Operation Migration (OM) Team 2006

Meet the team that shows captive-bred whooping crane chicks where to migrate by leading the way in ultralight airplanes!

Joe Duff, Canadian Co-founder of Operation Migration (OM). Joe is Team Leader, CEO and senior pilot of O.M, the WCEP partner that leads the ultralight migration. His daughter Alex is 7 years old. Joe was a well-known photographer before he became an ultralight pilot and leader in saving endangered species.

Hear Joe

Richard van Heuvelen, Operation Migration (OM) pilot. Richard led the ground crew for the 2001 migration and filled in as back-up pilot. Since 2002 he's been a team pilot. A Canadian, he has four daughters: Megan, Sara, Katie and Jessie. Richard is also a master sculptor. Joe Duff says of Richard: "If anything is broken he can fix it and if it doesn't exist he can create it."

Brooke Pennypacker, Operation Migration pilot since 2002. Brooke has a great sense of humor and a son named Devin. Brooke once built a raft to drift down the Mississippi while reading Huckleberry Finn. He is also a skilled diver and worked on the oil rigs off the coast of Scotland.

Video clip of Brooke's Greeting to You

Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration pilot since 2005. Chris is an experienced trike instructor and has a natural way with birds. He runs storm watch tours on the side so he is the team's weather consultant. Read about his first flight with the cranes when he became an Operation Migration pilot in 2005.

Bev Paulan is the new Supervisor of Field Operations. She is from Antioch, IL. Bev is also a pilot. She had her own charter plane service for 15 years. Bev worked as a teacher at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Hear Bev tell the hardest part of wearing the costume. Audio clips courtesy Mark Chenoweth of Whooper Happenings.

Laurie Lin is a new intern with Operation Migration. She grew up in Taiwan, where she earned a degree in business. Next she worked for the Calgary Zoo in Canada for several years. This year she is studying whooping cranes. Then she will return to her studies in International Conservation.

Charlie Shafer, former OM Intern, now works full time at Patuxent WRC where the chicks hatch. He has a degree in biology and helps as a crane handler in summer at Necedah. Charlie will be part of the ground crew during the migration.

Marie Brady is a new intern with Operation Migration. She grew up in Lothian, MD and has a BS Degree in biology. She has done bird research at the center in Maryland where the crane chicks are hatched. Marie is excited about migrating with the cranes and planes!


Canadians Don and Paula Lounsbury volunteer as Top-cover pilots for Operation Migration. Their dog comes along too! These pilots fly ahead in a faster plane. Then they circle 1,000 feet above the ultralights until the pilots and birds reach the new stopover site. They keep in touch with air traffic control AND all the ultralight pilots during each leg of the flight.

Click here to meet other key experts helping with the migration.






Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).