Friday, February 22, 2013

Crane Trust Speaker and Event Series Kicks Off March 2 with Nationally Acclaimed Artist

February 21, 2013

Jeff Oates, Crane Trust / 402-469-3436 (cell)
Cynthia Duff / Artist, Painter, Sculptor / 970-985-0812 (cell)

Crane Trust Speaker and Event Series Kicks Off March 2 with Nationally Acclaimed Artist

Wood River, Neb–The Crane Trust’s Wild About Nebraska speaker and event series gets underway Saturday, March 2, with an inspired afternoon with nationally acclaimed artist Cynthia Duff. The live painting, book signing and observation session will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, giving visitors a rare opportunity to ask questions and interact with the artist as she gives form to her latest creation.

The month-long Wild About Nebraska speaker and event series is a public celebration of Nebraska’s Great Sandhill Crane Migration, says Crane Trust spokesman Jeff Oates, as more than 500,000 sandhill cranes descend on a narrow stretch of the Platte River in south central Nebraska every spring, before continuing on to their breeding grounds in the north. 

“We’re particularly excited this year to host what’s shaping up to be our greatest variety of outstanding speakers and presentations yet for the month-long event,” says Oates. “When people talk about the ‘arts and sciences’, they’ll find them both in full bloom this March at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center.”

With something planned for every weekend in March, this year’s event will feature photographers like renowned Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes and Nebraska’s own Rick Rasmussen and Jorn Olsen; author and outdoor writer Jeff Kurrus; and raptor recovery expert Blake Hatfield. A special presentation by The Jane Goodall Institute’s videographer Bill Wallauer is also in the works.     

“On the science and research side, the Crane Trust is thrilled to host a truly world-class gathering of experts on North America’s cranes,” says Oates. “Many will be featured March 23-24, including Dr. Barry Hartup, International Crane Federation veterinarian who has worked with whooping cranes in the wild and in captivity for over a decade.” Dr. Wade Harrell, newly appointed Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey wildlife biologist Dr. Aaron Pearse, and the Crane Trust’s own Dr. Mary Harner and Greg Wright will also speak.    
Perennial favorite and renowned avian ecologist and author Dr. Paul Johnsgard will also be on-hand this year, as will Dr. George Happ, co-author of the Sandhill Crane Display Dictionary and Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.     
“This is a once-a-year opportunity for crane experts from around the world and the general public to get together to renew acquaintances, exchange ideas, and share their knowledge and passion for these magnificent birds,” said Oates. “For many of our speakers, this is also a chance for them to climb into a blind on the river and enjoy the migration themselves. As their schedules settle down, we’ll be posting updates and speaker times on our website at”
All events and presentations are open to the public and will be held at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center near Wood River in south central Nebraska, I-80 Alda Exit 305. Guided crane tours for the public can also be reserved online at or by calling (308) 382-1820.  

Established in 1978, the Crane Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and maintenance of critical habitat for cranes and other migratory birds along the Platte River through science, habitat management, community outreach, and education.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Digital photos of Cynthia Duff and her artwork are available. Please contact Jeff Oates or Karen Krull Robart.

Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center / 9325 S Alda Road / Wood River, NE 68883

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