~ The 15th North American Crane Workshop ~

The 15th North American Crane Workshop will be held 8-11 January 2020 in Lubbock, Texas, at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center. The Workshop will include two full days of presentations and one day of field trips.

Lubbock is located in the center of the Southern High Plains in Lubbock County. Lubbock has ~275,000 residents and is referred to as the “Hub City” due to its central role for education and health care on the Southern High Plains. Lubbock is a college town, and the foundation of the economy in the city is Texas Tech University. Texas Tech University is a non-land grant, public university founded in 1923 and has ~39,000 students across 9 colleges. The Southern High Plains is home to ~80% of the overwintering Mid-Continent Population of sandhill cranes due to numerous saline lakes and playa wetlands.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 September 2019. The University has a system of “Raider Rooms” with state of the art technology (large projectors and screens, touch screen systems, Microsoft office 2016, large white boards, and plug-ins for laptops and other media) at room capacities holding 30-400 attendees. Given classes will not be in session during the workshop, the hosts will coordinate with the university (and Tier I, the university catering), to hold the workshop in a Raider room with appropriate breaks and refreshments.

Registration will open by 1 October. Lunches for all three days, the banquet meal (Friday night), and the field trip are all included in the registration fee (Students–$150; All others–$300), as are 3 years of NACWG membership (2020–2022). Room accommodations are not included in the registration fee, but a block of rooms has been reserved in the hotel at special rates. Those rates will also apply to the 3 days before and the 3 days after the Workshop, subject to availability at the time the room reservation is made. Please contact the hotel directly to arrange your room accommodations.

The field trips will be coordinated with USFWS Region 2. The first is to Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, which hosts >30,000 sandhill cranes in January (Mid-Continent Population). Muleshoe is the oldest national wildlife refuge in Texas and is in public trust due to the three saline lakes on the refuge, which are central to sandhill crane ecology on the Southern High Plains. Jude Smith, Refuge Manager of Muleshoe NWR, will lead the field trips and discuss the history, ecological importance, and threats to saline lakes on the SHP. Muleshoe also hosts numerous waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds in winter for birders and supports one of the largest remaining tracts of short-grass prairie on the SHP. The second field trip will be to the privately owned T-Bar Ranch and will be hosted by Duane Lucia, USFWS Region 2 employee, to discuss the ecology and restoration efforts of native short-grass prairies. The T-Bar Ranch also has two large saline lakes and provides ample opportunity to see cranes and other waterbirds.

Sandhill Cranes at Muleshoe NWR

Sandhill Cranes at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge.
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