Chuck Cooper, Crane Trust CEO, Announces Retirement


Chuck Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, has announced his retirement effective September 30, 2021.

Chuck joined the Crane Trust on September 1, 2010, as President and Chief Executive Officer, having served as Director of the 2010 Nebraska-hosted Special Olympics USA National Games.

Under Chuck’s leadership, the Crane Trust has continued to expand its role in providing wildlife habitat in the Big Bend Region of the Platte River:

  • The Trust now manages over 10,000 acres of habitat in the central Platte River valley;
  • The Trust hosts over 50,000 visitors to the Nature and Visitor Center from all over the world each year;
  • The Trust receives substantial annual financial support through donations and grants to support its mission as a 501 (c) 3;
  • The Trust introduced bison back to the Platte Valley in 2013 and now manages a herd of over 150 bison;
  • The Trust engages in leading-edge research on bird migration, sustainable habitat management practices for restored lowland tallgrass prairies, and Platte River Basin ecology;
  • The Trust cooperates with other wildlife and habitat organizations to maintain, develop and enhance the central Platte River valley corridor as one of the great river basins in North America; 
  • The Trust continues to execute its vision to develop the seven-mile stretch of the Platte River from the Alda Road to Highway 281, as one of the premiere migratory bird habitats in the world, and to protect the landscape for future generations;
  • In 2020, the Trust launched virtual viewing of the annual Sandhill and Whooping Crane migration, viewed by guests in the US and several foreign countries.

Board Chair Brad Korell said: “Chuck’s leadership has been instrumental in creating one of the most incredible migration viewing experiences found anywhere in the world, and has become one of Nebraska’s largest tourist attractions.  We are grateful for the contributions Chuck has made to help preserve the great crane migration for generations to come.”