operation migration

Aircraft Guided
bird migration

Whooping Crane Festival 2015

09/10/2015 05:00 PM - 09/13/2015 05:00 PM CST


  • Free


Various locations in Green Lake County - check session listing
Princeton, Green Lake & Ripon, WI


No admission fee for entry to Saturday's Festival in Princeton, WI., however there is a nominal registration fee for the indicated seminars/events.
A weekend of fun activities in support of Operation Migration and Whooping cranes.



Make plans to join us to celebrate and support the return of Whooping cranes during this fun weekend near the summer home of Operation Migration's Whooping cranes. 

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Thursday, Sept. 10th - Whooper Welcome! 6 pmJoin everyone at Reilly's Bar & Pub on beautiful Green Lake for dinner and adult beverages. Buffet will include four types of sandwiches, including: Terrace turkey, Guinness BBQ, Reuben (made to order) & chicken, along with a variety of salads and sides, dessert offerings, including red velvet cake and an assortment of cookies. Soda, iced tea & lemonade included - cash bar available. Two vegetarian offerings made to order. $15 per person

Friday, Sept. 11th 7 am - Join us at the public flyover locations to watch the Class of 2015 fly a training session with our pilots! Weather permitting (of course). The flyover will occur shortly after sunrise (provided there is no rain or fog). Please check Getting Around map page for locations. map (Please do not park on County Rd. D)

Friday, Sept., 11th - Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Bus Tour - Your day will include brunch at 10 am, followed by a 3 hour bus tour of beautiful Horicon Marsh! Horicon Friends Group President Terri Fuller will be your guide for the ride, which will take in the sights from the auto tour, boardwalk and walking trails. Capacity: 40 persons. Registration: $30 per person 

Friday Sept. 11th 5 pm - Join us for the festival kick-off dinner in the Arboretum room at Comfort Suites at Royal Ridges where we will celebrate cranes and other birds with featured speaker Stan Tekiela.​ 

Exclusive LIVE & Silent Auction items will be available.

$50 per person ($25 tax-deductible) with a portion of each ticket going to support the Class of 2015 Whooping cranes. Cocktail hour: 5pm - cash bar. Dinner 6pm. Meal options include chicken florentine en croute (boneless chicken breast stuffed with a blend of spinach, mushrooms and cheese, rolled in a light puff pastry and baked until golden brown); beef tips (tender beef tips in a rich burgundy sauce with sliced mushrooms served over homemade mashed potatoes) or a vegan option of Portabella bruschetta, which includes Grilled Portabella mushroom caps topped with warm bruschetta olive oil and balsamic reductionCash bar available.

Our after dinner speaker will be Mr. Stan Tekiela, naturalist, wildlife photographer and author. Stan is the originator of the popular state-specific field guides such as Birds of Wisconsin, Illinois, etc Field Guide, Wildflowers of Wisconsin, Illinois, etc, and Trees of Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. Over the past three decades Stan has authored more than 130 field guides, nature appreciation books and wildlife audio CDs for nearly every state in the nation, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti.

Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 25 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs.

Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in over 20 newspapers and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations. He is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and Canon Professional Services along with many other professional organizations.

Stan's talk will present 'Uncommon Facts about Common Birds' 

 Saturday, Sept. 12th 7 amJoin us at the public flyover locations to watch the Class of 2015 fly a training session with our pilots! Weather permitting (of course). The flyover will occur shortly after sunrise (provided there is no rain or fog). Please check Getting Around map page for locations. map (Please do not park on County Rd. D)

Saturday, September 12th: All day Festival begins at 8 am with a pancake breakfast at the Princeton School. Check out the vendors in the marketplace; bid on Silent Auction items; attend one or all of the seminars offered. Visit the children's activity area and let the kids get up close and personal with frogs, snakes and other critters with David Stokes! 

Seminar Sessions Include

  • Pat Fisher: The Feather - Raptor Rehabilitation 9 - 10 am: The programs Pat Fisher and her volunteers offer are "up close and personal" as she educates with birds on the glove. The various birds you'll meet in this session make learning a personal experience and are the best way to present wildlife education. Check out The Feather!  Capacity 60 people. Session fee: $3 per person.
  • Gardening for Wildlife - Presenter Rob Zimmer 11 - Noon:  Rob Zimmer is Your Yard MD, garden writer for the Appleton Post-Crescent, Fond du Lac Reporter, Oshkosh Northwestern, Sheboygan Press, Green Bay Press Gazette and other Gannett Wisconsin newspapers. With more than 20 years of outdoors and garden writing experience, his articles have appeared in such publications as Birdwatcher's Digest, Birders World, Birds and Blooms, Wisconsin Gardening, Wisconsin Natural Resources, Wildlife Conservation, Silent Sports, Country Journal, Wisconsin Sportsman, Michigan Out of Doors and others.  Capacity 60 people. Session fee: $3 per person.
  • Joe Duff - Operation Migration 2:30 - 3:30 pm: Joe is the co-founder and CEO of Operation Migration. While there are not very many humans who can include 'flying with birds' on their list of accomplishments, if one were ranking them on the number of hours and species, Joe would be at the top of the list. Since 1993, Joe has logged hundreds of hours guiding Canada geese, Sandhill cranes, Trumpeter swans and of course Whooping cranes along pre-determined migration routes in his small aircraft. Come listen to Joe as he recounts his adventures with humor and incredible imagery. Capacity 100 people. There is no fee for this session.

Critters that Live with Cranes! 

Kids of ALL ages will enjoy David Stokes' presentation 

Using LIVE frogs, turtles, snakes and other creatures, you'll get to touch and examine common wildlife that share the habitat with Cranes.

At Saturday's festival, David will present three 45 minute shows on the hour at 11 am, noon and 1 pm. This session is a must for children, parents, teachers, naturalists and the curious!

David Stokes engages audiences of all ages in nature study and will speak about the importance of exploring nature with children. David is a Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Teacher of the Year and an
"Aldo Leopold" award winner. The North Shore United Educators (WEAC) honored David for educational excellence.




Saturday, Sept. 12th 6 pm: ​Saturday Evening SocialJoin us at the VFW Hall in Princeton for a pizza party! Catered by Christiano's - meal will include salads, breadsticks, pasta, and a variety of pizzas. Cash bar available. Price: $15

Be sure to study your crane trivia beforehand!



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 Sunday, Sept. 13th 7amJoin us at the public flyover locations to watch the Class of 2015 fly a training session with our pilots! Weather permitting (of course). The flyover will occur shortly after sunrise (provided there is no rain or fog). Please check Getting Around map page for locations. map (Please do not park on County Rd. D)

Sunday Morning Bird Walk at White River Marsh - Your walk leader will be Tom Schultz: wildlife artist, experienced birder, and OM Whooping crane handler. Ever wonder what’s going on in White River Marsh (WRM) beyond the range of the CraneCam? WRM is a 12,000 acre wildlife area consisting of marsh, swamp, upland prairie and oak savannah. Once heavily farmed, this area is under management to restore these vital habitats to their natural state. Follow in the footsteps of Aldo Leopold to explore the beauty of this place that has become home to the endangered Whooping Crane and countless other species. Start time 8 am. Limited to 20 persons. Price $30 per person.

Sunday - Fox of the River 45-minute Voyageur Canoe Paddle! This hand-built craft is a replica of the French fur trader craft used along the historic water routes that supported settlement of much of Wisconsin. With a capacity of 16 people, including 14 paddlers, this one hour trip along the Fox River will provide a unique paddling experience. Listen to the history of 17th century trapping life and the first explorers. Bring your binoculars and your camera to capture images of the wildlife during your paddle! A Birders Delight!

Three trips are available: Choose from 10 am, 12 am or 2 pm. Limit to 16 persons/trip. Price $20 per person.

Sunday - Birding by Boat in the Horicon Marsh! Come journey with us to the very heart of the marsh on a two hour narrated Birding Adventure by pontoon boat beginning at 11am. Both casual birdwatchers and experienced birders will enjoy seeking out the over 305 species of birds Horicon Marsh has to offer. Bring your bird ID guidebook, binoculars and let’s go birding!
Price $30 per person. Capacity 48 (24 per boat)



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Comfort Suites at Royal Ridges in Ripon, Wisconsin has blocks of rooms reserved at the rate of $83/night. Mention 'Crane Festival' when making your reservation to take advantage of this reduced room rate. 920-748-5500. *This is where our kick-off dinner will take place


Travel time from Comfort Suites in Ripon to Princeton is 18 minutes: 

Visit this link to check accomodations in the area or contact the Riverview B & B in nearby Neshkoro, WI

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