FOTWW President to speak at Nebraska Crane Festival

Nebraska Crane Festival
Sandhill Crane. Photo by Virginia Short

Friends of The Wild Whoopers’ (FOTWW) President Chester McConnell will be a speaker at Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival 2019 program on Saturday, March 23rd between 10:00 and 10:50 AM. This year’s Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival, taking place March 21-24, 2019, brings together hundreds of crane lovers from around the country to Kearney, Nebraska. Visitors will get to interact with a wide range of environmental speakers, take part in incredible birding trips, and, best of all, experience the world’s largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes and maybe even a rare sighting of endangered Whooping Cranes!

McConnell will be discussing Whooping Crane biology and habitat needs. FOTWW has been working with military bases, Indian Reservations and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for the past three years to identify and evaluate existing and potential “stopover habitats” on their properties. FOTWW believes that “stopover habitat” is a necessary but virtually ignored part of the overall effort to save endangered wild Whooping Cranes in the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population.

Once habitats have been identified, FOTWW prepares detailed plans for each property explaining how they should be developed and protected to provide essential “stopover habitats” for migrating Whooping Cranes. Whooping Cranes migrate a distance of 2,500 miles two times each year between their nesting habitat on Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada and their Aransas Refuge winter habitat on the Texas coast.

During each of the two annual migrations, the Whooping Cranes must stop to rest and feed 15 to 30 times. FOTWW believes that the wild population is capable of taking care of itself with two exceptions. These Whoopers need man to protect their habitats and to stop shooting them.

Clicking here will take you to the total Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival program agenda.

We hope to see you there!

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.



FOTWW and the Upcoming Holiday Season

As we move deeper into the month of November, our thoughts begin to turn to the upcoming holiday season and with its arrival, comes shopping and traveling to see family, friends, and loved ones. In today’s hectic times, most of us make our travel plans and do our shopping online because it’s easier and we are able to do so in the comfort of our homes and on our own time frames.

When Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) received its nonprofit 501(c3) status in 2014, we enrolled in some online giving programs so that we could receive donations generated by our supporters who shop and search online. The programs that we have been enrolled in are AmazonSmile, GoodShop and GoodSearch. Everyone is aware of the AmazonSmile giving program, but so many are unaware of the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs.

Holiday Season
GoodShop and GoodSearch donates to FOTWW

For those who aren’t familiar with GoodShop and GoodSearch, let me try to give a short explanation on how both work. Both programs are easy to use and since we have been enrolled, our supporters who have signed up with the programs choosing FOTWW as their charity, have earned a total of $492.00 in donations for FOTWW and it was all done by shopping and/or searching online at no cost to you.


GoodSearch is a search engine and works like Google or any other search engine. For every online search you make, they donate 1¢ to FOTWW. That’s all there is to it! Make 10 searches from their portal and we receive a dime donation. It may not sound like much but those pennies do add up throughout the year.


Now about GoodShop. Everyone knows how AmazonSmile works and we can say that GoodShop works the same way, but is even better with 3,000+ partner stores to shop from. With AmazonSmile, charities receive ½ of 1% in donations on your purchase. That means for every dollar you spend at AmazonSmile, you generate ½ cent in donations.

GoodShop gives you more freedom of store choices, travel arrangements and their percentages of donations are higher than AmazonSmile. Let’s say you are traveling for the holidays. From the GoodShop portal, you could choose Travelocity, make your reservations as usual and by doing so, FOTWW would earn a donation of up to 4% of your purchase price. Make arranges through Orbitz and the donation is up to 3.5%, and Expedia earns up to 5%. There are other travel sites, but these examples give you an idea about how it works.

Do you like shopping at Walgreens, LL Bean, or JC Penney online? Through the GoodShop portal, your purchases from Walgreens would earn FOTWW a donation of up to 4%, purchases from LLBean, 2% and JC Penney, 3%. It’s that easy! You shop and GoodShop donates to FOTWW.

Why FOTWW participates

You may wonder why we are mentioning this. FOTWW is an all-volunteer nonprofit and all FOTWW staff members donate their time, energy and sometimes their own personal funds to keep you informed and to continue our mission to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat, including our “stopover habitat” project.

So with the upcoming holidays just around the corner, won’t you please consider enrolling in the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs? All you need to do is go to their website, give them your name and email address, and choose Friends of the Wild Whoopers as your charity. Having been enrolled in the program for several years, I can assure you that you won’t receive tons of emails from them and your information is kept private.

FOTWW thanks everyone who are currently supporting us through GoodShop and GoodSearch and to those who start using it, we thank you beforehand. If you should have any questions about these programs, please feel free to send us an email or post a comment under this article, and we’ll gladly answer them.

Already using GoodShop and GoodSearch? Please share this with families, friends and coworkers who may not know about it.

Thank you all!
Pam Bates
Vice President – FOTWW


Friends of the Wild Whoopers’ President to speak at Fort Worth Audubon

Friends of the Wild Whoopers' PresidentFriends of the Wild Whoopers’ president, Chester McConnell, will be speaking this Thursday night, Nov. 8, 2018 at the Fort Worth Audubon’s monthly meeting. He will be speaking briefly about the biology of the only wild population of Whooping Cranes on earth. He will also explain the efforts by Friends of the Wild Whoopers to protect, improve and develop “stopover habitats” for these endangered birds.

McConnell spent most of his professional career of 54 years evaluating land use and stream projects, wetland protection, conducting wildlife research, monitoring populations and managing wildlife habitats. Since retiring, he has focused his time on Whooping Cranes, wetland protection and stream protection.

McConnell became interested in Whooping Cranes when he was in the 5th grade. He read a brief article in the Weekly Reader which explained that the Whoopers had returned to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. The article also explained that no one knew where the birds went to in the summer months.

McConnell eventually became a lifetime member of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association. He was appointed as a Trustee and served as President one term. He managed their web page and newsletter (wife was Associate Editor) for 14 years. Currently, McConnell serves as President of Friends of the Wild Whoopers, a private, non-profit group whose mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. He has evaluated potential Whooping Crane habitats on 21 military bases, 8 Indian Reservation and 14 Army Corps of Engineers lakes.

Friends of the Wild Whoopers now works under an official Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate all lakes within the 6 state migration corridor (TX, OK, KS, NE, SD and ND). Services to the military, Indian Reservations and the Corps have been performed at no cost to the recipients.

Time and Location of Meeting

The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm with a short 15 minute business meeting followed by McConnell’s presentation. Meetings are held in Everett Hall, Room 100, in the Research and Education (RES) building at the University of North Texas Health Science Center on 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard (at Montgomery Street) Fort Worth TX 76107. Use Parking Lot 6 on Clifton Street. Enter the RES building ground floor at the northwest corner of Parking Lot 6.