Name of organisation: ICF
Funding support: Various: government, foundations, endowment, members, admissions and sales
Number of staff: 40
Number of visitors per year: 27,000
Overall aims of the centre
To conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend.
Description of the centre
Located in Baraboo amid the farmlands of southern Wisconsin, ICF’s headquarters are just ten minutes from the Wisconsin Dells and surrounding Baraboo Hills. Visitors to our site can enjoy a guided tour of mated pairs of the fifteen species of the world’s cranes, take a hike on our nature trails to restored native Wisconsin wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, visit our environmental education center with numerous interactive exhibits, and browse nature themed items from around the world in our gift shop.
ICF is open to the public every day between April 15 and October 31 from 9 am to 5 pm. Each year more than 27,000 people visit our site.
Guided public tours are offered nearly every day at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Public tours are free with general admission and there is no need to pre-register. Guests may also explore the site on your own. We also offer school field trips and group tours tailored to each group’s needs and interests. Pre-registration is required for these tours.
Main CEPA work areas
Apart from our visitor program, ICF also does a significant amount of public outreach to communities concerned about or who should be concerned about cranes and their ecosystems. Through these outreach activities we reach well over an additional 25,000 children and adults each year. We also partner with Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education and others to develop interactive multi-media materials for formal and informal education to address threats to cranes and their ecosystems in North America. In addition our internet-based communication including our website, facebook page, twitter, and YouTube sites reach hundreds of a thousands of people around the world each year.
Top three successes
- In our visitor program we emphasize personal guided programs. We encourage all of our visitors to take part in at least one guided program. These are delivered by staff, interns and long-term volunteers.
- Our Whooping Crane exhibit is stellar. It is a very intimate immersion experience where you feel like you have entered a pair of whooping cranes breeding wetland territory. Visitors observe whooping cranes doing normal behaviors including feeding on the animals they would naturally find in wetland and grasslands in the wild.
- International exchanges. Our headquarters also serves as a conservation leadership center. Numerous international students and colleagues come through ICF. These guest are often involved in our visitor and outreach programs bringing international depth and insight to our North American audiences.
Top three challenges
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre; Building / maintaining structures
Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; PR and marketing; Running effective administration; Health and safety; Fund-raising; Project planning.