Craniac Kids in Action - Minnesota
In June of 2007, OM received a letter in the mail from Gwen Bailey of Athens, Georgia. Included with the letter were several checks, totaling more than $500, and the story of two Craniac Kids. Gwen wrote:
“These donations were raised by Adrian Tasistro-Hart and Elliott Radcliffe. The boys participated in the Youth Birding Competition, on April 28th and 29th, sponsored by the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Georgia. As part of this event, the boys took in donations and pledges based on the number bird species they identified in a 24 hour period. They chose to raise money for Operation Migration after hearing at talk and seeing a slide show on your program given at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society.”
The work of these two enthusiastic Craniacs has earned them a big thank you from everyone on the OM team. Their donation, along with all the others that we have received from Craniac Kids and concerned students around the globe has truly made a difference here in the office.
Schurz Elementary School in Watertown, Wisconsin held a penny drive to raise money for Operation Migration. This year the school was able to sponsor 4 miles of the 2008 migration!!! That is over $800 raised by a student body of approximately 300 kids. Pictured are a group of third grader students who studied the whooping cranes and charted their migration progress and the schools penny drive progress. SCHURZ SCHOOL ROCKS!!!
Craniac Kid Ann Howden, daughter of OM member Margaret Howden of New Glarus, WI., shared an interesting story with us about some recent school work. We've been told that Ann is a 24/7 enthusiastic supporter of OM and Whooping cranes.
Ann chose to do her science fair project on Operation Migration and the science behind the ultralight-led Whooping crane migration. Not only did she receive an "Outstanding" rating from the judge, she was specially commended for her in-depth knowledge of the subject.
Congratulations to Ann from the OM Team!
Columbus Middle School was one of three schools drawn to win a presentation by OM team members. They had been entered into a draw because of their early registration in the Change4Cranes fundraising program. In the coming weeks we will post photos and stories from the other two winning schools as well. If you are interested in joining the Change4Cranes program, please visit the sign up page.
Operation Migration would like to put out a special thanks to the Third Grade S.O.A.R. (student Options and Resources) students at Schurz Elementary School in Watertown, Wisconsin. Through their school-wide fundraising efforts, they've raised $130 to help support the 2007 migration!
Their interesting fundraising activity gave students and teachers the chance to purchase guesses as to when they believe the cranes will reach their winter destination in Florida. Once the cranes get to Chass, anyone guessing that date will have their name put into a hat to be drawn. The winner will receive their very own “Derrick the crane.”
On top of their fundraising, the students have created a bulletin board, displaying facts about the whooping crane, pictures, the migration route, and the progress of this year’s migration.
Every year the 4th graders of Alexander Middle School in Nekoosa, Wisconsin make 1000 paper cranes in an assembly line style in the "Crane Folding Factory," so folding paper cranes is not new to Wisconsin.
Once again a group of Craniac kids have used their youthful enthusiasm to produce results! Recently we received a package from Alexander Middle School in Nekoosa, WI, telling us about the work of Ms. Hartman and Ms. Dudley’s classes. Together these two classes initiated a letter-writing campaign to Robert Malone, Chairman and President of BP America. They eventually sent a package including letters from every student as well as 625 paper cranes (one for each mile), and asked for donations of fuel or funding from BP.
Unfortunately the children never heard back from Mr. Malone. But rather than give up, they decided to ask the local stores and communities to help support OM – starting with the local BP station. The students began by selling paper cranes, but also put together posters and letters explaining Operation Migration’s work and asking people for support.
The students’ work bore fruit and together they raised nearly $600. Of greater importance was the fact that they had educated the people of Nekoosa and surrounding neighborhoods about the plight of the Whooping crane and OM’s efforts to help restore this endangered species.
OM would like to offer its sincerest thank you to everyone in Ms. Hartman and Ms. Dudley’s class – your work has really paid off, and you have truly demonstrated that you are true blue Craniac Kids.
Above: Dropping off information at the local BP
Above: Selling cranes at the local mall.
Above: The school hallways are adorned with some of the class's cranes
Pictured above: The eagerly anticipated recipe book
Laurie Johnston, a teacher for the 3rd grade gifted program in St. Louis, wrote in to OM to tell us about a recent fundraising program initiated by her students. In her letter Ms. Johnston told us:
Our curriculum revolves around the whooping crane reintroduction project, and when the 2006 cranes died this year, my students wanted to take some action that would make a difference, and so a service learning project was born. We created an illustrated cook book entitled Recipes to Whoop For! to raise money for Operation Migration. The book included recipes for humans as well as for birds. The cook book was a huge success!
My students, their families, and the teaching staff here appreciate all that you do to help the endangered whooping crane!
At OM we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a copy of Recipes to Whoop For! and trying out some of the treats (the human ones, of course!). We truly appreciate hearing about support like this from youngsters around the country!
Their creative approach to spreading the word of the Whooping crane and Operation Migration really took off in their community, and illustrates the innovative and unique talents of our Craniac Kids. The entire OM team would like to send out a special thanks to everyone in Ms. Johnston’s 3rd grade classes!
Above: Ms. Johnston's gifted 3rd grade class
Craniac Kids in Action - Kentucky
A special thanks must go out to the Craniac Kids in Ms. Trout's class in Louisville! Together they illustrated and assembled a special quilt celebrating Operation Migration and all of our efforts. Ms. Trout has once again shown us that the future of Whooping cranes is safe in the hands of such gifted and talented kids! Thank you from everyone at OM!
Above: Showing off the quilt crafted by Ms. Trout's class
Because it is with the children of today that lies the hope for all the world's creatures and their habitats, we at Operation Migration are never more pleased than when our efforts, and our work on behalf of the endangered Whooping crane, inspires them.
This was the case for the children at the Louisville Kentucky's John F. Kennedy Montessori School. Their teacher, Lori Trout, wrote to tell us what the kids there had decided to do to help OM get the Class of 2006 from Wisconsin to Florida. They decided to write to ExxonMobil to ask for the company's help.
On this page you will find Lori’s cover letter to ExxonMobil Corporation's CEO, Mr. Rex Tillerson, copies of the letters her students wrote, and at the bottom of the page there, you will also see several pictures of the students at work.
Should there be other teachers, students, classes, schools, who would like to reinforce the message sent to ExxonMobil by the 'Craniac Kids' from John F. Kennedy Montessori School, Mr. Tillerson's address is:
Mr. Rex W. Tillerson, CEO
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving, Texas 75039-2298
Below is an excerpt from Jefferson County Public Schools' Monday Memo, the weekly newsletter for theJCPS staff in Louisville, Kentucky. The entire newsletter is also available to the public here.
Sample of the Letters from the Kids
Demonstrating the capabilities of young minds, Y-press is an Indianapolis-based periodical bureau bringing youthful perspective to various news-stories. In November of 2006 the Y-Press staff joined the growing ranks of Craniac Kids when several writers experienced first hand the wonders of a fly-over. They shared their experiences in a January column in the Indianapolis star (an excerpt is below).
Future reporters Laura Mangan, 12 and Meera Patel, 15 were fortunate enough to experience the Muscatatuck flyover on November 18th of the 2006 migration. After the initial flyover, they also got a chance to watch a crane roundup.
The publishing of this column benefits OM by sharing our story with adults, but more importantly brings it to young readers and future Craniac Kids. Congratulations to everyone at Y-Press!
A flock of 18 white birds glided through the cold, blue sky of southern Indiana in the early morning, guided by three small planes disguised as mama and papa birds.
Their stop during the 73-day trip from Necedah, Wis., to Dunnellon, Fla., in mid-November was part of an extraordinary effort by Operation Migration to save endangered whooping cranes by establishing a wild flock of migrating birds.
Teachers and students from all around the country are incorporating the study of whooping cranes into their lesson plans, and some are raising money for the effort.
Dylan Lear, a fourth-grader at John F. Kennedy Montessori School in Louisville, said, "The whooping crane projects made me like nature more than I used to, because we're actually saving endangered animals." Other students from the Kennedy Montessori School and three Y-Press members were among about 200 people who gathered in Indiana in November to watch the whooping cranes continue their migration south.
They gathered at a gravel parking lot at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge around 7 a.m., well-equipped with cameras. The preserve is about an hour's drive south of Indianapolis in Seymour.
A distant hum could be heard about 8:20 a.m., coming from behind tall trees. Everyone turned toward that area and focused their cameras.
Fifteen minutes later, people exclaimed, "There they are!" They pointed at the ultra-light planes as they circled and then coaxed the birds to follow. The large, white birds gracefully flapped their wings in a slow steady beat. They disappeared into the shining sun within 30 seconds.
Alan Belth, a sixth-grader from Pinnacle School in Bloomington, was thrilled by the experience. "I had a lot of fun because I'd never seen whooping cranes before, and I thought it was really cool."
After the cranes were no longer visible, most of the crowd at Muscatatuck began to pack up their cameras and drive away.
After 15 minutes, the cranes suddenly reappeared far in the sky. They approached closer and closer, finally flying directly overhead, with the planes scrambling to get the birds back in formation.
Without warning, the birds had decided to scatter. The pilots had to come up with a strategy quickly to get the young cranes back in line heading south.
As parents would treat their children, the pilots did not leave anyone behind. They flew in wide circles in the blue sky and performed what they called a "crane roundup" to persuade the impulsive youngsters to follow them. It was almost like the planes were teaching the birds the game of follow-the-leader.
For the complete story, please visit Y-Press
Ms Dobson’s 3rd grade students in Alburgh, Vermont have been following the Whooping Crane migration for several years. They have incorporated the project into all aspects of their lives in the classroom, science, social studies, writing, technology, art (see the whooping cranes hanging above their heads in the photo below), social behaviors (bullying, as a few of the cranes do) and now music!
Mr. Jon Gailmor, a world renowned musician (and fellow Vermonter) spent a week with the children at the Alburgh School in northern Vermont as a visiting artist, singing with them, writing with them, and creating a beautiful CD filled with songs created by the children.
He let the children in each class choose their topic, and Ms. Dobson’s class voted hands down to write a song about the Whooping Cranes! Living on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain, which is a part of the eastern flyway for migratory birds, the children are quite familiar with the sounds of migrating geese twice a year, and they were thrilled when our local newspaper reported a sighting of Whooping Crane #309 at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in central Vermont.
Please take a minute to download the file (mp3 1.8 mb) and enjoy the sounds of fifteen 3rd graders and the wonderful Mr. Jon Gailmor singing their ballad - The Wondering, Wandering Waltz! Follow the link to his very own website as well to enjoy his talents even further at www.jongailmor.com
Art for the Sky in Leon County, GA - Gilchrist Elementary School, Whooping Crane Project
For 5 years Ms. Burke at Curtis PS and Palm Harbor Middle School in Florida has had her classes follow Operation Migration's progress. At each school, she has created Wildlife Action Teams with great success. In 2007 more than 800 students brought home information about OM to their parents, and the Action Teams have worked hard to put together a wonderful contribution.
Congratulations on the hard work, and thank you to everyone at Curtis and Palm Harbour
Margaret Mead once said “Never
doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
When we look at the support we’ve received from schoolchildren
OM received a package today from Ms. Peraino and her class in Illinois. The children had been following our work, and were trying to deal with the losses in February. To remember the class of 2006 they decided to raise funds and spread awareness of the project. Led by Ms. Peraino this class of intrepid 4th graders organized and ran a charity garage sale, and shared their story with the local newspaper.
OM would truely like to thank Ms. Peraino’s class for their work to help save the Whooping crane. This future generation of Craniacs has spread the word of conservationism and educated a few more people about the plight of the crane. Congratulations!
The OM team would like to send out a special thank you to Abby Studnicka and her daughters, Nadia and Eve, in Illinois. Together they have spent many hours folding and stringing together 1,300 origami cranes in efforts to raise funds and awareness for Operation Migration - with a little help from their community they have already raised more than $2500! Not enough can be said about the gratitude OM feels for everyone that has contributed to our cause over the past 6 weeks. Grassroots support and tireless efforts from people like Abby and Nadia have shown us just how important our work is to all the Craniacs out there.
One of the strings of 18 cranes they put together.
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