History - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation



The story of the International Crane Foundation began in 1971 at Cornell University with two students who shared a passion for cranes. Ornithology students Ron Sauey and George Archibald envisioned an organization that would combine research, captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration and education to safeguard the world’s 15 crane species. In 1973, with the generosity of the Sauey family – who rented their horse farm to Ron and George for $1 a year! – the International Crane Foundation “hatched” in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

In our first four decades, we have developed unique collaborations and led effective community-based conservation programs, important research projects and innovative captive breeding and reintroduction efforts. These endeavors have inspired international cooperation, helped improve livelihoods for people around the world and lead to the protection of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands on the five continents where cranes live (learn more about our work).

Today, the International Crane Foundation’s impact reaches across the globe. We maintain a regional base in China and share program offices with partner organizations in Cambodia, India, South Africa, Texas, Vietnam and Zambia. Our approximately 74 team members work with a network of hundreds of specialists in over 50 countries on five continents.

Our nearly 300-acre global headquarters in Baraboo, Wisc. hosts a captive flock of approximately 100 cranes, including the only complete collection of all 15 species in the world. Our site, which features live crane exhibits, guided and self-guided tours, a research library, visitor center and four miles of nature trails, is visited by more than 25,000 people annually (click here to plan your visit).

We don’t have any plans of slowing down now. With 11 of the world’s 15 crane species facing extinction, our future promises to be one of continued growth and innovation to meet the growing challenges. We thank you for being a part of our history – and for supporting our future as we work to protect cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend.