A Wisconsin Family's Legacy
With a love for nature and animals that began as a child in the Washington Park Zoo in Milwaukee, Frederick (Fred) Dohmen traveled the world with his family exploring wild things and unique places. It was on one of these adventures, recalls Mary Dohmen, Fred's second wife, where "they became a family." It was also during these travels where a shared passion for conservation grew among the Dohmens, Fred, Mary, and Fred's sons William and Bob.
Inspired by early adventurers Martin and Osa Johnson, the Dohmen family visited Africa in the early 1970's where they were forever changed by the continent's diversity. To encourage Bob's fascination with hippos, Fred brought his family to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to visit a place where hippos exist in their highest densities on the planet. Fred accompanied Bob as he ventured from their safari vehicle—against the better judgment of their guide—to within fifty feet of as many hippos wallowing in mud. Bob describes that unique experience as one of his most memorable moments in nature.
Having taught elementary school in Baraboo at the beginning of her career, Mary Dohmen had a special place in her heart for the hilly landscape surrounding the International Crane Foundation. Mary and Fred visited ICF in the 1990's and after a tour with friend and co-founder George Archibald, began generously supporting ICF's work to protect cranes and their habitats. Fred later shared his interest in crane conservation with his son Bob and he too became involved.
Africa has remained a special place for the Dohmen family and through ICF they were able to focus their desire to protect its cranes and wild places by creating the Dohmen Endowment for African Cranes and Wetlands. The fund generates income each year that directly supports ICF's diverse conservation programs on this important continent for cranes. Today, thanks to the generosity and shared commitment of the Dohmen family, the fund has grown to nearly $250,000 and will continue to support our work in Africa into the future.
Bob Dohmen has also committed his time and talent to crane conservation by serving on ICF's Board of Directors where he shares his passion and experience gained running his family's fifth-generation pharmaceutical business, the F. Dohmen Company. Bob's leadership and invaluable counsel now helps guide and expand ICF's work throughout the world.
Sadly, ICF and cranes lost a good friend last spring when Fred Dohmen passed away at the age of 88. Adding to the legacy Fred leaves through his son's leadership and his family's continued impact on our Africa program, ICF recently learned that Fred also made a provision in his will to support crane conservation. Fred's gift, as all planned gifts to ICF (unless otherwise directed), became part of our growing conservation program endowment which was established by donors to ensure that future funds would be available to protect cranes.
The world is fortunate to have the Dohmens as friends and champions of cranes and the special places where they are found. "The Dohmen family has made and continues to make tremendous impacts on our work" said George Archibald "we are honored to advance in Fred's memory and through their continued friendship."
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. IMLS fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries.
Thanks to a recent grant from IMLS, ICF will be able to purchase video equipment that will allow remote monitoring and improvement of the social and physical environment of our captive Whooping Cranes. The equipment will enable us to better manage our breeding Whooping Cranes in order to increase the number of chicks reintroduced to the wild. The equipment also will allow us to share the images captured with our visitors in a new educational display and on our website.
ICF was among 186 applicants for a 2004 Conservation Project Support (CPS) grant, of which only 66 received funding. CPS awards fund a wide range of projects to help museums safeguard their collections, including conservation training, surveys, and treatment. Museums of every type, from art to zoo, are eligible for funding. These grants, which are awarded by a competitive peer review process, help museums undertake their most critical conservation activities. In 2000, IMLS added an educational funding component to heighten public awareness of conservation issues.
For more information, please visit the IMLS website.
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF) aims to promote the knowledge, protection and enjoyment of our natural resources, inspiring local citizens to take actions that ensure that Wisconsin's natural heritage is protected for future generations. NRF funds numerous programs at the grassroots level, ranging from invasive plant removal to fish crib construction. NRF enjoys a unique relationship with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as the Foundation generates and offers financial support to the agency for programs that benefit Wisconsin's natural resources.
As colleagues in the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), ICF and NRF are working closely together to establish a new migratory, breeding population of endangered Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin. NRF's unique role in WCEP is to locate supplemental financial support to fuel this exciting and historic project.
In May 2004, NRF and ICF held a special crane event at ICF's headquarters in Baraboo to celebrate WCEP and to recognize individual NRF Crane Club members who support the reintroduction project through their generous contributions. During the festivities, NRF Executive Director, Charlie Luthin (left) presented ICF President Jim Harris with a symbolic check for $33,805, representing the amount of support that NRF has provided to ICF this year. Mr. Luthin also handed over keys to a van dubbed the "Whoopermobile," purchased with NRF dollars. The vehicle will assist ICF staff with their Whooping Crane field efforts. NRF also supports ICF intern Lara Fondow, who tracks the migration of the young Whooping Cranes post-release.
ICF wishes to thank NRF for its past and continuing support of the cranes.
For more information, please visit NRF's website.
Mead Witter Foundation Establishes China Endowment Fund
At the end of 2006, Mead Witter Foundation of Wisconsin Rapids made a grant of $155,000 to establish the Mead Witter China Endowment Fund. The grant will support ICF's work in China, which, as home to eight species of cranes, boasts more than any other country in the world.
ICF was one of the first conservation organizations to work in China, beginning in 1979. Our diverse activities have included using satellites to better understand bird migrations and working with local communities such as Cao Hai in Guizhou Province to address issues of poverty and wetland protection.
Current projects include restoring water flows to some of the vast wetlands of northeast China and coordinating parallel education programs in China and the United States to teach children about cranes, our respective cultures, and the importance of land and water conservation. The new endowment provides important support to sustain ICF's commitment and effectiveness in a country that is vitally important for cranes.
The Mead Witter Foundation has also been a major supporter of the reintroduction of Whooping Cranes into central Wisconsin. We are very grateful for the Foundation's continued generosity and concern for cranes and their habitats worldwide.
The Antonia Foundation was founded in 1991 by Annette Marra in Fox Point, Wisconsin, and is dedicated to wildlife conservation and the restoration of natural habitats. In 2006, ICF received a generous, five-year grant from the Antonia Foundation in support of educational and breeding programs related to the recovery of the endangered Whooping Crane. With this grant, ICF has been able to purchase and install camera equipment and fiber optic cable that transmits video of these rare birds engaged in courtship dancing, nest building, incubation and chick-rearing in our captive breeding facility at our campus in Baraboo. In combination with existing exhibits and educational materials, this behind-the-scenes view will enhance our visitors’ understanding of crane biology, captive management of these birds and the science of reintroduction. Additionally, ICF aviculturists are capturing live video using this equipment to monitor unique socializing behaviors between birds that we hope will become successful breeding pairs in the future. Such behaviors have been difficult to observe until we had access to this technology – staff can control the cameras’ zoom and pan features remotely to prevent disturbances to the birds.
We are grateful for the Antonia Foundation’s generosity and support of ICF’s efforts to educate the public about cranes and conservation.