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"Finale in Florida Beach Party"!

The Whooping Cranes and ultralight airplanes we tracked on migration, since October, FINALLY reached their Florida destination in late-January.  The migration, which was plagued by weather issues throughout, took a month longer than expected... making this the most protracted trek in the ultralight-led migration’s seven year history. 

To celebrate the completion of the southbound migration, more than 160 Rama Central students signed a banner congratulating Operation Migration on their perseverance.

We mailed our banner to the Operation Migration Office, in Port Perry


Migration Project members also threw a big "Finale in Florida Beach Party."

"Party Central," ready to rock!


There were about 40 Grade 2-7 students attendance at the party. Most were members of "The Migration Club" from September to present. A few were enrichment students and other Special Education students who studied the migration, with me, as part of their coursework.

Mrs. Black, with a Grade 6 student and a Grade 2 student


Our party itinerary included:

  • Rowdy long distance phone calls from "party central" to: Operation Migration, in Port Perry and Florida; Lori Trout's class, in Louisville, Kentucky; Nadia Studnicka and family, in Illinois (Nad. is the ten year old who created 1,500 origami cranes to raise money for Operation Migration); and Mark Chenoweth, in Florida (Mark, who runs the podcast site "Whooper Happenings," has e-mailed us many crane photos; the photos we used on our cake were his). Apparently, our joyful hooting, hollering and party horn sounds carried all the way to the library, at the opposite end of the school!!!  :-)

Party-people MAKE SOME NOISE for Mrs. Trout's class, 
in Louisville, Kentucky!!!


  • Winner medals for all of the students and the "symbolic cranes" they created.

Some of the girls pose with their "symbolic cranes"

The big guy is #607. We made him during last year's migration.

The crane on the right "migrated" to Illinois, by mail, after the party!


  • "Crane-Race Reading Challenge" Certificates for students who "beat the cranes to Florida." The reading challenge was voluntary and had to be done above and beyond any homework that classroom teachers assigned.  The goal was to complete 1,250 minutes of home reading before the cranes flew 1,250 miles from Wisconsin to Florida.  

    About 25 Migration Club kids signed-on to the program and 17 students, from Grades 2-6, "beat the cranes to Florida."  Between them, the reading challenge participants did almost 40,000 MINUTES OF EXTRA-CURRICULAR HOME READING!!!!  One student completed a "round trip" from Wisconsin to Florida, and was on his second trip to Florida when the migration wrapped; two others completed an amazing THREE round trips to Florida and were on their FOURTH southbound trek at the end of the migration!!!  

    Our new principal, Mrs. Clark, came to the party to present certificates to all those who "beat the cranes." 

"Early-birds," waiting for more students to arrive for the presentation

Mrs. Clark presents the certificates

The seventeen students who "beat the cranes to Florida"!

Three of the youngest students to win the challenge!


  • "Migration Project Awards" for several people associated with the migration.  These award winners will receive their certificates by mail:

  • Dedication and Endurance Award:  Joe Duff, Operation Migration CEO and Pilot

  • Poet of the Year Award:  Brooke Pennypacker, Operation Migration Pilot

  • Extreme Parent Award:  Bev Paulan, Operation Migration Supervisor of Field Operations

  • Worst Weather God Award:  Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration Pilot and Amateur Meteorologist

  • Intern of the Year Award:  Megan Kennedy, Operation Migration
    for crane-sitting over Xmas and creating a slide show for Journey North, in
    addition to regular duties)

  • Hardest Working Woman in Migration Award:  Liz Condie, Operation Migration COO

  • "Home Alone" Award:  Chris Danilko and James Popham, Operation Migration Office Staff

  • Journalist of the Year Award:  Jane Duden, Journey North Crane Writer

  • Most Inspiring Kid Award:  Nadia Studnicka, Fund-raiser for Operation Migration

Students holding the nine "Migration Project Award" certificates

Emma, holding a Journey North booklet about Nadia 
and a string of origami cranes Nadia sent to us; 
Laurel holding the certificate and "symbolic crane" we mailed 
to Nadia, at her home in Illinois

Students also signed notes for ten-year-old Nadia
and for ten-year-old Taylor Richter 
(who flew "top cover" with the cranes, in Fall 2006).
They read about Nadia and Taylor on Journey North.

The notes we mailed to Nadia and Taylor


Other party events included food, games and the movie "Fly Away Home."

Half-slab cake decorated with a picture of the "Class of 2007" training in Wisconsin
and pictures of Bode and Ohno, 2006 cranes that live at the Jacksonville Zoo. 
Thank you to Mark Chenoweth for all of these photos!

Students helping themselves to snacks

Students watching the movie "Fly Away Home"

A Grade 2 student taking on a Grade 7 student at air hockey

Grade 3 classmates "performing surgery"  ;-)

A Grade 6 student and a Grade 2 student try their hands at chess

A Grade 5 student and a Grade 6 student square-off at "Connect 4"

And.... what party is complete without "Twister"???


As you can see, a GREAT time was had by all!!!  :-)

HUGE THANKS go out to the folks at Operation Migration and the educational website Journey North, and to all of our other "craniac" friends and acquaintances across North America, for another wonderful experience watching history in the making, as Operation Migration seeks to reestablish a migratory flock of Whooping Cranes in Eastern North America.  The completion of the “Fall 2007” migration adds 17 to that flock... bringing  the total number of wild Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Flyway to 70+!!  GO, CRANES, GO!!!!

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