GIBBON — Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary will host its 12th annual Family Crane Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

This event, designed for all ages, puts an emphasis on fun and learning. It will offer a “great opportunity” to learn all about cranes through activities, touchable exhibits, face painting and much more. Bring cameras for a variety of photo opportunities.

This year’s special guest will be Alan Bartels, who will offer a reading from his children’s book, “What’s Going Down in Prairie Dog Town.”

There is no admission charge, but donations are always appreciated.

Rowe will host several “Speaker Series” programs during crane season. There is no admission charge for any of these programs. The schedule includes:

“Sandhill Crane Collisions with Power Lines Reduced with Ultraviolet Light,” presented by James Dwyer with EDM International, 10 a.m. Saturday, March 23. Dwyer will present on his scientific study focused on the powerlines at Rowe Sanctuary.

Hundreds of sandhill cranes die annually in collisions with power lines at the Iain Nicolson Center at Rowe Sanctuary. Collisions occur even though the power line at Rowe is marked with devices intended to increase the visibility of wires to cranes in flight. To address this, an ultraviolet light Avian Collision Avoidance System was designed and tested. In a randomized study, 48 crane collisions were documented when the ACAS was off and only one collision occurred when the system was on. This presentation will discuss the study in detail and provide explore the potential impact of these results to mitigation avian collision globally.

“Beyond Boundaries: Bird Conservation from Cities to Ranches,” presented by Kristol Stoner, executive director of Audubon Nebraska, 10 a.m. Saturday, March 30. Stoner will discuss conservation strides Audubon is making.

Conserving birds for future generations will take more than a village, it will take a city, children and ranchers. Across the Great Plains, grasslands are declining, but new partnerships with ranchers are making grassland conservation sustainable. As our urban areas grow, the need to create and responsibly manage habitat within these landscapes becomes increasing important for birds and pollinators. Learn about two of Audubon’s initiatives and the opportunities for conservation in both cities and ranches to improve the environment for birds and their habitat.

“Getting Better Photographs Using the Camera on Your Phone,” presented by Don Brockmeier, 10 a.m. Saturday, April 6. Brockmeier, a photographer and longtime volunteer at Rowe Sanctuary, will be teaching tips and tricks to take the best photos using the camera on your cell phone. Participants should be a little familiar with photography terms, as many will be used to describe how to adjust the settings on your camera effectively.

Other events on the schedule are a “Crane Celebration” on April 4, and a “spring adventure” on April 13.

— A celebration of “America’s Greatest Migration,” is planned for 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 4. The event kicks off with an (optional) Habitat Hayride Tour and Presentation with Andrew Pierson, conservation director. A reception and presentation follow at 5:30; enjoy hors d’oeuvres, dessert and wine while learning about Audubon’s mission on the Platte River and future plans for Rowe Sanctuary.

Crane viewing starts at 6:30 p.m.; take in the sights and sounds of the cranes returning to the river from Rowe’s river viewing blinds.

Casual attire is requested; dress warm for the habitat tour and viewing from the unheated river blinds.

The cost is $50 per person and the reservation deadline is March 29.

“Rowe Adventures: Searching for Spring,” is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13.

Families will explore Rowe Sanctuary’s trails along the Platte River, completing a “looking for signs of spring” scavenger hunt. Guests can make their very own “binoculars” to help them on their hunt. In addition to discovering their own signs of spring, young scientists will learn about native pollinators – bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds and how they help the flowers grow.

Rowe Sanctuary is located at 44450 Elm Island Road south of Gibbon. For more information, call (308) 468-5282 or check online at

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