Operation Migration (O.M.) Team 2007

Meet the team that shows captive-bred Whooping Crane chicks where to migrate by leading the way in ultralight airplanes!
(Click on each photo.)

Joe Duff, Canadian Co-founder of Operation Migration (O.M.). Joe is Team Leader, CEO and senior pilot of O.M, the WCEP partner that leads the ultralight migration. His daughter Alex is 8 years old. Joe was a well-known photographer before he became an ultralight pilot and leader in saving endangered species.

Hear Joe

Richard van Heuvelen, Operation Migration (O.M.) pilot. Richard led the ground crew for the 2001 migration and filled in as back-up pilot. Since 2002 he's been a team pilot. A Canadian, he has four daughters: Megan, Sara, Katie and Jessie. Richard is also a master sculptor. Joe Duff says of Richard: "If anything is broken he can fix it and if it doesn't exist he can create it."

Brooke Pennypacker, Operation Migration pilot since 2002. Brooke has a great sense of humor and a son named Devin. Brooke once built a raft to drift down the Mississippi while reading Huckleberry Finn. He is also a skilled diver and worked on the oil rigs off the coast of Scotland.

Video clip of Brooke's Greeting to You

Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration pilot since 2005. Chris is an experienced trike instructor and has a natural way with birds. He runs storm watch tours on the side so he is the team's weather consultant. Read about his first flight with the cranes when he became an Operation Migration pilot in 2005.





Bev Paulan is O.M.'s Supervisor of Field Operations. She is known as "Chick Mama" because she is involved with each year's chicks from hatch to release in Florida after migration.

Bev is from Antioch, IL. Bev is also a pilot. She had her own charter plane service for 15 years. Bev has worked as a teacher at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Hear Bev tell the hardest part of wearing the costume.

Audio clips courtesy Mark Chenoweth of Whooper Happenings.

Charlie Shafer, former O.M. Intern, now works full time at Patuxent WRC where the chicks hatch. He has a degree in biology and helps as a crane handler in summer at Necedah.

Charlie is involved with each year’s chicks from hatch in Maryland to release in Florida after migration.

He served on the ground crew as a tracker but left the migration Nov. 9 to return to his duties at Patuxent.

Megan Kennedy, .OM. Intern, loves being with the birds. (She can talk to ducks!) Megan was a 4-H member for 7 years. Her degree from UW Madison is in poultry science. She knows a lot about environmental science and wildlife ecology. Her goal is to work to save wild species.

Megan is also a musician. She played percussion and balalaika with the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra.

Nathan Hurst joined O.M. as an Intern after getting a degree Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin. Nathan says "There's nothing like being with the birds and seeing them grow and learn to fly."

Nathan is from Stevens Point, WI. He has been interested in the birds around his family home since he was a boy. Now he likes Ultimate Frisbee—and, of course, Whooping Cranes!

Hear Megan and Nathan.
Audio clip courtesy Mark Chenoweth of Whooper Happenings.
Meet other key experts helping with the migration.>>
Walter Sturgeon has 30 years of experience handling cranes. He is a welcome volunteer with the ground crew ! Walt is retired Assistant Director of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. Pilot Matt Ahrens filled in for Joe for part of the migration. Matt started out in Tennessee, flew a complete series of flights over Georgia, and finished in Florida. The team loved his great spirit and great cooking! Canadians Don and Paula Lounsbury volunteer as top-cover pilots for Operation Migration. Their dog comes along too! They keep in touch with air traffic control AND all the ultralight pilots during each leg of the flight.


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).