Two of Wisconsin’s leading conservation organizations, based in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation, have come together to fledge the first annual Great Midwest Crane Fest—Celebrating Community and Conservation, set for November 10-12 in Baraboo.
The festival will be held concurrently at both sites, with shuttle services between the two locations. It will include crane viewing, facility tours, seminars, lectures, food, film, art displays and the spectacle of Sandhill Cranes staging by the thousands throughout the area in preparation for their annual migration.
The festival will lift off Thursday evening, November 10, with a crane-viewing tour led by Leopold Foundation Senior Fellow and world-renowned ornithologist Dr. Stan Temple. Visitors will be treated to the spectacle of thousands of raucous cranes staging on the Wisconsin River very near the world-famous Shack and farm of Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac.
Friday and Saturday, November 11-12, the festival will feature lectures, workshops, documentary film screenings at a local theater, food, crane art and tours of each organization’s core attractions.
The International Crane Foundation will provide guided Cranes of the World tours through its recently renovated grounds, where visitors can view all 15 species of cranes living in re-created environs from around the world, including its rarest, the Whooping Crane.
At the Aldo Leopold Foundation, visitors will enjoy hiking trails through restored prairie and savanna landscapes, crane congregation viewing from blinds in nearby fields and along the Wisconsin River, and guided tours of the Leopold Shack and farm, now a National Historic Landmark.
For the schedule of events, ticket prices and to register, view the festival website. Limited parking will be available at the International Crane Foundation on Shady Lane Road and the Aldo Leopold Foundation on Levee Road. In addition, overflow parking will be available at the nearby Ho-Chunk Gamin, and free shuttles will circulate between parking and both locations throughout the festival.
To prepare for the festival, the International Crane Foundation’s President and CEO Rich Beilfuss and the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Executive Director Buddy Huffaker are teaming up for a live webinar on October 20 at 11 a.m. Central Time. Register for the webinar here.
Rich and Buddy will share stories about the partnership between the organizations, the inaugural Great Midwest Crane Fest and the fall Sandhill Crane Migration through southern Wisconsin.