The annual midwest crane count : development of a program plan /
Abstract (Summary)The International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes and the wetland, grassland, and other ecosystems on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems. Accordingly, ICF’s programs seek to support and help accomplish this mission. One of these programs, in ICF’s Conservation Education Department, is the Annual Midwest Crane Count (Crane Count). The goal of this study was to develop a Program Plan for the Crane Count. Although the Crane Count began in 1976, it has evolved on an informal basis from a onecounty sandhill crane survey in Columbia County, Wisconsin, to a two-species survey of more than 100 counties in portions of five Upper Midwestern states. The Program Plan establishes a mission, goals, and objectives for the Crane Count, with specific recommendations for future improvements and direction. This plan was created through a variety of sequential steps including: a) review and content analysis of historic program documents, b) assessment of current program status through the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) publication NonformalEnvironmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence (NEEPGE), c) stakeholder input through questionnaires and a focus group, d) development of a logic model of displaying current program components, and e) evaluation of current program educational materials with another NAAEE publication, EnvironmentalEducationMaterials:GuidelinesforExcellence (EEMGE). A variety of major findings resulted from the process of Program Plan development. After development of a program mission, goals, and objectives, it was revealed that only 30% of v the Crane Count’s objectives are currently being addressed. The Crane Count’s status as an environmental education program, as determined through NEEPGE, revealed ample opportunity to further enrich the Crane Count with existing environmental education research and resources, especially in the area of evaluation. The evaluation of the Crane Count’s current resources with EEMGE revealed that the resources are functional, but are especially weak in the areas of action orientation and emphasis on skills building. Exploration of the program’s primary stakeholders brought several unknown pieces of information to light. Stakeholders are heavily skewed towards a 45 years of age and older demographic. Most of these individuals evidence a long-term committment to the Crane Count, and desire a number of program improvements. Strong motivations behind their involvement include: as a contribution to a conservation organization, to improve understanding of crane populations, and to introduce others to or to experience the natural world. This Program Plan will be used by ICF’s Conservation Education Department in the continued implementation and development of the Crane Count. Through use of the Program Plan, ICF can a) determine program direction in the context of strategic planning outcomes, b) better justify the Crane Count and its resource needs, c) begin measuring program effectiveness with established objectives, d) improve the program for volunteer participants, and e) more effectively work to support ICF’s mission and Conservation Education Department efforts.
School Location:USA - Wisconsin
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:cranes birds bird populations middle west
Date of Publication: