Hank Lentfer, author and lifelong Alaskan, helped establish a 4,000-acre refuge for Sandhill Cranes—the Gustavus Forelands Preserve. Today, some 20,000 Sandhill Cranes use the preserve to rest and refuel. Along the way, they've helped Hank make his own journey—one from despair to hope. "It's easy in the avalanche of grim news to feel isolated, but it's in the act of joining others to speak for what you love that you can feel a kindred spirit with all these other people."
Sandhill Cranes and the Journey Toward Hope
An Interview with Hank Lentfer
Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Calls of Sandhill Cranes – migrating overhead]
Hank Lentfer, author and lifelong Alaskan, helped establish a 4,000-acre refuge for Sandhill Cranes. Every fall and spring, the cranes stop at the Gustavus Forelands Preserve to rest and refuel. Many are migrating between the Arctic and the rice fields of California. Today, some 20,000 Sandhill Cranes use the preserve. [Calls of Sandhill Cranes] Along the way, they’ve helped Hank make his own journey – one from despair to hope.
HL: I live in what feels to me the center of paradise. But when efforts were ramping up to send oil rigs into the Arctic Refuge, I got pried out of my little refuge.
Hank petitioned Washington, joined his local town council, and became a voice for a tax on carbon.
HL: I went because that was the continuing effort to turn public lands into private profits. So I felt compelled to join that particular effort, but it was really part of a wider effort saying, “Stop. There has to be a limit.”
[Call of a Sandhill Crane – migrating]
It’s easy in the avalanche of grim news to feel isolated … and to feel alone in our sadness. …It’s the act of joining other people in the name of conservation, which is a path out of despair and into hope. [Calls of Sandhill Cranes – migrating]
To learn how you can join fellow bird-lovers in conservation, visit birdnote.org.
I’m Michael Stein.
Sounds of the Sandhill Cranes provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Small flock  and large flock  recorded by A.A. Allen, individual  recorded by G.A.Keller.
Sounds of Sandhill Cranes used behind Hank’s narrative recorded by Richard Nelson.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer Emeritus: Chris Peterson
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
© 2005-2019 BirdNote December 2011/2017 2019 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# SotB-SHCR-01-2011-12-27 SotB-SHCR-01
Find a link to Hank Lentfer’s book, Faith of Cranes, on our website, https://www.birdnote.org/show/sandhill-cranes-interview-hank-lentfer.