Speaker: Chester McConnell, President of the Friends of the Wild Whoopers
The Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a private, non-profit group with a mission to assist in the protection and management of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes. They prepare management plans for these areas to protect, improve and develop “stopover habitats” for migration.
McConnell spent most of his professional career of 54 years evaluating land use and stream projects, wetland protection, conducting wildlife research, monitoring populations and managing wildlife habitats. Since retiring, he has focused his time on whooping cranes, wetland protection and stream protection.
McConnell holds bachelor’s degrees in both biology and political science from Livingston University, as well as master of science degrees in wildlife management and botany from Auburn University. McConnell’s interest in Whooping Cranes got started when he was in the 5th grade. At that time, he read a brief article in the which explained that the Whoopers had returned to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, and unlike today, no one knew where the birds went to in the summer months. McConnell eventually became a lifetime member of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association. He was appointed as a trustee and served as president one term. He managed their website and newsletter (his wife was associate editor) for 14 years. Currently, McConnell serves as president of Friends of the Wild Whoopers, a private, non-profit group. He has evaluated potential whooping crane habitats on 21 military bases, 8 Indian reservations and 14 Army Corps of Engineers lakes.