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February 18: Lecture, "Whooping Cranes on the Texas Coast & Beyond"

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of whooping cranes, which migrate between Texas and Alberta, Canada, each year. In this talk, Wade Harrell, Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator at ANWR will focus on the history of recovering whooping cranes, one of North America's most endangered birds, from the brink of extinction. He will cover the role that Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and conservation of Texas mid-coast habitats has played in the species’ comeback. Current and future conservation efforts for the species will also be discussed.

Thursday, February 18, 5:30-6:30pm. Admission is pay-what-you-want, and always free for museum members.

About the speaker

Wade Harrell, a fifth generation native Texan, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and spent his formative years exploring and fishing the marshes and beaches of the Gulf Coast and hunting in the thornscrub region of South Texas. These early experiences led to a great interest in wildlife conservation. Wade received a B.S. in Wildlife and Rangeland Science from Texas A&M Kingsville in 1998. He went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University, receiving an M.S. in Rangeland Ecology in 2000 and PhD in Rangeland Ecology in 2004. His graduate research involved the importance of ecological disturbance, particularly fire, in maintaining wildlife communities in grassland and shrubland ecosystems of the Great Plains.

Wade began his current position with the US Fish & Wildlife Service as the Whooping Crane recovery coordinator in September of 2012 and is enjoying working with a wide variety of stakeholders on the conservation of this flagship endangered species. Previously, Wade served as the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator for the Austin Ecological Services office from October 2009 through August 2012. In Austin, Wade led a small but superb team of biologists in restoring and maintaining diverse wildlife habitats, from Desert grasslands in the Trans Pecos of Texas important for wintering migratory birds, springs and creeks important for rare and listed aquatic species, forest and shrublands ecosystems on the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas that are key for the survival of the endangered Golden cheeked warbler and Black capped vireo, sub-surface karst & cave environments that host a number of listed endemic species and pine-oak forests in east-central Texas that provide habitat for the endangered Houston Toad.

Prior to coming to work for the Service, Wade was employed by The Nature Conservancy of Texas, serving as the Coastal Prairies Project Director for 6 years. During his time with TNC, Wade provided science support and direction for the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes ecoregion, led diverse stakeholder groups in the development of landscape scale conservation plans, initiated and directed the successful Attwater’s prairie chicken reintroduction program on private lands, assisted private landowners with grassland habitat management and managed land acquisition and conservation easement programs along the Texas Gulf Coast.

To learn more about Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, visit their website here:
Where Texas History Began