Speakers Line-up Includes:
Session: Bringing Back the Trumpeter Swan – A Conservation Success Story
Presenter: Patricia Manthey – Conservation biologist for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (retired)
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Wisconsin’s Trumpeter swan recovery program, with the goal of restoring a breeding and migratory population, spanned two and a half decades. This effort involved collecting eggs from remote areas in Alaska, hatching them in captivity, using adult decoys to teach them life’s basics and eventually releasing young cygnets into the wild. Trumpeter swan nests are now found in 24 Wisconsin counties.
Patricia Manthey was an avian ecologist and conservation biologist for the Wisconsin DNR’s Bureau of Endangered Resources for over 20 years, retiring in 2014. In addition to being field coordinator for the Trumpeter swan recovery program, Patricia worked on the Peregrine falcon reintroduction program, and Bald eagle and Osprey nesting surveys. As Patricia puts it, she was lucky enough to be part of some intense and successful species recoveries that involved a lot of time in airplanes, bug infested forests and marshes, dirt, mud, and bird excrement. But the outcome she says was joy!
Session: Flying Machines and Their Role in Wildlife Conservation
Co-presenters: Beverly Paulan – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources pilot and former crane handler for Operation Migration & Joe Duff – CEO, co-founder and pilot for Operation Migration
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Both public and private aviation plays a critical role in Wisconsin’s wildlife conservation programs such as the Whooping crane and Trumpeter swan reintroductions, tracking wolf packs and deer herds and conducting bird surveys.
Wisconsin DNR pilots also provide eyes in the sky for law enforcement and safety purposes such as illegal hunting, forest fires, and flooding.
Beverly Paulan has a degree in Biology and is a lead pilot for the Wisconsin DNR’s Bureau of Forestry Protection. Before joining DNR, she was a flight instructor, charter pilot, and the original “mamma crane” with Operation Migration, working with Whooping cranes from hatching through migration. Beverly says she has loved flying ever since she can remember and combined with her passion for the environment, outdoors, and wildlife, she has found the perfect calling.
Joe Duff was born in rural Ontario, Canada, where he developed an early appreciation for nature and a love for flying. This led to a keen interest in the science of migration and use of ultralight aircraft to lead various bird species to winter migration destinations.
His path to becoming co-founder and CEO of Operation Migration included leading Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia, a feat captured in the making of the Columbia Pictures movie, Fly Away Home.
Joe also led Sandhill cranes in flights around southern Ontario and ultimately developed the protocol for establishing an eastern migratory flock of Whooping cranes that summer in Wisconsin and winter in Florida.
With his early flight experience and 15 years of leading Whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida, Joe has accumulated more hours in flight alongside more species of birds than any other human. His personal aircraft is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and a second retired aircraft is on display at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in Florida.
Session: Raptor Rehabilitation Up Close and Personal
Presenter: Patricia Fisher – The Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
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.
Session: Transition Year for Whooping Crane Reintroduction Program
Presenter: Joe Duff – CEO, co-founder and pilot for Operation Migration
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Whooping crane class of 2015 was the last one to graduate from the ultralight-led migrations program that began in 2001. In January, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended ending ultralight led migration and other methods that involve what they believe to be too much human interaction which could be a factor in lack of reproductive success. While the ultralight program was extremely successful in establishing a new eastern migratory flock, it has not fared well as a self-sustaining population. In an attempt to improve reproductive success, some of the young cranes hatched in captive breeding flocks will be raised by their parents until late summer when they will be flown to Wisconsin and placed with adults that will hopefully continue rearing them and lead them on migration.
Joe Duff will review the transition from planes and cranes to the new protocol that involves adoption of the new cranes by the former ultralight migration students.