Help us Write the Shack’s Next Chapters

Leopold Week  •  Programs and Events

The Aldo Leopold Foundation will be closed to the public for a private event on Saturday, September 30.

Sandhill cranes landing on sandy island

Volunteers Needed: Crane Counts

We’re looking for volunteers to help count fall-roosting sandhill cranes along the Wisconsin River. For the past ten years, the Aldo Leopold Foundation in collaboration with the International Crane Foundation has conducted counts of sandhill cranes to better understand the populations and migration patterns of the birds. Using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protocol, volunteers will make accurate, comprehensive counts throughout the months of November and December. This opportunity, while helping the Aldo Leopold Foundation gather valuable data, will also allow volunteers to spend an evening or two enjoying the beauty of Leopold’s landscape and the phenomenon of the sandhill cranes as they congregate along the Wisconsin River.

About the Cranes

Leopold would marvel today at the spectacle of the sandhill cranes. Their pre-migration gathering each fall on the Wisconsin River’s sandbars and islands just behind his beloved Shack is captivating. During his lifetime, Leopold noted their diminishing population and feared they would succumb to extinction. However, since their resurgence, the Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm has become the region’s premier vantage point to experience the incredible sights and sounds as the cranes congregate by the thousands before commencing their annual southerly journey. Learn more about the local cranes in the blog post “What in the World Did We Do to Deserve All These Cranes?” by Dr. Stan Temple.

Volunteer Details

Counts will be conducted bi-weekly between November 1st and December 15th on the Aldo Leopold Foundation property along the Wisconsin River. Counts will run from about 5:00 pm until dusk. Volunteers will be outdoors in the elements. Please plan dress appropriately for the weather to be comfortable outside for a couple of hours. If you have any questions or would like to sign up to take advantage of this opportunity, reach out to Ian Cotten at, or 608-355-0279 ext. 31.