Richard Belifuss

Crane Fest Keynote ~ 50 years of Crane Conservation with Dr. Richard Beilfuss

Saturday, September 2, 2023 - 1:30pm to 2:45pm
  • Library Hall
A free community talk with the President & CEO of the International Crane Foundation

"Reflecting Back, Flying Forward" as the International Crane Foundation turns 50 years old

Cranes, with their deep cultural connections, high visibility, extraordinary beauty, dramatic migrations, and striking behaviors, serve as flagships and ambassadors for conservation on five continents. Cranes also are among the most endangered families of birds in the world, with long-term impacts of wetland and grassland destruction, water diversions, climate change, fires, invasive species, illegal trade, shootings, and other threats. We will share lessons learned from 50 years of conservation action, and innovative ways forward to recover endangered crane populations and promote healthy wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands through the charisma of cranes. In these divided times, we will share how cranes can bring us together to protect threatened lands, sustain water resources, combat climate change, and improve community livelihoods and well-being in Asia, Africa, and North America. We’ll also explore what it will take to fully recover Whooping Cranes from the brink of extinction and keep Sandhill Cranes successful across our rich agricultural landscapes.

About the speaker

Richard Beilfuss, Ph.D., is President and CEO of the International Crane Foundation. Beilfuss first joined ICF in 1988, conducting his graduate research on the restoration of important crane sites in Vietnam and Mozambique. From 1992-2005 he developed and directed the ICF Africa Program, spearheading long-term efforts to restore the water-stressed Zambezi River Basin for people and wildlife, and contributing to wetland conservation efforts and capacity building in more than a dozen African countries. From 2005-2009, Beilfuss lived with his family in Mozambique, where he served as Director of Scientific Services for Gorongosa National Park. He speaks Portuguese and Nepali.

Beilfuss is a leader in the emerging field of environmental flows, which focuses on managing water flows to sustain rivers, wetlands, and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems. He serves as a Senior Advisor to the World Wildlife Fund and an Affiliate of the Natural Heritage Institute on water issues, and is an Adjunct Professor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering and for the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, where he teaches courses and supervises students.

Beilfuss lives with his wife Katie, and their two sons, in Madison, Wisconsin. He is an avid runner, wetland-stomper, and dart-thrower, but not all at the same time.

About the Yampa Valley Crane Festival: Aug. 31- Sept. 3, 2023

The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. Returning in the spring, cranes nest and raise their young in wetland areas throughout the valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The Yampa Valley Crane Festival celebrates these iconic birds with daily crane viewings, expert speakers, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. Bud Werner Memorial Library is festival headquarters and the venue for many of these talks, films and events. Learn more about the 12th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival.