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Cranes, Conservation, and Celebrations - Saturday 1:00pm - 2:00pm Vali 3 Theatre (Donation requested)

The talk will review the life story of the sandhill crane, emphasizing behavior.  It will talk to the importance of conservation to sandhill cranes and sandhill cranes to conservation and will end with a discussion of the importance of celebrations like the Monte Vista Crane festival to both cranes and their conservation.  

Who Am I?  I graduated from Colorado State University with a BS and MS in wildlife biology.  I worked for then-Colorado Division of Wildlife, now Colorado Parks and Wildlife for 35 years; serving first as a big game researcher and later as Mammals Research Leader.  I have had a lifelong interest in wildlife and in wildlife photography since I was 11 years old.  Beginning in 2004 I combined my interest in wildlife with my interest in photography and began writing stories about wildlife and how they make a living in a challenging world.  Most of those stories have been published in Colorado Outdoors magazine.


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Keynote Talk Saturday 7:00 pm - Vali 3 Theatre 

Join Erv Nichols and Sandra Noll on their six-month journey following Sandhill Crane migration including wintering grounds in New Mexico,  a mass staging area along Nebraska’s Plate River and breeding grounds in Alaska including encounters with other interesting wildlife along the way. Facts and photographs are woven into an entertaining tapestry of their journey and relationship with this remarkable bird.

Saturday 3-4pm Talk: 3D tour of San Luis Valley Geology - Vali 3 Theatre (Donation requested)

The San Luis Valley is an unusual place that becomes more interesting as one learns about it. Its features from the broad flat floor to the drastically different mountains surrounding it are all the result of different geologic forces that act upon the area. Thanks to a 2011 laser mapping project by the US Geological Survey, we now have a very accurate topography of the San Luis Valley to show the 3-dimensional evidence of these forces. So come learn about how the San Luis Valley formed and the next time you look upon it, you'll know the story behind the scenery.

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Andrew Valdez is a native of Capulin, CO (a small town south of the Monte Vista NWR) and graduated from Adams State College with a geology degree. He has worked at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve for 25 years. At the dunes, he collects data on the physical environment that helps understand processes that form the dunes and meet water rights obligations. He also works with other researchers to better understand things such as how dunes on Mars develop and how dunes here on Earth start off as just sand and organizes itself into a dune.

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Monte Vista Crane Festival 

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