Loading Events

« All Events

Program and Meeting

January 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Shorebird Big Year at Cheyenne Bottoms by Dr. Robert Penner, and Great Bend Sand Prairie by Elsi Miller. 

Cheyenne Bottoms experienced one of the biggest shorebird migrations in a long time, with over 500,000 birds documented in the spring of 2022 alone. TNC has teamed with Fort Hays State University on a new survey protocol that will use a combination of on-the-ground counts, refined with ground-based photos, and aerial photography using a drone. Dr. Robert Penner will present the results of his surveys and explain the new drone techniques, experimenting with different flight patterns, cameras, lenses, and even using infrared. Robert has also been studying if these drones disturbed the birds. As a bonus, Elsi Miller will present a short program on the conservation work in the Great Bend Sand Prairie, an important landscape here in Kansas, but one that most people don’t know about.

Robert Penner has been interested in birds since the age of fifteen. That interest led to degrees in Wildlife Management and Environmental Studies, both with an emphasis on ornithology. He has worked as The Nature Conservancy’s Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve manager since 1996, increasing habitat for migrating shorebirds and nesting grassland birds at the world-renowned wetland. He oversees avian monitoring on other TNC preserves across the state and is author of The Birds of Cheyenne Bottoms. Currently, Robert serves as chair of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network’s United States Committee, which allows him to work on shorebird conservation issues on national and international scales.

Elsi Miller is a current graduate student at Miami University, Ohio, in the program Project Dragonfly. She is an AmeriCorps member with the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and a preserve and research assistant for the Nature Conservancy.

Programs will not be live-streamed this year, but you can see recordings after the live program on our Facebook page or on Youtube.


January 17, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Mark Nolen


Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E 29th St N
Wichita, KS 67220 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website