Thanks to the love of two women for the beautiful whooping cranes, and their desire to see these birds survive as a species, our Whooping Crane Conservation Association is able to preserve critical wintering habitat on the Texas Coast. Both women named our Association in their wills. We wish to honor their memory and contributions.
LURAE AHRENDES BRINKERHOFFF, of Green River, Wyoming, died April 20, 1996. Born in Los Angeles, California, March, 1940, she earned a degree in music education and continued her training in music, teaching, wildlife, photography, and calligraphy until her death. She believed that one’s education should never end. Lurae taught instrumental music in public schools for 24 years and upon her retirement she continued to teach classes on Wyoming Wildlife and served as a conservation volunteer. From 1986 to 1994 she served as a volunteer at Gray’s Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho, assisting with administrative details, greeting visitors, and doing field studies. She loved to watch sandhill cranes and cross-fostered whooping cranes, keeping records on their behavior and movements in southeastern Idaho. She assisted in banding sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans and retrieved and cared for sick or injured birds. In 1990, the Whooping Crane Conservation Association awarded Lurae a Certificated of Appreciation in recognition of her conservation efforts. In 1996, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized her substantial contribution towards recovery of the whooping crane. During her lifetime she received other awards for music, leadership, and photography. The Gray’s Lake Marsh Overlook, on the refuge, is dedicated in her memory. In her will she bequeathed $281,515 to the Association and these funds provided a major portion of the monies now committed to acquire wintering habitat for whooping cranes.
ELIZABETH F. “BETTY” OVERTON, of Pueblo, Colorado, died August 27, 1998. Born August 24, 1915, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, she and her husband Robert B. Overton made generous contributions to the Whooping Crane Conservation Association throughout their lifetime. Robert, a newspaper columnist and conservationist, preceded her in death in 1994. Betty worked as a Girl Scout Professional in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Michigan City, Indiana, before joining the Red Cross to work in military hospitals in Hawaii with wounded servicemen during World War II. After the war she became head of the Girl Scouts in Pueblo, Colorado and first Director of Camp Lazy Acres. After marriage she became a fifth grade teacher at Central Grade School in Pueblo. In 1996, Betty received the Whooping Crane Conservation Association’s Certificate of Appreciation for her untiring efforts as Chair of the Information and Education Committee. Other recognitions of her abilities include the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society Environmental\Education Award, runner-up in the Colorado conservation NACO-Allis Chalmer contest, and a Certificate of Merit from the Silver Star Lodge for service to community youth. In her will she donated $36,260 for continued support of conservation efforts for recovery of whooping cranes. Her donation, and that of Ms. Brinkerhoff, made it possible for the Association to protect Texas crane habitats and set them aside as sanctuaries for whooping cranes.