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September, 2005

Wisconsin Training Flight, August 23
Photo Joe Duff, OM

Year Five: Journey South with Endangered Whooping Cranes Led by Ultralights
Welcome! Year FIVE in the historic whooping crane reintroduction/migration project is nearing takeoff. Twenty-one hatch-year 2005 chicks for the new Eastern flock are now in “Flight School” at Wisconsin’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. This is the largest group of chicks since the project began, and they are daily becoming better flyers. That's good news, because in about six weeks they must be ready for their thrilling but risky first migration — departing in October and led by ultralight airplane "parents" to teach the way. Also summering at the refuge (and often interfering with training!) are most of the 42 gleaming white adults from the four previous ultralight-led migrations.

Year Five brings some big changes. First, another pilot and plane have been added to cope with the record number of chicks in the project. Second, a long-awaited next step for adding cranes to this new flock begins: an additional four mottled young whooper chicks are being costume-reared for a different flight plan. After the ultralights depart with their 21 chicks, these four will be released among the experienced adult whooping cranes summering on the Refuge. If all goes according to plan, they will follow the older cranes all the way to Florida, thus learning their lifelong migration route.

Will the chicks all make the journey safely? How long will this year's migration take? What highlights and lowlights await on the 1,200-mile journey through seven states? You'll find out on Journey South this fall, and this message tells how to participate. We're glad you're here!

Are They Now? An Egg-to-Sky Timeline for History in the Making

Because this year's story really began during the summer, now's the time to meet the new chicks and catch up on their progress. We've kept track of the 21 chicks since they hatched last spring. After learning their personalities, you'll see why many students enjoy "adopting" a crane to follow throughout fall's journey south and spring's journey north!

Our timeline of key events will help you follow the flock's milestones so far. Use the information to start a school or classroom timeline now; add to your timeline when the daily migration Updates start in October.

FRIDAYS: E-mail Summaries Arrive
E-mail Summaries are posted to registered participants on FRIDAYS:
Sep 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Oct 7, 14, 21, 28; Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25. . .or until this year's newest Eastern whooping crane chicks reach their winter home in Florida!

Pre-migration: Each Friday, a brief e-mail notice gives current newsy tidbits and announces a downloadable booklet for building background.

During migration: When migration begins, the Friday e-mails will summarize the Highlight Updates (complete with latest maps, facts, photos, and fun) that were posted daily on the Web during the week.

BEFORE Migration: Build Background with Downloadable Booklets for Kids
Do you wonder what makes a chick think a tiny airplane is its mom? Why are they following a 350-pound airplane and not their own parents? What are those billowy white costumes about? Why is pecking order a big deal when raising these chicks? Our just-for-kids nonfiction booklets offer facts while building reading skills and supporting standards. Between now and the migration departure in October, a series of weekly downloadable nonfiction booklets will cover the “Big Ideas” of the young cranes' development and training. A companion Teacher Guide helps make the most of each booklet and coordinating lessons on the Web. Booklets are also available on the Web in slide show format.

Photo Joe Duff, OM
DURING Migration: How to Track Migration in the Classroom

Follow Daily Migration Updates
Come fly with the whoopers! In early-to-mid October, 21 chicks will take to the skies with ultralight airplanes guiding them south. Daily Web postings give you the latest news, maps, and photos starting on Day One of the migration.

Map the Migration
This link tells you how to purchase a map or make your own so you can track the migration from Wisconsin all the way to Florida using information included in our Updates. We also suggest fun ways to handle students' real-life questions as they follow the daily map and narratives during migration.

Keep Migration Journals
New! Print our ready-to-go templates so students can make migration journals, writing their own creative headlines and summarizing the young cranes' adventures in their own words. Pages have room for responses to the great Journaling Questions that end each of the daily Web Updates, too. The coming season will be rich with concrete examples of key science concepts and organizing themes that can provide focus for student journals: habitat, weather, flight, navigation, adaptations, costume-rearing protocol, endangered species, and more. Use these ready-made journal pages as we've designed them, or download and edit them to fit your needs.

Predict and Compare
Keep records on this chart as the migration unfolds. You'll have an instant comparison to the previous four ultralight-led migrations!

Photo OM

Fall Lessons and Activities
How do cranes fly? Why do planes have to lead the birds? What's it like to fly an ultralight? Who's on the team to carry out the migration? Why are whooping cranes endangered? How many are alive today? How many chicks survived their first migration and make it back to Wisconsin in the spring? We'll help you discover answers (and more questions!) as the exciting migration unfolds. To learn more about this historic study, see:

Thank you for joining us for this exciting migration. Now the fun begins!

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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