The Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, N11385 Headquarters Road, Necedah, will welcome the cranes, and any other early season migratory birds from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 25.
Visitor Services manager, Katie Goodwin will meet any “early bird” visitors at 8:30 a.m. in the Observation Deck parking lot. Bring cameras and binoculars and climb the tower for a great view of Rynearson Pool 1 to view trumpeter swans, Canada geese, sandhill cranes and possibly a whooping crane or two.
Then on to the Visitor Center for activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At 10:30 a.m., Goodwin will give a 45-minute talk about whooping cranes at the refuge with photos while describing the work being done with refuge staff and other organizations that partner to support the cranes and their habitat.
At 1 p.m., Mark Nipper and Angie Maxted will talk about and show photos of their experience of living at the refuge and supporting the cranes. Registration is required for the observation tower event and the two presentations, call 608-565-2551 to reserve a spot.
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Photographer and artist Diane Dahl opens her exhibit displaying photography, art and jewelry inspired by the refuge.
At 10:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., illustrator Pat Dobrinsky will read aloud from the children’s book, that she illustrated, about a mother whooping crane and her chick titled, “I Love You Unconditionally.” Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Children who attend will receive a crane challenge booklet. When filled out, the booklet can be presented at the front desk for a prize. Roger Leitner will sell unframed wildlife photos he’s taken at the refuge.
Throughout the day, visitors can learn to fold an origami crane. For every dollar donated to the crane research and support fund, an origami crane will be folded and hung in the visitor center. Jean Ashmore, a volunteer with the International Crane Foundation and Necedah NWR, will be available to talk with visitors and answer questions about cranes.
There will be a silent auction of a crane quilt and crane art and a chili luncheon offering beef, turkey and vegetarian chili options and desserts available for a donation.