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Ridges Sanctuary plays host to Crane Symposium

The rebound of the state’s sandhill crane population will be among the topics you can explore at this year’s edition of The Ridges Sanctuary Crane Symposium on April 12th,13th, and 14th. After the success of its first event, the symposium is being expanded to a third day, where kids can participate in a storytime and birding hike on April 14th. For those visitors, sandhill cranes have almost been populous in the area, with 60,000 to 70,000 calling the state home. The population has bounced back so strongly that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources inquired about holding a sandhill crane hunting season. According to a University of Wisconsin and International Crane Foundation study, only one in five Wisconsinites support a hunt, and more than half oppose it. The Ridge Sanctuary Director of Research Tony Kiszonas says that even though the sandhill crane population rebound story is remarkable, all of the progress can be lost in an instant.

The Ridges Sanctuary Crane Symposium will also feature a keynote presentation by Professor Stanley Temple on April 12th, a crane count breakfast, hikes, and an artist talk on April 13th. Additional details about the free events can be found below:



April 12, 6:00-7:30 pm: Keynote Presentation by Professor Stanley Temple: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Then and Now: Is it Still Working? Bird conservation measures from The Migratory Bird Treaty have been responsible for the spectacular recovery of many species, like the Sandhill Crane. Threats to migratory birds today, however, challenge its effectiveness. Loss and degradation of habitat, collisions with human-made structures, predation by cats, pesticide poisoning, and oil spills cause the death of migratory birds each year. Professor Stanley Temple will present the first century of migratory bird protection and speculate about the future. Presented via Zoom. Free Event. Pre-registration is required at


April 13, 5:30-7:30 am, Midwest Crane Count: Sponsored by the International Crane Foundation, the annual Midwest Crane Count draws over 2,000 volunteers who travel to local wetlands and favorite birding locations to monitor the return of Sandhill and Whooping Cranes to their northern breeding grounds. A free 

Crane Count Breakfast Social for counters to share sightings and connect with other participants will follow from 8:00-9:00 am at the Cook-Albert Fuller Nature Center. Free Event. To participate, contact Tony Kiszonas,


April 13 & 14, 10:00–11:45 am, Crane Nest Site Hikes: Naturalists Jane Whitney and Julie Knox will lead hikes to potential crane nesting sites and discuss what makes the wetlands of Door County the perfect crane nesting habitat. Fee: Public $15, Member $12, 16 & under $5. Pre-registration is required at


April 13, 1:30-2:30 pm, Artist Talk with Len Villano: Internationally published photographer Len Villano will reflect on his journey photographing nature in Door County, emphasizing birds and Sandhill Cranes. Selected works will be on display during the symposium. Free Event. Pre-registration is required at


April 14, 9:00-10:00 am, Chick Chats Story Hour: Budding birders and naturalists will hear stories on how Sandhill Cranes make the long journey north each spring. At the end of the story, a fun nature craft will be offered to take home or use on the Kids Birding 101 Hike. Suitable for families with young children. Free Event.


April 14, 10:00-11:30 am, Kids Birding 101 Hike: This event offers families the chance to go birding together and learn the basic skills of birdwatching and how to identify common birds of Door County. The event starts with an introduction at the Nature Center and continues down the Hidden Brook Boardwalk to spot birds. Free Event.


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