The 50th-anniversary celebration of the International Crane Foundation in Beijing, China
Reprinted from Guangming Daily by Xu Tan
On December 7, our staff and colleagues gathered in Beijing, China, to celebrate the International Crane Foundation’s 50th anniversary. Dr. George Archibald, Co-Founder, Crawford Prentice, Vice President of International – Asia Programs, and Claire Mirande, Grants Officer/Asia Program Manager of the International Crane Foundation, as well as representatives from Beijing, Inner Mongolia, and Heilongjiang, China, attended the celebration. Nearly 80 representatives from government departments, protected areas, scientific research institutions, and non-governmental organizations from Jilin, Liaoning, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, and other places gathered in Beijing to recall the past of the Foundation and talk about the future.
Opening remarks were provided by Wang Chunfeng, Executive Deputy Director of the Foreign Cooperation and Exchange Center of the State Forestry and Grasslands Administration, Wu Minglu, Secretary-general of the China Wildlife Conservation Association, Zhang Zhengwang, Chairman of the Crane Joint Committee of the China Wildlife Conservation Association, and Liu Bin, Deputy Director of the Jiangxi Provincial Forestry Bureau. The speakers introduced the cooperation process with the International Crane Foundation and congratulated the Foundation on its 50th anniversary.
On behalf of the International Crane Foundation, Crawford welcomed all the guests to this event and thanked everyone for their recognition and support of the Foundation’s work over the years.
In 1973, two young ornithologists, George Archibald and Ron Sauey, founded the International Crane Foundation. Over the past 50 years, the Foundation has promoted the protection of migratory waterbirds represented by cranes and their habitats in more than 50 countries worldwide through conservation demonstrations, scientific consultation, policy advice, talent training, project funding and other means. After the International Crane Foundation entered China in 1979, it worked closely with its partners to carry out work focusing on the protection of Siberian Cranes, Black-necked Cranes, White-naped Cranes and Red-crowned Cranes, making contributions to the protection of China’s cranes and wetlands.
At the event, George used humorous language and many old photos full of memories to review with everyone the founding of the International Crane Foundation, how he became associated with China, and how he worked with Chinese friends.
Crawford introduced the Foundation’s work in Asia from the perspective of protecting the East Asian Crane Flyway, especially the experience of the Siberian Crane GEF Project and the Climate Change Adaptation Project. Yu Qian, the chief representative of the International Crane Foundation’s Beijing Representative Office, introduced achievements in the protection of Siberian Cranes, White-naped Cranes, and Black-necked Cranes since the establishment of the Beijing office in 2017, as well as the innovative environmental education model “Little Crane School.”
During the sharing session, the guests shared their own stories. They witnessed the struggle of the International Crane Foundation and several generations of Chinese crane protectors, from its founding to pioneering and rapid development. Subsequently, the Foundation presented exclusive souvenirs to partner institutions.
The crane’s cry is heard in the sky. The person in charge of the International Crane Foundation said that the shared mission of “crane protection” closely connects the Foundation with new and old friends and that the Foundation is willing to work with more colleagues for the next 50 and 100 years.