Glen Smart is a former supervisory biologist with the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD. He and the then Assistant Director of the Center, Dr. Ray Erickson boarded a plane bound for northern Canada on May 31, 1967.
They weren’t on a sightseeing mission, though I’m certain they appreciated the vast expanses of the area’s boreal forest. Theirs was a journey, which would pave the way for Whooping crane recovery.
The two men left Washington that day forty-six years ago to collect Whooping crane eggs from nests located at Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park. The six eggs they collected became the foundation for the captive breeding population located at Patuxent.
Obviously, Glen Smart has seen wild Whooping cranes before, but last week he was treated to witnessing some of the fruits of his labor forty-six years ago.
Most readers are aware that the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership created a public sighting submission form to collect information on the whereabouts of EMP Whooping cranes. Each of these reports is automatically distributed to various members and teams within WCEP.
Last week we received a report about a pair of Whooping cranes in Union County, Illinois. I read the details of the submitted report, which stated: ‘The pair was preening and feeding. They have been here 3 or 4 weeks and go to NW shallow side of lake to roost late each afternoon. My father was thrilled to see them, he is Glen Smart, First USFWS biologist to collect wild crane eggs!’
Now how’s that for karma?!
We reached out to Glen to ask him about this experience and he shared ‘It was fantastic to see a pair of cranes in the wild, but to be able to share the experience with my son and granddaughters was amazing. It gives me lots pride in the work we did and the efforts that continue. Keep it up.’