Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

The Team Talks!
From the
OM Website: December 3, 2001

A few words from Joe, Dan, Deke and Heather on the final day of the first human-led migration of an endangered species:

Pilots Deke Clark, Joe Duff, Trainer Dan Sprague
Photo Courtesy Heather Ray

"The road to recovery has been long and arduous. We have conducted ten studies to develop the technique and and led Sandhill cranes along the same route in preparation; we have trained Whooping cranes for over 7 months and covered 1217 miles in 48-days. We have delivered seven healthy birds to the wintering site and maintained their tentative hold on wildness and although it seems like we have reached our destination, it is only just beginning. Before this new population can be considered self-sustaining we have many more miles to cover. We celebrate our successes one at a time."
Joe Duff

"There are no words to express the greatness of this team; those who have supported us; or these birds. Twenty-five breeding pairs migrating between Wisconsin and Florida and then the fat lady can sing!"
Dan Sprague

Deke Clark

Heather Ray, Operation Migration
Operation Migration

"During the past 4 weeks I have had the privilege of working alongside the best team possible; these selfless people who came together in the name of preserving and safeguarding the Whooping crane from possible extinction. Most of us have not had a day off since July; most have been away from their families for a very long time. We can now return to our loved ones - proud that we have succeeded in planting the seeds for what will grow into the first migratory flock of Whooping cranes in Eastern North America after a 100-year absence and satisfied in a job well done. Thank you teammates, friends, family, Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership members and OM supporters. Now, when do next year's chicks hatch?"
Heather Ray

Thanks and appreciation goes out to everyone that visited this website and traveled along with us. Your encouraging emails and guest book entries helped more than you will ever know. And our sincere appreciation goes out to all of the donors who literally helped get these birds to Florida. When we began, we were short of our budget goal of $365,000.00 by just over $17,000.00. Thanks to your generosity, we not only met this goal but exceeded it by a further $10,000.00, which will help with next year's flight.

We hope you will continue to drop by to check out additional photos and for updates throughout the winter to see how the cranes are doing in their winter home and to follow them north when they initiate the return migration in the spring.

Onward & UPward,
The OM Team


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

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