in Connecticut schools, parks and yards.  She coordinates collaborative urban habitat restoration projects in New Haven as the lead partner for the New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership.

Mary Bomberger Brown – School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Andy Caven – Lead Biologist, Crane Trust

One of Andy’s responsibilities is conducting aerial crane surveys along the Platte River. Andy received his master’s degrees from the University of Georgia and Washington State University, and has a background in long-term research and natural history. 

James Dwyer – Certified Wildlife Biologist at EDM International, Inc.

James has over 10 years of experience using decision-relevant science and wildlife research to inform conservation and management. His projects range from collision mitigation research to using drones to create 3D models of rock climbing cliffs to manage climber-raptor conflicts.

Jonathan Hayes – Vice President and Executive Director Audubon New Mexico

Prior to joining Audubon, Jonathan served with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative where he was responsible for guiding multi-organizational development and implementation of applied research projects. Additionally, he has served with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, working at a programmatic level to implement regional conservation efforts aimed at restoring declining grassland bird populations. Jon holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado and a Master’s of Science in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Montana.

Sandra Knoll and Erv Nichols – Rowe Sanctuary Volunteers and nomadic naturalists specializing in cranes

Erv and Sandra travel extensively as lecturers and volunteers sharing their skills as naturalists, photographers, and interpretive guides in a wide variety of national parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuges, and Audubon centers. Whether teaching from a viewing deck or lecture hall, or leading bird walks, night hikes, or canoe excursions, their passion connects people with our nation’s special landscapes and wildlife.

Anne Lacy – Crane Research Coordinator, International Crane Founation

Anne is a research associate in the field ecology department at the ICF, working on an ongoing long-term study of sandhill cranes. In 2009, she began working with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, of which ICF is an active member, to study the ecology of the newly reintroduced Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin.

Chester A. McConnell – President of Friends of the Wild Whoopers

Chester spent most of his professional career of 50 years evaluating land use and stream projects, working for wetland protection, conducting wildlife research, and managing wildlife habitats. Since retiring, he has focused his time on Whooping Cranes, wetland protection and stream protection.

Andrew Pierson – Director of Conservation, Audubon Nebraska

Andrew is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of the conservation program at Audubon Nebraska. He has a strong background with at-risk wildlife through past employment with the U.S. Forest Service, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Jason “the Birdnerd” St. Sauver – Director of Education and Outreach, Audubon Nebraska

Jason has worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and was the education manager and interim center director at the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, TX, where he worked with people of all ages to share his love of nature. He has spent over ten years educating youth on a variety of subjects from theater to wetland ecology, immersing students into the world of science, conservation, and environmental education with Audubon.

Cody Wagner – Habitat Manager, Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary

Cody is responsible for maintaining the habitat programs on Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary. He has previous experience from the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge system, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Jesse Walls – National Audubon Policy Team

Rich Walters – Director of Stewardship, The Nature Conservancy

Rich coordinates the Platte Valley and West Central Weed Management Areas riparian invasive species work. He received his B.S and M.S. from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in wildlife biology.

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