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Speakers Schedule

Speakers Line-up Includes


Session:  "By Curved Beak & Claw"

Presenter: Eric Ratering – Dr. Ratering, general dentist in Green Lake, Wisconsin

Time:  9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Eric Ratering is a Master Falconer from the Green Lake area.  He has hunted rabbits and squirrels with a Red Tailed Hawk and Goshawks for over forty years.  Currently Eric flies his five year old captive bred Gyrfalcon, Chief Highknocker, at prairie grouse in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.  He is a Past President of the Wisconsin Falconer's Association and was a founding officer of the Wisconsin Peregrine Society which has continued in another form to restore Peregrine Falcons to the Great Lakes region. 

Dr. Ratering, a general dentist in Green Lake, also enjoys fishing, Indian archeology and visiting his children all over the country.  Eric lives with his wife, Kathleen, at Mitchell's Glen. 


Session:  Kirtland's Warbler Conservation

Presenter:  Daryl Christensen

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  

From 2013 to 2015, Daryl monitored the nesting of the endangered Kirtland's Warbler in Wisconsin. He will be taking us on a seasonal journey via PowerPoint, as he observed migration, nesting, hatching, feeding, fledging and banding of this unique species - as well as an update on their current breeding status. 

Daryl Christensen is a life-long birder and naturalist. He has logged thousands of volunteer hours on various projects in Wisconsin including monitoring endangered terns, Kirtland’s Warblers and many other species for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisconsin DNR and other public and private agencies. He is a past recipient of The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology’s Bronze Passenger Pigeon Award as well as the recipient of the State of Wisconsin Outdoor Responsibility Award. He is a former vice-president of WSO and is currently president of the MuirLand Bird Club in Montello.


Session: Raptor Rehabilitation Up Close and Personal 

PresenterPatricia Fisher – The Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center

Time:  2 p.m. – 3 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 and without her caring volunteers, The Feather, and the birds they care for, would never make it.



Session: Whooping Cranes - Navigating Roadblocks to Success

Presenter:  Associate Prof. Misty McPhee, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Environmental Studies Program and Department of Biology

Date/Time: Sunday, Sept., 10. 11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.

LOCATION: Caestecker Library, 518 Hill St., 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.




 NEW this Year - Nature Photography WORKSHOP!
Registration is required


Love taking photos but not sure about your camera settings? We are excited to offer this nature photography workshop for festival attendees!

For just $25 you will receive 5 hours of instruction from professional photographer David Heritsch: 2 hours on Saturday (1 in the morning and 1 after lunch) will be spent in the classroom where David will present a slide show program detailing photographic technique, and he will demystify camera settings and discuss equipment options.

On Sunday, participants will head out to beautiful White River Marsh for 2-3 hours with your instructor to learn how to apply your new skills!

Email your best photo of the day to: cranefestival@operationmigration.org and the festival committee will select the winning photo. The photographer of the selected photo will receive a $100 gift card from Amazon.com.


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



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