5th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival Thursday through Sunday
If you go:
What: Fifth annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival
When: Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 8 to 11
Where: Guided tours near Steamboat Springs and Hayden, Bud Werner Memorial Library, other locations
More information: coloradocranes.org
Steamboat Springs — Calling all craniacs!
The fifth annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival returns to locations in Steamboat Springs and Hayden Thursday through Sunday.
In addition to the traditional guided crane viewings, workshops and speakers, this year’s festival will offer a broader perspective on the numerous crane species — not only the local sandhill crane — according to Nancy Merrill, an event organizer and president of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.
“We are expanding our focus this year,” said Merrill, who met the event’s keynote speaker, Nyambayar Batbayar, or Nyamba, during a trip to Mongolia.
Nyamba is director and research biologist for the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia and has written a field guide about birds of Mongolia and research papers that have influenced conservation policy in the country.
Nyamba will discuss Asian species of cranes.
Speaker Barry Hartup, director of conservation medicine at the International Crane Foundation, will discuss the endangered whooping crane, the only other North American crane other than the sandhill.
There are only about 600 whooping cranes left, Merrill said.
Merrill said that presale tickets to the guided crane tours and workshops have sold quickly, but spots are still available for some events.
The event’s speakers, films and many other activities are open to the public with plenty of space, Merrill said.
She said the festival will include a handful of events for children, including a visit from live owls on the library lawn Saturday and a visit from Heather Henson, daughter of Muppets creator, the late Jim Henson. Henson will hold a workshop for kids on crane storytelling and puppetry.
“We’re doing some really neat things for kids this year,” she said.
Merrill also encouraged people to attend a Saturday evening talk at Carpenter Ranch with Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd, which will include a guided sunset crane viewing.
A barbecue dinner during the event is sold out, but people are welcome to bring a picnic meal.
Pre-registration is necessary for some events and can be completed at coloradocranes.org. The website also includes a full schedule and biographies of each of the weekend’s speakers.
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