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Join us for the 2017 Whooping Crane Festival in Princeton, Wisconsin

September 7 - 10 - in and around beautiful Princeton, Wisconsin


 Field trips - Workshop - Speaker sessions - Silent auction - Children's Entertainer, David Stokes - Trivia contest -  Food & Fun

Saturday, September 9th all day festival includes activites for all ages: Kids can build a bird house, have their face painted and learn about frogs, snakes, and other critters with the ever popular David Stokes! Spend time in the artisan and vendor area to get a jump on holiday shopping! Enjoy a pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, or lunch at one of the food vendors. Take in one or all of the speaker sessions... or NEW this year - a nature photography workshop and field trip! 

Schedule of events includes:

NEW EVENT! Thursday, Sept., 7th - Paint a Sign Night: Create your one of a kind sign under the direction of our instructor Nichole! She will do all the prep work and bring wood, stencils, paints, brushes, hammers and nails. All we need to bring is the FUN!

This event will be a great social ice-breaker and a chance to reconnect with friends. Held at the VFW Lodge in Princeton, means the bar will be open during our event. Registration is $40/person, which covers all materials to create your one-of-a-kind sign, which you can take home. Class is limited to 30 people. Registration: $40



Friday, September 8 Daytime: Field trip to Marsh Haven Nature Center in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Meet at the triangle parking lot across from the Princeton Library for bus transportation to/from Marsh Haven. Your tour will include a presentation about Birds, Bees and Your Yard followed by lunch and a boardwalk stroll. Bus returns to Princeton at 2pm.

The bus leaves Princeton at 9am sharp from the Triangle Parking lot across from the Princeton Library. (see map page)

Registration: $20

Friday, September 8 Evening: Our festival kick-off dinner gets underway at 6pm at the American Legion in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Our dinner buffet menu will include roast chicken, beef tips, a variety of sides, salads and rolls. After dinner, Operation Migration's Volunteer of the Year will be awarded and OM CEO Joe Duff will give an informative and entertaining presentation.

Cash bar available / Silent Auction / Cocktails at 6pm. Dinner begins at 7pm. 

Dress - Casual

Registration:  $25 


Saturday, September 9th features the all day festival at the Princeton School!

Beginning at 8am, enjoy the pancake breakfast put on by the students of Princeton School!


 Visit the popular marketplace!  Educational Displays  Trivia Night Fun includes pizza/pasta/salad
and a LOT of laughs!

Stroll through the Vendor's and Artisan's area to get a jump on your holiday shopping. See one-of-a-kind items and stop by the educational displays - all while listening to the soothing sounds of Cheryl Murphy and her harp.

CLICK to access our Speakers' line-up!

 Kids can build a bird house or have their face painted. Children's edu-tainer David Stokes will present two fun and interactive shows for everyone. Times: 10 am and 1pm. 


So who is David Stokes?

He is that guy with the beard and bald head who happens to be a Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Teacher of the Year and an “Aldo Leopold” award winner. The Northshore United Educators (WEAC) honored David for educational excellence.

David has received the Master Front-line Interpreter award from the National Association for Interpretation. He sings and engages audiences of all ages in nature study.

Using live creatures and animal artifacts, songs and short stories, David gets down with his audiences, and makes learning fun.



Adults - be sure to visit the artisan and vendor area to get a jump on holiday shopping! Enjoy lunch at one of the food vendors, take in one or all of the speaker sessions. 

Be on the lookout for "Hope" - a larger than life Whooping Crane who travels around the United States as an ambassador for her species. Hope was created by The Jim Henson Creature Shop of New York City and is the mascot for the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisonsin.




Activities for everyone!





 Whooping cranes! (of course)  Facepainting for the kids!  Field Trips




Digital Photography Workshop - Mystified by all those settings on your camera? Not sure what aperature means? ISO what?  This workshop is for you! 


This mini-workshop is a nature photography primer. The 2-hour Saturday session will be in a classroom setting where David will present a slide show program detailing photographic technique, and he will demystify camera settings and discuss equipment options.

Saturday Workshop times: 10:30 - 11:30am and 12:30 - 1:30pm
Sunday Field Trip: 8:00am - 11:00am

On Sunday, we will go into the field for 2-3 hours where you will learn how to make exposure decisions, learn about light and composition, and photograph the landscape and flora.

Hopefully, we will also find some birds and other wildlife to photograph in White River Marsh. This workshop is perfect for beginners and intermediate shooters. Be sure to bring your camera with fully charged battery and lenses from wide angle to telephoto, if you have them. The camera manual will also be helpful.

Submit your best shot from Sunday's Field Trip via email: cranefestival@operationmigration.org from Sunday's field trip and you could win a $100 gift card for Amazon.com!

Registration: $25 for this 5 hour workshop. SPACE IS LIMITED - Be sure to register early!

About your instructor - Dave Heritsch is in his fortieth year of photographic exploration, and much of this last decade has been spent teaching all he has learned to people new to the art, or perhaps experienced with film cameras, yet bewildered by the complexities of digital photography. 

Dave has a diverse background in sports and commercial photography, has photographed weddings and portraits, and for many years assisted Sports Illustrated photographers. His true love is nature photography and birds are his favorite subject, especially on the wing.

You can check out David's work at www.pikeriverstudio.com


 Saturday, September 9, 6pm:  Pizza, Pasta and Trivia party at the VFW Lodge in Princeton. Cash bar available.

We'll host our 3rd annual Crane Trivia challenge to see if Team Chix's Chicks can hold onto the Trivia title! 

Last year Team Chix's Chicks beat out team OMG! Can they hold the title for a second year? Or will team OMG take back the title?  There is no doubt this year will see a fierce competition!

 Registration: $15 Includes dinner


 Sunday, September 10, 8am: 

Participants in the photography workshop will join instructor David Heritsch in the field for 2-3 hours to apply everything they learned in the classroom on Saturday. Submit your best photo via email: cranefestival@operationmigration.org for the chance to win a $100 gift card from Amazon.com!

Please note: your $25 registration includes this field trip!

SPACE IS LIMITED. Register above


Sunday, September 10 at 11am: Caestecker Library, 518 Hill St., Green Lake, Wisconsin. Associate Professor Misty McPhee is our featured guest speaker at 11am. Misty has been the lead researcher at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge for the past 2 years and will share her initial findings in determining the post-hatch/pre-fledge whooping crane chick mortality issue. 


  Useful Links

Gettin' around (map page)

Registration Page

Accommodations in the area 

Princeton, WI Chamber of Commerce

White River Marsh State Wildlife Area Map





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