Just got back from our first time attending the Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival (March 18-20).
Years ago we were in the Columbia Basin area to find Sandhill Cranes and were fortunate enough to see thousands of them. A few photos from that trip are included in our book, A Kid’s Guide to Birding. The natural landscape there is spectacular on its own, but with huge numbers of cranes, it was like something you would only imagine existing in the earlier days of exploration.
So when an invitation to speak at the festival came from the organizers in Othello, we were more than happy to head back out to the area.
So let me tell you about this festival. It is fantastic! The festival’s organizers put a lot of effort and careful planning into the event. There were regular scheduled buses and vans taking people out to the best wildlife viewing areas (which also included private agricultural areas) as well as areas of geological interest. Breakfast was served on Saturday and there was a Banquet in the evening along with one of the keynote speakers. All the speakers had impressive credentials and did great presentations. There were displays, book sales, and more. But what impressed me the most was the incredible community involvement, with both young and old involved in all sorts of ways. I was beginning to wonder if there was a town ordinance that required everyone to be involved, because it seemed like everyone and every organization had some role in helping the event come together.
So make plans to be there for the next one, the “20th annual” Sandhill Crane Festival in 2017. But book early because when we tried, ever hotel in the area was fully booked!
Here are a few photos from the trip.