As residents, we often take for granted the beauty that surrounds us. You may not realize that we live in one of the Midwest's richest and diverse ecosystems. From the majestic dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan to the Kankakee Sands, marshes and savannas that make up our region, we are lucky enough to call these areas home.

This is one of the most spectacular times of year at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, where more than 10,000 Sandhill cranes migrate. Peak times for the gigantic flocks of cranes are during sunrise, while cranes are socializing before they fly out to feed. You can also observe them just before sunset where they socialize again before they return to their roosting marshes at dusk.

The Sandhill cranes visit the shallow marshes at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during the fall each year. You can catch them from now until December, although they peak during November.

The Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area provides hunting and fishing opportunities while maintaining more than 8,000 acres of wetland, upland and woodland game habitat. Should the Sandhill cranes bring you to the area, you can also visit other natural and preserved areas. Nearby, in the Tefft Savanna, there are a number of rare plant types, unusual reptiles and an array of meadows, prairies and marshes.

What better time to take advantage of our diverse landscapes than during the Sandhill crane migration? During your visit, be sure to stop for lunch at a local restaurant, or if your schedule allows visit JT Shrimp, LLC for a tour of a real-life family-owned shrimp farm in nearby Wheatfield, Ind.

Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area is located in Medaryville, Ind. Contact them at 219-843-4841 for more information about the migration. There are endless opportunities to get to know our natural lands better; touring the region, hiking trails, enjoying the fall foliage. For additional tours, trips and stops in the area, visit