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September 29, 2001


Public Celebration for the Cranes!


One Crane Follows the Ultralight
Star Tribune 2001

About 700 people from near and far gathered at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project as migration time nears. The highlight was a flyover demonstration and a long-awaited glimpse of a whooping crane.

Today marked the first time in more than a century that Midwest citizens have watched wild whoopers in the sky, and the first time to see whoopers following an ultralight. A low layer of turbulent air prevented all but one of the whooping cranes from getting close to the ultralight during the demonstration flight, but this picture shows the exciting event. (Be sure to click on the photo to see it enlarged.)

Visitors were thrilled for a glimpse of this historic project, which has been carried out in near secrecy to shield the birds from human sights and sounds. The strict isolation protocol is designed to maintain the cranes' wildness so they have a better chance of surviving on their own. The limited number of people who work with these young whooping cranes carry crane vocalizers.They never speak within earshot of the cranes, and they always wear white crane costumes--even while flying the planes. Despite the secrecy, public support for the project has been tremendous. Today's celebration was for supporters and citizens to share the excitement. The target date is now October 15. Mark your calendars, but stay tuned for changes!

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Heather and Joe add the wing.

Joe Dons his costume.

The crowd waits for Joe's takeoff.
Star Tribune 2001


Try This! Journaling Questions
  • Why do you think people care so much about this project and saving the whooping crane?
  • What are your feelings and thoughts about the importance of this project?


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

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