Do some bird watching and take the plastic pledge

I recently traveled to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph to visit with Dr. Cary Chevalier’s Renewable Resources Policy and Administration class.  

The students were exploring environmental laws and policies that address contemporary natural resource management issues at the state and national levels.

To supplement their learning, Dr. Chevalier invites resource professionals from various agencies to meet with the students and discuss examples of real-life projects and how laws and policies figure into the planning and implementing of them.   

While up in the St. Joseph area, I took some personal time and drove over to Grand Island, Neb., to experience the annual sandhill crane migration. 

Each spring, the cranes migrate from the Gulf Coast area and stop along the Platte River to rest and feed before heading north.  

As luck would have it, I picked the week when a record number of sandhill cranes were present – over 600,000 birds were in the Central Platte River Valley between Chapman and Overton, Neb. 

I stopped in at the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center and learned that the cranes roost on the river at night and head out to nearby fields to forage for leftover grain, earthworms, and other invertebrates during the day.  

One can drive slowly along the county roads and watch the cranes feed and dance. Road pull-offs are signed to encourage birdwatchers to use those areas to stop, watch and listen to the cranes.  

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