Thoughts as the Year Draws to a Close…

Guest Author: Jeff Weingarz, Acting Chair, Board of Operation Migration

I am sitting here at my kitchen table looking out the window at the remaining snow from November –thus far December has reverted back to normal weather and temps for this time of year – but I am wondering if we will be seeing a white Christmas this year.  My shovel lies at the ready….  (or is it “lays?”)

While the question of the forecast rests in the back of my mind, my thoughts turn to the cranes – specifically all of those gentle giants that were tenderly raised in captivity from eggs that were retrieved from one of many different possible origins, trained to fly, and then to migrate behind a large metal bird across the fields and forests of the Midwest and southeast states… Where are they now? Hopefully someplace warmer than here – maybe having an early lunch of blue crab, or gliding carelessly on thermals high above the gulf.  Do they have any cognition of their past, their present, or for that matter, to what lengths that humans have gone to over the last 20 years in order to insure the right to their existence?  Especially in light of the fact that it was the same human species that naively and carelessly brought these great creatures to the brink of extinction just 100 years ago?  

Now my mind is wandering a little father along…. I would like to hope that while my love of Whooping Cranes goes far; my love and faith in humanity goes farther – because it is only through increasing our knowledge of our environment that we will be able to understand that everything we do individually or as a society impacts the world that we live in and its finite resources, and that we need to react and plan accordingly.   We are really only beginning to grasp the impacts that humanity has made on our planet – some are obvious; some not so much.   But if we can just understand that it took hundreds of millions of years (OK, 4 billion years to be closer to the mark) for the earth’s various ecosystems to evolve and develop naturally – the balance of billions of species of plant life and animal life on our lands and in our oceans, the correct mixture of gasses and elements to support that life, and the overall delicate foundation that the food chain exists upon.   Now, after just 200 years of humanity embracing the industrial revolution, our ecosystem is faced with many grave threats that we never could have imagined even 20 years ago when OM was just an idea.   While many of us disagree with each other as to the degree of severity, one only needs to look at what we have already put in place to offset earlier acts to verify what should already be obvious – fishing quotas in our oceans, banning of CFCs, soil conservation policies to name but just a couple – these law and policies show that from a consensus point of view, we as a society have agreed that humanity has had an impact, and that we need to act expeditiously, and with necessity, and yes, even with enthusiasm to offset previous damage we have done to our ecosystem.   I say “with enthusiasm” because conservation can be likened to exercise – we know it is for our own good; it takes a LOT of work, we sometimes dread it because of potential aches and pains (and insurmountable odds), but in the end, we feel good about ourselves, our bodies, and in the case of conservation, our planet!!   

Bringing that thought back to the cranes, it is basically this mindset that the Operation Migration team as well as all of their partners in WCEP have embraced over the last 20 years in order to make a positive impact on the environment in the form of Whooping Crane conservation….   It shows in the progress that has been made to-date with the EMP, and with good science, strong support and continued participation the WCEP partners (as well as some good old-fashioned luck), the cranes will be able to grasp a foothold in this new human-dominated ecosystem and thrive.

And that is where my faith in humanity lays…   or is it “lies”…?   

On an ending note, all of the Board and Staff of Operation Migration wish all of our families, friends, partners, and supporters a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous New Year – we so appreciate your dedication to Whooping Cranes and the unselfish and generous support that all of you have given us over the years.  It has been an honor for me to serve on the Board for an organization that has defined the meaning of integrity and sacrifice for the cause. I am forever humbled.


Jeff Weingarz

Board of Directors

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  1. Elsie Sealander December 21, 2018 5:25 pm

    I RECOMMEND that all adults google: Greta Thunberg a 15 year old Swedish student speaks to the United Nations

    See how she feels about what is happening to life on planet Earth.

  2. Jane Maher December 21, 2018 3:58 pm

    It’s LIES and thanks for even wondering! I second your thoughts and sentiments as we embark on another year fraught with uncertainty about the world around us and our fellow human beings. May they be enlightened!

    • Luella Frank December 21, 2018 9:16 pm

      Ditto Jane!