Highlights of the 2015 Whooping Crane Festival!
Attendees at the 19th Annual Whooping Crane Festival “whooped it up” during four days of festival activities. Over 750 registered participants from 36 states and four countries attended the event. Many out-of-state participants traveled to Port Aransas specifically for the festival. Special guests this year included board members and staff from the International Crane Foundation, which held its annual board meeting in Port Aransas to coincide with the festival.
A highlight at this year’s festival were the world-renowned speakers presenting at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Representatives from all the Whooping Crane conservation and reintroduction programs in North America reported on current recovery efforts. Speakers included representatives from Wood Buffalo National Park and Operation Migration, both located in Canada; the International Crane Foundation, headquartered in Wisconsin; and representatives from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Friday’s evening session, featuring speakers from the International Crane Foundation, set a record attendance for any presentation during the festival’s history.
“We are extremely proud of the growth and level of interest our festival has achieved. With over 40% of the attendees flying in specifically to see and learn more about the cranes and birds of our area and experience all that Port Aransas has to offer, this festival is becoming known throughout the birding world as one of the best”, according to President/CEO Ann Bracher Vaughan. ” In addition to our wonderful sponsors Cheniere, Eagle Optics, HEB, Port Corpus Christi and Swarovski Optik, all our local partners City of Port Aransas, Best Western Ocean Villa, Coral Cay Condominiums, Deep Sea Headquarters, Fennessey Ranch, Fisherman’s Wharf, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Kohootz, Etc., La Copita Ranch, Plantation Suites, Port Aransas Art Center, Island Queen, Sandcastle Condominiums, South Jetty Newspaper, The Tarpon Inn, The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Woody’s Sports Center and scores of volunteers contribute to the success of this festival.”
The 2015 Festival in Photos
Thank you again for a great silent auction prize! My mother and sister-in-law and I really enjoyed our birding expedition. On the boat tour, we were fortunate to see several pairs of whoopers up close and even had one pair fly over us! The dolphins also cooperated with our boat trip captain and his Jimmy Buffet music - which he said they loved!-Lu H.
Participating in the WCF for the first time - with two grandchildren - was a great experience. We were impressed with the organization of it and the quality of the lectures. They were both interesting and informative. A highlight for the four of us was the boat trip to view the exceptionally large group of cranes with a big bonus in having Dr. Archibald's company and comments.-Phyllis and Bert M., Isabella and Preston G.
My husband and I were very impressed with your activities during the festival. We are both amateur, beginner birders but felt completely at ease among more experienced folks. We took part in a boat tour (out of Woody’s) which was excellent, a van tour which was VERY informative and went to two of the presentations. I would do them all over again in a heartbeat! This was our first trip to Port A and part of the reason we decided to return next winter is your event. We have even considered offering to volunteer. So I would like to thank you for your dedication to this event and look forward to participating next year.-Mary B.
Thank you for planning and hosting the 2014 Whooping Crane Festival. We thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. Thank you especially for your hospitality. We arrived Wednesday without pre-registering and everyone was so helpful and friendly. The people of Port A we found to be as friendly as advertised and the Chamber staff epitomized this.-Rainey and Patti H.
The Festival was wonderful! It was so wonderfully organized. Everything went so smoothly. The leaders were so informative. And the volunteers at the Birding Center were terrific. Most of my first sightings occurred there. My sister and I went to Giggity's after the dolphin tour. We had the Gouda with chorizo and olives and then we each had fish served with their incredible fire roasted vegetables. Terrific dinner. Thank-Annette J.
you so much.
You folks did a wonderful job with the conference. It's a huge undertaking, and you do it smoothly and professionally.-Dan and Lucky M.