...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kathleen Kaska on Writing About Robert Porter Allen and Whooping Cranes

Allen in his office.
Learning of Robert Porter Allen’s story, and seeing the whooping cranes myself on numerous occasions at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, inspired me to bring attention to Allen’s work preserving these magnificent birds. In 1984, I had the opportunity while studying marine biology at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, to observe dozens of shorebird species along the Texas coast. I returned one December to take my first whooping crane tour at the Aransas Refuge. Learning of the cranes’ endangerment, I immediately knew I wanted to make a difference in the species’ survival. As a middle-school science teacher, I included a bird unit in my environmental curriculum. I was determined to instill in my students a passion for any environmental cause.
Years later when I began freelance writing, I realized I had another outlet for spreading the word. In researching an article about whooping cranes for Texas Highways magazine, I learned that few people had ever heard of Robert Porter Allen or the work he did to save the species. This was when I decided to continue my research and turn the project into a book. Robert Porter Allen’s story needed to be told.

Check back next April 23 for an excerpt from the book. Better yet, sign up at the top right to be notified of new posts. See you then!

Kathleen Kaska, writer of fiction, nonfiction, stage plays, and travel articles has just completed her most challenging endeavor. The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane, a true story set in the 1940s and 50s, is about Audubon ornithologist Robert Porter Allen whose mission was to journey into the Canadian wilderness to save the last flock of whooping cranes before development wiped out their nesting site, sending them into extinction. Published by University Press of Florida and released in 2012, the book has been nominated for the George Perkins Marsh Award for environmental history. Kaska also writes the award-wining Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series.

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Want to learn more about the whooping crane, check out the following websites?


  1. Thanks for the giving me the opportunity to talk about the whoopers, Sheila.

  2. Kathleen, what a fascinating subject for a book! I'll be interested in reading the excerpt.