Yampa Valley Crane Festival
Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, Inc. presents the annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival every fall. The festival occurs during fall staging- when cranes gather in large numbers in the fall to feed and gain energy for their migration south. The festival is held in beautiful Northwest Colorado with events in Steamboat Springs, Hayden, and Craig. The festival features guided crane-viewings, bird and nature walks, expert speakers, films, crane and bird art, children and family activities, and more!
2023 Festival Summary
Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition held the 12th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival during Aug 31-Sept 3, 2023 in beautiful Northwest Colorado. Guests enjoyed a weekend of cranes, speakers, workshops, films, and more!
2023 Festival Speakers
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Richard Beilfuss, President and CEO of International Crane Foundation presented “50 years of Crane Conservation: Reflecting Back, Flying Forward”
Sandra Noll & Erv Nichols, naturalists and crane experts presented “Crane Basics” and Sandra Noll presented “Cranes of the World”
Steve Burrows, birder murder mystery author presented “From Birder to Birder Murder – the Mystery Continues”
Buddy Huffaker, Executive Director of Aldo Leopold Foundation presented “Aldo Leopold, the Land Ethic, and A Sand County Almanac:The making of an American Classic”
Ted Floyd, author, birder extraordinaire, and editor of the American Birding Association’s Birding magazine, and his son Andrew Floyd presented at the Carpenter Ranch near Hayden
Erin Gelling, CCCC Executive Director, presented “Sandhill Crane Conservation in Northwest Colorado”
Nature’s Educators’ presented “What a Hoot” with live raptors up close
2023 Festival Activities
Daily guided sunrise crane-viewings with crane experts Sandra Noll & Erv Nichols
Pollinators: Hummingbirds & Hummingbird Moths walk at Yampa River Botanic Park led by Ted and Andrew Floyd
Guided bird walks with Rich Beilfuss, Chip Clouse, Ted Floyd, Andrew Floyd, Forrest Luke, Alan Reishus, Rebecca Weiss, Lisa & Paul Williams
Guided bird walk and history tour at Mt Harris with Lisa and Paul Williams and Laurel Watson
Bag Lunch and iNaturalist Workshop led by Katie Weeks
Crane-friendly Ranch Tour at TS Jost Ranch with Sharon and Terry Jost
Scenic Excursion by Pontoon Boat at Steamboat Lake, led by Julie Arington of Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Guided nature walk at Steamboat Ski Resort led by botanist Karen Vail
Picnic dinner at The Carpenter Ranch in Hayden including a talk by Birding editor, Ted Floyd and his son Andrew Floyd
Nature’s Educator’s Live Raptor Booth on the Library Lawn
Discussion of A Sand County Almanac led by Buddy Huffaker
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time film presented by Bud Werner Library with showings in both Steamboat Springs and Craig, Colorado
Trio of Short films: Mates for Life, Counting Cranes, Iridescent presented by Bud Werner Library
Children and family activities led by Colorado Parks & Wildlife with help from Yampatika
Spirit Wind Aerial Arts – Heidi Miller’s crane-inspired flying dancers
Nature-journaling workshop with author Ellen Bonnifield and artist Cindy Wither
Photography Workshop by Chris Becea of Morning Light Photography
Story-telling in Children’s Story Time Room presented by Spellbinders
Sketch-A-Bird workshop taught by artist Leslie Lovejoy
Crane Yoga with Colleen Russo
Crane yard art display and silent auction featuring 25 beautifully decorated yard art cranes
Happy Hour at the Yampa Valley Brewing Hop House
Coloring Contest Awards Ceremony
Photography Contest Award Ceremony
Educational crane displays
2023 Workshop Leaders
Chris Becea – wildlife and pet photographer of Morning Light Photography
Ellen Bonnifield – Writer
Colleen Russo – Yoga teacher
Leslie Lovejoy – Artist
Julie Arington – Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Karen Vail – Botanist, Master Gardener
Laurel Watson – Hayden Museum
Cindy Wither – Artist
Mates for Life: A film series motivated by the natural phenomenon of species that mate for life. This first film of the series focuses on the Whooping Crane, an endangered species with a population of a little over 800.
Counting Cranes: In March, almost a million sandhill cranes pass through Nebraska’s Platte River Valley. For the past 20 years, the Crane Trust has conducted aerial surveys of sandhill crane roosts to get an accurate count of the number of birds that pass through. Andy Caven and his team take us behind the scenes to show us how this is done, what they have learned, and why it’s important.
Iridescent: When it comes to the discovery and documentation of birds, Tim Laman is one of the best in the world. Fellow bird lover and National Geographic photographer Keith Ladzinski reached out with an opportunity to go on safari in one of the world’s birding hotspots, Brazil’s Pantanal region. Tim jumped at the chance to photograph some of South America’s best birds.
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time: The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary conservation thinker Aldo Leopold, Green Fire explores Leopold’s extraordinary career and his enduring influence – tracing how he shaped the modern conservation movement and continues to inspire projects all over the country that connect people and the land.
Enjoy these pictures from the 12th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival:
We hope you can join us in 2024 for our 13th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival in beautiful Northwest Colorado!
Thank you to our 2023 Festival Sponsors and Partners
Leiden Conservation Foundation
The Yampa Valley Crane Festival
See the magic behind the festival – kid’s activities, crane viewings, and of course, the Sandhill Cranes that make it all possible.
Behind the Scenes of the Yampa Valley Crane Festival
Join along and experience the dedicated effort that goes into producing the crane festival each fall with this video produced by Jo Smith.