Nebraska Audubon selected Main Street Design to provide interpretive planning and design services for a comprehensive makeover and expansion of the visitor enter at its flagship facility on the Platte River. Long a “life list” destination for birders and nature lovers worldwide, the Sanctuary is the site of one of our planet’s great natural events, the annual stopover of tens of thousands of sandhill cranes at the midpoint of their migratory journey north.
Each year for six weeks in late winter crowds of self-described “craneiacs” descend on the Sanctuary to witness this phenomenon. But Audubon realized that the Center was underutilized the rest of the year, and more importantly, that existing interpretation did not effectively inform or engage visitors around the Society’s core messages and themes: stewardship, sustainability, and habitat restoration and preservation. Working closely with Sanctuary staff and stakeholders, Main Street developed conceptual directions for a new core exhibition that will serve crane season visitors and local audiences alike, locating the site and the crane migration in a larger ecological context and exploring how it has changed over time, how the cranes’ migration route overlaps many other species and connects the continent’s north and south extremes, and how Audubon and its partners are working to maintain critical habitats.