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Speakers Schedule

Speakers Line-up Includes

Friday evening kick-off dinner, keynote speaker: Associate Prof. Misty McPhee, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Environmental Studies Program and Department of Biology


Date/Time: Friday, Sept., 7th. 7:30 pm 

LOCATION: American Legion Post 306,   Green Lake, WI

Whooping cranes are one of the most iconic species in North America. They are also one of the most critically endangered. In 2001, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership began reintroducing cranes into central Wisconsin with the goal of establishing an eastern migratory population. Like any endangered species recovery program, this one has experienced outstanding successes as well as hitting frustrating roadblocks. Misty's presentation will describe the program as a whole and provide details and findings of some of the research being carried out, which is designed to address our biggest obstacle: low reproductive success in cranes reintroduced into central Wisconsin.

Dr. McPhee is an Associate Professor of environmental science and wildlife behavior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Misty received her degree from the University of Michigan and received the award for top dissertation at the university. Afterward, she was a research biologist with University of Missouri St. Louis working in the Galapagos Islands on behavior of the Galapagos mockingbird and then a Research Associate at Cornell University leading field research on Syrian hamsters in southern Turkey. Misty joined UWO's faculty in 2009. Her primary interests revolve around the effects of captivity on behavior and how those effects alter the outcomes of reintroduction programs using captive-reared endangered wildlife. She is currently a member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership and collaborates with many member organizations/institutions on research designed to increase the success of the whooping crane reintroduction program in Wisconsin.



 Saturday's FREE Speaker Sessions:


Session:  Flying is for the Birds - Using Aircraft to Keep up with Endangered Species

Presenter: Beverly Paulan

Time9 am – 10 am   

Bev has been flying commercially for over 25 years. Included in that career was work as a pilot for Wisconsin DNR. Essentially, Bev was able to combine a lifelong love of wildlife and her passion for flying and turned it into her dream job. Bev has recently retired from the DNR but continues to fly her personal aircraft.



SessionThose Unusual and Specialized wetland birds and their habitats

Presenter: Rob Zimmer 

Time: 11 am to noon 

Rob Zimmer is an award-winning nature and garden author, columnist, photographer and radio host who has written for many daily newspapers throughout Wisconsin such as the Appleton Post-Crescent, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Oshkosh Northwestern, Sheboygan Press, Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, Fond du Lac Reporter, Stevens Point Journal, Wausau Daily Herald, Marshfield News-Herald and Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Shawano Leader and Wisconsin State Farmer.

He is also the author of the books 'Voices of the Wind: Four Seasons in Wild Wisconsin,' ‘Wild Seasons: The Beauty of Native Wildflowers,’ ‘Shadows and Light: Showcasing a Hosta Love Affair’,’ Reflecting: Nature in Black and White,’ ‘Don’t Forget Where You Belong’, ‘Niagara,’ ‘Horicon,’ ‘Wild Orchid,’ and several children’s books. 

Outdoors with Rob Zimmer can be heard on WHBY.  

His features and photographs have also appeared in a number of magazines, including Wisconsin Gardening, Wisconsin Sportsman, Michigan Out-of-Doors, Wisconsin Natural Resources, Bird Watcher's Digest, Birders World, Wildlife Conservation, Country Journal, Silent Sports and Camping Today.


Session: Raptor Rehabilitation Up Close and Personal 

PresenterPatricia FisherThe Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center 

Time1 pm – 2 pm

Patricia Fisher has been mending injured raptors and other critters for 30 years. The Feather rehab center in New London, Wisconsin, not only occupies Patricia’s entire back yard, but in the winter months, she also lovingly shares her house and garage with recuperating birds and some that can’t be released back into the wild.  Patricia says all it took to inspire her to get involved in rehabilitation was a local news story she wrote about a rehab center and seeing a red tailed hawk that had been injured.  Education is Patricia’s priority and she makes learning a personal experience by including birds on the glove in her presentations.  

Patricia confesses to having found a species that she connects with in particular, those long legged grey beauties of Wisconsin’s marshes, the Sandhill cranes. She also says this is the most challenging species to rehabilitate and without her caring volunteers, The Feather, and the birds they care for, would never make it.



Session: Hope Takes Wing

Presenter: Joe Duff, CEO, Operation Migration

Time: 2 pm - 3 pm 

Before Joe Duff became involved in conservation, he was a commercial photographer. He uses that talent to illustrate his 20+ years of flying with birds and plots the history of the Whooping Cranes’ slow recovery from the brink of extinction. Lead pilot and co-founder of Operation Migration, Joe accumulated more hours in flight alongside more species of birds than any other person. 

Joe joined Bill Lishman in 1993 and helped him conduct the first human-led bird migration. They used two ultralight aircraft to lead 18 Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia. The success of that initial study led to the founding of Operation Migration the following year and the making of “Fly Away Home” in 1995. 

Their migration studies with non-endangered Sandhill cranes helped set the protocol for the reintroduction of Whooping cranes into the eastern flyway. Operation Migration is a founding member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), which is a consortium of nine Federal, State and private agencies that manages the Eastern Migratory Population.  

Joe headed the team of pilots who annually led a new generation of Whooping Cranes on their 1200+ mile migration from Wisconsin to Florida. The image of an ancient species following a modern aircraft generated worldwide attention and was featured on programs like National Geographic, ABC News 20/20, CBS News 60 Minutes and others. It has been the subject of several books. One of their aircraft is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, another hangs in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a third is scheduled for display in the Museum of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 

There are now over one hundred Whooping cranes migrating in the eastern flyway, the first since the last nest was reported in Wisconsin in 1878. Although they are no longer flying with the birds, Joe and Operation Migration continue to work with Whooping cranes to ensure that this population becomes self-sustaining. 




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