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Whooping Crane Celebration Raises $8,500!

The Whooping Crane Celebration, held Friday, October 26, 2001 in Chattanooga, exceeded its organizers' expectations by raising $8,525 from ticket sales, donations, and a silent auction. About 240 people attended the event, which was held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo and hosted by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society in cooperation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

(l-r) Event Chair Judy Newsome, holding check for $8500, David Duvall, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation director, John Christian, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (in crane suit), and Dan Hicks, TWRA, address the crowd.

The event was held, in part, to raise public awareness of recovery efforts for the endangered Whooping Cranes. These efforts include the passage through and stopover of an experimental flock of young Whooping Cranes in Tennessee some time in November. For more on the progress of this flock, see

The money raised through the event will be used by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation to fund planting corn for cranes - both Sandhill and Whooping - in the Hiwassee Refuge area, and for crane-related educational outreach, probably through a permanent kiosk at Hiwassee Refuge. A portion of the money will also likely be donated to Operation Migration to fund their crane recovery efforts.

Event organizing committee members (l-r): Clyde Blum, Judy Newsome (chair), Bonnie Johnson, David Aborn, Ken Dubke, Kevin Calhoon, and Cynthia Wilkerson.

Dan Hicks, TWRA Region III Information & Education Coordinator, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. He introduced the main speaker, John Christian, Assistant Regional Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mr. Christian appeared dressed in one of the crane costumes worn by handlers raising the young cranes, and gave an interesting and amusing illustrated talk on the reintroduction effort. Mr. Hicks also recognized several TWRA employees and TOS members in attendance, including Bonnie Johnson, an event organizer who helped raise over $1800 through "Change for Cranes" at Griffith Elementary School in Dunlap. The audience also enjoyed seeing the video "Flight of the Cranes," on last year's experimental ultralight-let migration of Sandhill Cranes from Wisconsin to Florida.

David Duvall (l) and TWRA Region III Director Clarence Coffey.
TOS President Chuck Nicholson (r) speaks with an attendee.

The event organizers wish to thank the following patrons: The Knoxville Zoo, Phillip and Ellen Whitaker, Jonnie Sue and Bob Lyons, the Tennessee Wildflower Society, Wildbirds Unlimited, and Ted and Mary Moore. Thanks also to everyone who donated items for the silent auction.

For more information on the crane recovery effort, see:

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