As we near the end of 2023, we gaze up at the skies for reminders of our guiding purpose – the cranes – and reflect on what it means to us during a time of change at Rowe Sanctuary.
The biannual return of familiar bugles in the sky are reminders of a migration that has endured for thousands of years, one which we are privileged to continue to witness and delight in sharing with people from around the world. In the past year, we provided virtual and on- site crane viewing experiences to nearly 6,000 participants and engaged over 2,000 people with crane- focused talks and programs.
Watching Sandhill Cranes soar together in groups helps us to understand that we navigate better when we have support. With the help from 71 volunteers we were able to provide crane-viewing experiences at full capacity for one of our most successful crane seasons yet.
Crane season culminated with a celebration and groundbreaking event, marking the beginning of Rowe’s capital expansion project.
Thanks to support from those who contributed to our campaign, construction is underway with exciting improvements on the 2024 horizon such as new interpretive exhibits and signage, an educational addition, a conference room and multipurpose space, expansion of the Great Hall, and an overlook deck and boardwalk along the river.
If we really pay attention to a crane in flight, we can notice behaviors that give us clues about how they experience the world. What might our sanctuary, and the greater Platte River Valley, look like through their eyes? At Rowe, we are tasked with adopting this “high altitude” perspective that contextualizes our work and sanctuary within the broader setting of the Platte River Valley and guides our land and river management work, partnerships with stakeholders, education programs, and long-term goals to protect our priority species and the places they need now and in the future.
We look forward to building upon a strong legacy of conservation at Rowe Sanctuary in the upcoming year, with our eyes towards the sky as a reminder of the importance of our mission and the lessons we can learn from a crane during this wonderful migration.