Volunteer Extraordinaire!

We first met Doug Pellerin early on in the project at the observation tower at Necedah NWR. He had an impressive camera and a keen interest in Whooping cranes and both those attributes got my attention. We have become friends over the years and his involvement has grown from watching the birds through his lens to watching them through the visor of a crane costume.

When we moved to White River Marsh, Doug was first to volunteer to build the pens and cut the grass. He worked hard for a week when we were down to the wire getting everything ready before the birds arrived. He even recruited his son who spent many hours walking behind a brutish, bucking bush-hog cutting through shoulder-high giant blue stem.

Every spring since, Doug shows up to help us run the water hoses and pull on the top nets. Back when we were still using the aircraft release method, He would drive for over an hour in the dark to get to the training site before sunrise and help release the birds. Doug coordinates access to the observation blind and talks to all the visitors and has become a tried and true Craniac. He and his wife Mako have dedicated countless hours to this project and we are forever grateful.

Doug is now part of our tracking team and that takes him down the back roads and lane-ways of central Wisconsin where his camera has captured amazing photos. He has become a talented nature photographer with images that you would expect to see in National Geographic or Birdwatching Magazine. 

I asked Doug to share a few of his favorite photographs so we could highlight one of the many talents he brings to conservation. THANK YOU DOUG FOR ALL YOU DO FOR WHOOPING CRANES. And thanks for sharing these images.

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  1. Rolando December 24, 2017 10:36 pm

    Thank you Beautiful photographs

  2. Carol Giancola December 20, 2017 2:19 pm

    Thank you for all you do, Doug!

  3. Sue McCurdy December 19, 2017 8:29 am

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks to Doug and thank you for posting.

  4. Doug Pellerin December 19, 2017 7:58 am

    Thank you all for such kind words. Merry Christmas to all.

  5. Mindy December 18, 2017 11:00 pm

    Wonderful tribute to Doug and his tireless efforts on behalf of Whooping Cranes and OM. He is a true gem of a human being! Thank you Doug for your hard work and determination to make a difference for Whoopers! The pictures are amazing! Keep it up!

  6. Dan Harvey December 18, 2017 7:11 pm

    Thank You Doug!

  7. THOMAS YOUNG December 18, 2017 5:56 pm

    Thank you very much Doug and Mako for all you have done and do for the Cranes.


  8. Tom Jordan December 18, 2017 5:39 pm

    Very nice tribute Doug. Nice meeting you this fall. Thanks for all you do for the cranes.

  9. Christy December 18, 2017 3:57 pm

    Thank you, Doug and Mako!
    A fitting tribute, Joe.

  10. Pat Carlson December 18, 2017 2:37 pm

    We love you, Doug! And Mako, too.

  11. Deb Potts December 18, 2017 12:07 pm

    Very NICE!

  12. Carl Racchini December 18, 2017 12:02 pm

    Great photos, thank you Doug and Mako for your support of this project!!!

  13. Grandma December 18, 2017 11:10 am

    I, also, would like to give my thanks to Doug and Mako for the endless hours both have given to help bring back the Whoopers. The photos and Mako’s creations are beautiful.

  14. Dorothy N December 18, 2017 10:49 am

    More thank yous to Doug and Mako for their many contributions to the efforts to bring back the whooping cranes. And, the photos are FANTASTIC!!

  15. Marilyn December 18, 2017 10:18 am

    Doug Pellerin, you are one of those American heroes who is “in the background” doing wonderful things for our animal relatives. As the Lakota say, “Mitakuye Oyasin”… we are all one. Thank you for being the giving, generous man that you are. God bless you. Merry Christmas.

  16. Cheryl N. December 18, 2017 9:50 am

    Doug and Mako, thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of the whooping cranes. Doug, your photos are magical.

  17. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd December 18, 2017 9:13 am

    A well deserved tribute !
    Doug’s photos constantly amaze and entertain this craniac. Thank you Doug and Mako for your dedication and efforts to promote conservation.

  18. Cheryl Murphy December 18, 2017 8:22 am

    Thank you Doug and Mako for all that you contribute to OM. And for being such great craniacs!

  19. Catharine Tucker December 18, 2017 8:14 am


  20. Billy Brooks December 18, 2017 7:53 am

    Always enjoy hearing from and seeing what Doug sees and photographs ! Definitely a giant asset to the crane conservation world… and amazing to think his contributions are because he personally cares…….