Monday, October 26, 2015

Flight of the Whoopers

Environmental & Science Education

by Edward Hessler

This morning a short newspaper article caught my attention, an announcement of a recommendation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that the use of ultralights in guiding whooping cranes south from Wisconsin may end.

Whooping Cranes Flights
Whooping crane pair
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
(Flickr: whooping crane pair)
[CC BY 2.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons
Lee Bergquist, an environmental reporter for the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) has written a great piece which discusses the decision as well as provides context and information about whooping cranes.

If you are interested in learning more about these flights, Jon Mooallem devotes a chapter in "Wild Ones" to this practice. It provides the science, history, cultural influences, and personal narratives about those involved.  The other two chapters focus on an icon of conservation, the polar bear and a much less well-known species, the Lange's metalmark butterfly.

Mooallem began this exploration when he started to notice the number of imaginary animals which surround out children--on pajamas, animal-themed rooms, toothbrush handles. This made him wonder whether we see (can see?) wild animals or something else. This review may help you decide whether you want to read it.

I found it a powerful book about our relationship with the natural world.

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