Welcome! Here's How to Participate
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|Year Eight: Journey South with Endangered Whooping Cranes Led by Ultralights|
Welcome! Year EIGHT in the historic conservation project to reintroduce Whooping Cranes to the eastern part of North America is nearing takeoff. As of early August, fifteen hatch-year 2008 chicks for the new Eastern flock were in "Flight School" at Wisconsin's Necedah (say Nuh SEE duh) National Wildlife Refuge. Just weeks from now they must be ready for their thrilling but risky first migration. They'll depart in October behind ultralight airplane "parents" that show the way. For the first time, the route in fall 2008 is changed: no mountains to cross (in hopes of avoiding weather delays)!
additional six young whooper chicks are being costume-reared for
a different flight plan. After the ultralight planes depart with their
chicks, these crane-kids will be released among the older adult Whooping
cranes summering on the Wisconsin refuge. Experts hope they will follow
the older cranes all the way to Florida, thus learning the lifelong
route for the reintroduced flock. These six whooper chicks
are part of the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) program.
DAR is another step for
new flock. This is year four for the DAR program.
|Where Are They Now? Meet the Cranes and See Egg-to-Sky Timeline|
Because this year's story really began during the summer, now's the time to meet the new "ultra-chicks" and catch up on their progress. We've kept track of the "Class of 2008" 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 return 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.
Friday, a brief e-mail notice gives current newsy tidbits and announces
the next of six downloadable booklets for building background.
|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 (in a recommended chronological order) 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.
|DURING Migration: How to Track Migration in the Classroom|
Daily Migration Updates
|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 will survive 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 in this exciting migration. Now the fun begins!