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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Cranes & Cather: Migration in Life and Literature

Cranes & Cather: Migration in Life and Literature

Friday, March 19, 2021 - 6:00am to 8:00pm
National Willa Cather Center
425 N. Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970

Join us Friday, March 19, 2021, at the National Willa Cather Center as we partner with the Willa Cather Archive and the Great Plains Art Museum for a day of Cranes and Cather! This year, we'll feature a cafeteria-style itinerary, with guests joining from near and far!


Willa Cather knew the beauty of her central Nebraska home and depicted this landscape in six of her novels  and many short stories. Our Cranes & Cather event ties the best of today’s Great Plains writing with the historic and unique landscape of Cather’s written world, and for many, the quintessential Nebraska experience is a trip to the Platte to witness the ancient migration of the Sandhill cranes. This year, our readings will focus on migration and its centrality to our Nebraska lives. Guests may choose virtual or socially distanced in-person experiences, according to their comfort levels, with the Red Cloud Opera House serving as a central way station. Weather permitting, we will travel by caravan to the Platte to experience the cranes live at one of the public viewing areas; the crane blind experience, offered both at dawn and dusk, will be conducted virtually.


We're pleased to feature a poetry reading by Twyla Hansen, former state poet of Nebraska and author of Rock • Tree • Bird, and a short lecture by biologist Larkin Powell, who will discuss his book Great Plains Birds; the readings will be followed by a live Q&A session over Zoom. This year, we're also partnering with the Center for Great Plains Studies and the Great Plains Art Museum, who will offer a virtual gallery experience of Jude Martindale's exhibit, The Great Migration: A Celebration of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska.

Registrants for this event will receive digital access information by March 18, 2021. Registration must be received by March 15, 2021, for all in-person registrations. All times listed are Central time zone.


Event Information

Event Information
Event Information

Your $50 In-Person Registration Includes:

  • 6:45 a.m. Dawn virtual crane viewing & blind tour (remote or in the Red Cloud Opera House)
  • 9:00 a.m. Coffee & rolls to go
  • 12:00 p.m.Boxed lunches to go
  • 3:00 p.m. Readings with Twyla Hansen & Larkin Powell, followed by live Zoom discussion and Q&A
  • 5:00 p.m. Weather permitting, caravan to the Platte for live crane viewing at public bridge
  • 6:45 p.m. Dusk virtual crane viewing & blind tour (remote or in the Red Cloud Opera House)

Throughout the day:

Your $35 Digital Access Registration Includes:

  • 6:45 a.m. Dawn virtual crane viewing & blind tour 
  • 3:00 p.m. Readings and live Zoom panel discussion and Q&A with Twyla Hansen & Larkin Powell
  • 6:45 p.m. Dusk virtual crane viewing & blind tour

Throughout the day:

 * All times listed are Central time zone.



Twyla Hansen

Twyla M. Hansen’s newest book of poetry, Rock • Tree • Bird, won the 2018 WILLA Literary Award for Poetry from Women Writing the West and the 2018 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry from the Nebraska Center for the Book. She has presented poetry readings and creative writing workshops through Humanities Nebraska since 1993, and her writing is published in the Academy of American Poets (, Poetry Out Loud Anthology (, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, Organization & Environment, Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, and many more.  Hansen served as Nebraska State Poet from 2013 to 2018, and is co-director of Poetry from the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective ( She lives in Lincoln on a wooded and wildflowered acre maintained as an urban wildlife habitat, which won the Mayor’s Landscape Conservation Award in 1997.

Larkin Powell

Larkin Powell is a professor of conservation biology and animal ecology in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He serves as Associate Dean for Experiential Education for UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Powell teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on wildlife management and research, and his research program focuses on landscape dynamics, animal demography and movements, and decisions made by private landowners in the Great Plains and throughout the world. He is the author of Great Plains Birds (University of Nebraska Press) and a textbook, Principles for Management of Fisheries and Wildlife: the manager as decision-maker (Cognella).


Hosted by the National Willa Cather Center, with support from:
Willa Cather Archive and the Great Plains Art Museum and Center for Great Plains Studies

Emily Rau, Managing Editor, Willa Cather Archive

Rachel Olsen, Education Coordinator, National Willa Cather Center

Tracy Tucker, Education Director, National Willa Cather Center
Ashley Wilkinson, Great Plains Art Museum
Katie Nieland, Center for Great Plains Studies