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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Whooping Cranes & La Charrette


Tenth Annual Whooping Cranes Celebration Features New Speakers

Port Aransas, Tex. (February 15, 2006)—The Tenth Annual Celebration of Whooping Cranes and Other Birds is certain to be more spectacular this year than ever before in the presence of a record number of Whoopers appearing at nearby Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The event will also feature birding tours by both land and sea, the International Crane Children’s Art Exhibit, a Nature-Theme Trade Show and lectures by birding experts for three days, February 24, 25 and 26, 2006.

A new feature at this year’s celebration will detail one of those responsible for saving Whooping Cranes. Family members of Larry Walkinshaw will tell of his exceptional experiences on February 25 at 9 a.m. at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute auditorium. Walkinshaw’s daughter, Wendy and her husband Lowell M. Schake, will share inspiring stories about how one man, as a self-financed amateur, has made a difference in the world of birding. The title of their presentation is “How to Help Save an Endangered Species in Your Spare Time.” He also played a preeminent role in saving the endangered Greater Sandhill Cranes and Kirtland’s Warblers.

Walkinshaw was a Michigan dentist for 40 years. As president of dental societies, the Battle Creek Lions Club, the Battle Creek Boy Scouts, and the Wilson Ornithological Society, as well as serving as secretary of the American Ornithologists’ Union with membership in 20 other bird societies, one might think Walkinshaw had little time to ‘go birding’ or publish his 350 articles and books.

The Schakes will provide a glimpse into how Walkinshaw accomplished what few professional ornithologists have, and how life somehow remained ‘normal’ in the unique family of Larry and Clara Walkinshaw. Wendy grew up with a baby Sandhill Crane in her playpen as her father studied the world’s cranes. His two most signal books are Cranes of the World (shown above) and The Sandhill Cranes.

Recognized as the “Father of International Crane Research,” the Walkinshaw Award exemplifies the highest honor among today’s professional crane researchers worldwide. So intense was his lifelong love of birds that Walkinshaw asked, “Clara, do you think you can love birds as much I do?” when he proposed to his wife in 1931.

The Schakes reside in Port Aransas. They are now writing Walkinshaw’s biography, due out within about a year, and Lowell himself has recently published a book, La Charrette: A History of the Village Gateway to the American Frontier. After retiring from 30 years of collegiate teaching and research, he began pursuing his passion, which was exploring and researching the American frontier, where he grew up as a child. Schake’s book will be available at the events Trade Show. He also volunteers at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the Whooping Cranes.

Wendy frequently accompanied her father when studying cranes, including their visit to Aransas Refuge in 1950 when captive ‘Crip’ and ‘Jo’ were nesting there. She was not, however, with her father when he captured the first picture of a Whooping Crane nest in Wood Buffalo National Refuge, Northwest Territory, Canada or when arrested in Cuba as a suspected German spy during WW II. The Walkinshaws traveled extensively studying cranes.

The Whoopers promise to be spectacular, the food delicious and the speakers informative. To learn more about the event, please proceed to the title link



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