Crane Festival

2020 Crane Festival Speakers

Sandhill Cranes. Photo: Photo: Diane Schmidt / Audubon Photography Awards
Sandhill Cranes. Photo: Photo: Diane Schmidt / Audubon Photography Awards

George Archibald, Ph.D.

Dr. Archibald established the International Crane Foundation in 1973 with little more than youthful enthusiasm and exceptional talent. Under his leadership, the International Crane Foundation grew into a highly respected organization, successfully promoting crane and habitat conservation around the world. He leverages the charisma of cranes to unite people from diverse cultures and backgrounds to work together to solve problems facing our fragile planet. He has recruited, inspired, and mentored countless people in the name of cranes. By focusing on the magic of cranes, people eagerly engage in the protection and restoration of entire ecosystems.


*He will be the evening speaker on Saturday, March 21*​

Dr. Drew Lanham

Dr. J. Drew Lanham is a professor of wildlife at Clemson University, where he holds an endowed chair as an Alumni Distinguished Professor and was named an Alumni Master Teacher in 2012. His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural resources conservation. A South Carolina native, Lanham is active on a number of conservation boards, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, American Birding Association, and he is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education. He was most recently named a 2016 Brandwein Fellow for his work in environmental education, and he has also been a fellow of Toyota TogetherGreen and the Clemson University Institute for Parks. Lanham is also an author and award-nominated poet. His first solo work, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, was published in 2016. Lanham received his B.A. and M.S. in zoology and his Ph.D. in forest resources from Clemson.


*He will be the lunchtime speaker on Saturday, March 21*​

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 Rowe Sanctuary and has been migrating to Nebraska for the past eight years during crane season to volunteer as a sanctuary guide.


*She speaks from 1:30 - 2:00 pm on Saturday*​

Andy Caven – Director of Conservation Research, Crane Trust

Andy’s work in the Central Platte River Valley has focused on understanding the response of ecosystems to managed and natural disturbances as well as the habitat ecology and natural history of species of conservation concern. He has authored scientific articles regarding a wide range of species including the Regal Fritillary, Sandhill Crane, Whooping Crane, Plains Bison, and native herpetofauna. Previous to coming to the CPRV, Andy worked in the western and southeastern United States conducting ecological research and advocating for conservation. He has worked for the U.S. National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program as well as the National Science Foundation’s Long-term Ecological Research Program.


*He speaks from 1:30 - 2:00 pm on Saturday*​

Amy Erickson – Avian Biologist, Audubon New Mexico

Amy’s work focuses on Southwestern Willow Flycatcher conservation and USDA Farm Bill programs. Amy has over five years of experience working with bird conservation and land owner-based projects.


*She speaks from 3:30 - 4:00 pm on Saturday*​

Scott Griebling – Headwaters Corporation

Scott is a senior water resources engineer at Headwaters Corporation with experience in integrated hydrologic modeling, groundwater modeling, data analysis, GIS, and hydrologic systems monitoring. Much of his recent work focuses on the hydrologic connection between surface water and groundwater in riparian corridors.


*He speaks from 4:30 - 5:00 pm on Saturday*

Mary Harner – Communications and Biology Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Mary studies how rivers interact with landscapes over time, and she works to exchange knowledge about connections between human and natural systems.


*She speaks from 4:30 - 5:00 pm on Saturday*

Anne Lacy – Crane Research Coordinator, International Crane Foundation

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.


*She speaks from 2:00 - 2:30 pm on Saturday*

Sandra Noll and Erv Nichols – Rowe Sanctuary Volunteers

Sandra and Erv have traveled extensively sharing their skills as naturalists, lecturers, photographers, and interpretive guides in a wide variety of refuges, national parks, and Audubon Centers. Sandra has a special interest in Sandhill Cranes and has been a featured speaker and guide at Crane Festivals in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska. They have recently been featured in a video, “Migrating with the Sandhill Cranes,” by Mother Nature Network:

Whether from a viewing deck or lecture hall, leading bird walks or kayak excursions, their passion connects people with our nation’s special landscapes and wildlife.


*They will speak from 2:30 - 3:00 pm on Saturday*​

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 Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and U.S. Forest Service.


*He speaks from 2:00 - 2:30 pm on Saturday*​

Larkin Powell – Professor of Conservation Biology and Animal Ecology, University Of Nebraska-Lincoln

Larkin teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on wildlife management and research, and his research program focuses on landscape dynamics, animal demography and movements, and decisions made by private landowners in the Great Plains and throughout the world. He also serves as the Director of the Great Plains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit.


*He speaks from 4:00 - 4:30 pm on Saturday* ​

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

Jason 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. Jason has been working on Audubon’s Plants for Birds Initiative for Audubon Nebraska with communities around Lincoln, Nebraska, for the past few years. He 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 speaks from 3:30 - 4:00 pm on Saturday*​

Paul Tashjian – Director of Freshwater Conservation, Audubon New Mexico

Paul has over 28 years of experience working with water issues and ecologic restoration in New Mexico. Paul joined Audubon in March of 2018 to establish a comprehensive water and restoration strategy for the Rio Grande in New Mexico. At Audubon, Paul developed water market strategies for the Rio Grandel. He has expanded Audubon’s role in the Rio Grande by building capacity through federal and state grants, representation on federal water teams, and coordination with many partners from irrigation districts to other non-profit environmental organizations.


*He speaks from 3:30 - 4:00 pm on Saturday*

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.


*He speaks from 2:30 - 3:00 pm on Saturday*

Chad Wisley – Interim Chief Scientist and Vice President of Conservation Science for the National Audubon Society

Chad leads a team of scientists conducting analyses in support of Audubon’s national initiatives on Climate, Coasts, Water, and Working Lands. Recently, Chad was a principal investigator on Audubon’s Survival By Degrees report, North American Grasslands and Birds report, Future of Birds in Our National Parks study, and Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Decline report. Chad’s research generally focuses on the impacts of climate and land-use change on birds and ecosystems. He commonly works with big data collected by volunteer scientists along with tools such as GIS, machine learning, and systematic spatial prioritization. He has a PhD from the University of Washington, an MS from the University of Wisconsin, and a BS from the University of Puget Sound.








2020 Field Trips
Crane Festival

2020 Field Trips

Field trips for the 50th Annual Crane Festival in Kearney, NE!

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Festival registration is now open!
Crane Festival

How to Register for the 50th Crane Festival

Audubon's Nebraska Crane Festival will take place March 20-21, 2020, bringing together hundreds of crane lovers from around the country to Kearney, Nebraska, to interact with a wide range of environmental speakers, take part in incredible birding trips, and, best of all, experience the world's largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes!

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