By Rachel Hollingworth, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Tim Eisele, one of our own board members, has chosen to donate two silent auction items this year, including a birdhouse and a framed photo that comes with an International Crane Foundation Membership. The photo, pictured below, features the first Wisconsin whooping crane hatched in the wild since the 1800s. To learn more about Tim, the birdhouse and his photograph, you can read his Q&A with us below.

Whooping Cranes Copyright Tim Eisele 2008

Eisele’s photograph, taken at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

Q:  How did you get involved with the Natural Resources Foundation and how long have you been with us?

A: I knew that NRF was involved with trying to help preserve public lands in the state and thought that that was a noteworthy effort and I wrote some articles about NRF back when Dan Trainer and Herb Behnke were on the board and later began making donations. Then I learned about the field trips and thought that was a great venue for “lifelong learning,” which is so important to us. Field trips help to keep us involved in natural resources and to learn as we get older.

Q:  Why should our members be excited to win an International Crane Foundation membership?

A: ICF, like so many conservation organizations, is a very good organization that has a unique niche of helping protect and restore cranes around the world. ICF gives people an opportunity to have an impact much larger than their own backyard, but in other states and other countries far away from Wisconsin. I think that ICF is another good conservation organization that people should know about and support.

Q:  Any particular story behind the bluebird house that you would like to share?

A: This is a very unique “log cabin” type of bluebird house. It was built by an artisan, whom I know and have written about, who lives in the Ozarks just outside of Branson, Missouri, and he obtains cedar that he uses to construct these unique bluebird houses. Many of his bluebird houses can now be found in Table Rock State Park on Table Rock Lake outside of Branson. They are unique and they work–I know because I bought one and have it on our land. Bluebirds nest in it every year!

bluebird house

The bluebird house, made by an artisan from the Missouri Ozarks.

Q:  Why did you choose this photograph, and what does it mean to you?

A: I think this is a historic and unique photo! This could be the first whooping crane that was conceived in the wild in Wisconsin by wild whooping cranes, hatched and survived since the 1800s. I took the photo at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and the DNR coordinator of the whooping crane reintroduction program was along on the foggy morning I took the photo and asked to see the photo afterwards. She confirmed that although we don’t have a lot of data going back to the 1800s: “The bird on the left is the first Wisconsin wild-hatched whooping crane (2006) on record since 1890.” I like to call the photo “On the Road to Recovery.”

Today there are only about 450 wild whooping cranes in the world. This bird, along with others in central Wisconsin, are part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, which was formed to establish a migratory population east of the Mississippi River to help insure the survival of whooping cranes.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most for the Foundation’s next ten years?

A: I would love to have at least half of the adult population in Wisconsin know what the initials NRF stand for in the next 10 years! I would also love it if all hunters and anglers would automatically get a membership in NRF along with their licenses!
Interested in learning more about our silent auction and 30th Anniversary celebration? Check out our 30th anniversary webpage.