San Antonio Bay Partnership celebrates return of the whooping cranes

By by Dianna Wray
Oct. 31, 2010 at 5:31 a.m.

The whooping cranes are back in Texas and the San Antonio Bay Partnership is ready to celebrate.

The organization will host an event at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Victoria Community Center to celebrate the return of the whoopers and raise public awareness about them, San Antonio Bay Partnership facilitator James Dodson said.

The event is the culmination of a two-day workshop held by the San Antonio Bay Partnership at the Victoria Community Center.

The workshop starts at 1 p.m. Monday and lasts all day Tuesday. It is free and open to the public, Dodson said.

The San Antonio Bay Partnership has been in existence for about a year. The partnership is an organization focused on developing area wetlands that are the natural habitat of the cranes.

The whooping crane flock that winters in San Antonio Bay is the last naturally migrating flock of whooping cranes in existence.

Though the numbers in their flock dropped last year during a drought, this year's flock is seeing record numbers of about 290 birds.

The San Antonio Bay Partnership is holding this event as a way to raise awareness about the birds.

As their numbers grow, the wetlands that are their native habitat will have to grow as well, Dodson said.

Activities on Tuesday evening will include a slide show of wildlife taken on San Antonio Bay area ranches.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," Dodson said.

Master Naturalist and whooping crane guide Ray Kirkwood will give a talk.

University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology Tom Tremblay will hold a presentation on current wetlands trends in the San Antonio Bay area.

"This is going to be a celebration of the current state of things with the whooping crane population. We're just trying to get people motivated to do their part for the future," Dodson said.



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