This year, students in Grades 1-8, at Rama Central Public School, in Washago,
Ontario, Canada, are tracking and comparing:
monarchs don't need to be taught migration routes. Amazingly, each fall
they find their way from areas all over eastern North America to twelve
mountain tops in central Mexico by instinct alone. Whooping
Cranes, who must learn migration routes from their parents, became
extirpated from eastern North America about 100 years ago. The
objective of the ultralight-led migration is to reestablish an eastern
migratory flock of these highly endangered birds. Pilots
with the non-profit organization Operation
Migration act as surrogate parents to juvenile cranes and escort
them on their first southbound migration. The Polar Bears are
being satellite-tracked for a year, by World
Wildlife Fund Canada, as part of a study of Polar Bear
habits and the potential impacts of climate change on polar
main sources of tracking data and other information for the monarchs and
cranes are the Journey
North and Operation
Migration websites. Mark Chenoweth's pod cast site,
Happenings, also provides updates on the cranes plus
audio interviews with Operation Migration pilots and crew, et
World Wildlife Fund Canada's Polar
Bear Tracker web site and World Wildlife Fund International's
Canon Kids' Zone website,
are our main sources of information,
mapping and journaling questions about Polar Bears.
us this school year, for what is sure to be an exciting adventure in hands-on
Staff Advisor to Migration Clubs and Enrichment Groups
... from the Durham, Lambton, Ottawa, Simcoe, Toronto, Upper Grand and York, Ontario
school boards, the Council
of Outdoor Educators of Ontario (COEO), the Environmental
Education Ontario Network (EEON), the Monarch
Teacher Network Canada, Journey
North, and Operation
June 28, 2008:
MARIPOSA MONARCH FESTIVAL
The conservation group Kids
for Turtles Environmental Education will welcome Monarch
Butterflies back to Central Ontario by staging Canada's first Mariposa
Butterfly Festival, in Orillia, on the last Saturday in
June. Their website includes details of the festival and some
great curriculum-based Monarch student contests.
14: POLAR BEAR A THREATENED SPECIES
BREAKING NEWS... After months of delays, the U.S. government announced
today that the Polar Bear has been added to its Threatened Species List
because of a dramatic decline in sea ice over the past 30 years and
projections that the retreat will continue or even accelerate in the
9: ALL BUT ONE CRANE IS HOME
All but one of the ultra-cranes in the "Class of 2007"
have now found their own way north, from Florida back to
8: MONARCHS CROSS BORDER INTO CANADA
According to Journey North's tracking data, Monarchs have arrived in
Point Pelee National Park, in Southern Ontario!
May 8: BEARS
BULK UP FOR SUMMER
The five Polar Bears we are still tracking, through World Wildlife
Fund Canada, are trying to stick to the areas they've come to know and rely on as good sources of seals:
James Bay, Ungava Bay off Hudson Strait and the west-central basin of Hudson Bay.
Spring sea ice break-up, which now
occurs 3-4 weeks earlier than 30 years ago, will soon force the bears to
head for shore.
10: NEXT GENERATION OF MONARCHS IN TEXAS
Journey North reports that new Monarchs are beginning to appear in
Texas. They will soon continue the journey north that their
WHOOPING CRANE #709 ARRIVES HOME
The first bird of the "Class of 2007" ultra-cranes arrived
home at Necedah NWR, in Wisconsin today. It took him just ten days
to complete the 1,200 mile migration on his own! Many of #709's
classmates are also underway.
CRANE #735 CATCHES A FLIGHT TO WISCONSIN
The youngest bird in the "Class of 2007" sustained a wing
injury at the end of the migration. She was provided with medical
care and monitored throughout the winter. As spring migration time
approached, veterinarians decided that it would be in #735's best
interest if she was flown to Wisconsin, to continue therapy until she
had fully recovered. #735's flight from Florida to
Wisconsin, via private jet, took place today.
25: WHOOPING CRANES HEAD NORTH
Six of the seventeen cranes that followed ultralights south, in the
fall of 2007, have begun the return migration to Wisconsin, on their
24: POLAR BEAR COLLAR STOPS TRANSMITTING
World Wildlife Fund Canada reports that "Anaana's" collar
suddenly stopped transmitting today. They believe the collar may
have fallen off, when the bear was hunting and ended up in the bottom of
Hudson's Bay. Tracking of the remaining five bears and their cubs
12: MONARCHS HEAD NORTH
Journey North reports that Monarchs began streaming northward out of
the Rosario colony in huge numbers today. Observers 60 miles to
the north confirmed that Monarchs are passing through their area, as
well. The migration north has officially begun!
29: BEARS STAY PUT
The six Polar Bear families we are tracking have found mid-winter feeding
areas that suit them and are currently not moving much at all.
Ringed Seal pups will soon be born. The bears will use them to
fatten up for summer, prior to the retreat of sea ice in May/early June.
"FINALE IN FLORIDA BEACH PARTY"!!!!
To celebrate the Whoopers' arrival at their winter home in Florida,
Migration Project members threw a big party featuring a tropical decor, a ceremony symbolically
awarding medals to the crane "Class of 2007," the awarding of Crane
Race Reading Challenge certificates to students who "beat the
cranes to Florida," the announcement
of Migration Project Awards for several people associated
with this year's ultralight-led migration, long distance phone calls
from "party central" to various crane aficionados across North
America, snacks, punch, cake, games and the movie Fly Away Home.
Click on the cake to see full coverage of our party!
OUR PARTY ON OPERATION MIGRATION WEBSITE
Today, Operation Migration updated our
school project profile, on their site, to include pictures from our
CRANE-RACE READING CHALLENGE RESULTS ARE IN!!!
Seventeen of the twenty-five students
who enlisted in the Crane-Race Reading Challenge "beat the cranes
to Florida." Students hailed from Grades 2-6. Between
them, reading challenge participants completed ALMOST 40,000 MINUTES OF
HOME READING. This massive number is particularly astounding
because, at our school, the reading challenge was a voluntary
extra-curricular activity, above and beyond homework that classroom
VIDEO OF CRANES ARRIVING IN DUNNELLON, FLORIDA!
Bryan Farrow attended Operation Migration's "arrival
event" at the Dunnellon airport. He shot this amazing
video of the cranes and planes' flyover.
CRANES & PLANES FINALLY COMPLETE MIGRATION!!!!!
This banner, which we mailed to the
Operation Migration office,
sports more than 160 student-signatures from Rama Central P.S.!
WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE???
This morning, the cranes and planes caught a tail wind and over-flew two
stopovers, finally coming down in northern Florida, after a stunning 138
mile flight! Top speeds, with the tail wind, reached 70 miles per
hour and the flight took just over two hours to complete. With
1,098 miles completed, and just 150 to go, THE FINISH LINE IN CENTRAL
FLORIDA IS FINALLY IN SIGHT!
BANNER DAY FOR THE CRANES!
Today, the Whooping Cranes and their surrogate parents completed their
longest single flight to date, skipping a stopover and logging an
impressive 83 miles! The group is now in south-central Georgia,
with 960 miles of their 1,250 mile trek completed. GO CRANES
GEORGIA CHALLENGES CRANES AND PLANES, TOO
The cranes and planes continue to encounter major weather issues, as
they inch their way south, toward Florida. Following a 43 mile
flight on January 7th, one of the ultralights was damaged by high winds
before it could be tied down. The January 9th flight was also
impeded by wind; only 23 miles of progress was made on that "fly
CRANES FINALLY CONQUER "THE BEAST"
Congratulations to the cranes and their intrepid pilots!! Today,
they muscled their way over the biggest hurdle on their migratory route...
Cumberland Ridge, in Tennesseee... a.k.a. "The Beast"!
It's all "downhill" from here to Florida. :-)
POLAR BEARS ON THE MOVE
The bears are already showing themselves to be major long distance
travellers! During the first two months of tracking, the six Polar
Bears and their cubs radiated out to cover huge portions of Hudson's
Bay, most of which is currently covered in sea ice. The bears now
have good annual sea ice on which to travel and hunt seals and
17: CRANE MIGRATION TAKES A HOLIDAY
After ten days mired in inclement weather and one unsuccessful attempt
to conquer "the Beast," today Operation
Migration announced that they will be sending the crew home for
a Christmas break. Migration will resume on December 29th,
miles of the 1,250 mile trek completed.
BRING ON "THE BEAST"!
The planes and cranes are now in Cumberland County, Tennessee, preparing for the
most difficult leg of the migration... the flight up and over Cumberland
Ridge (a.k.a. "The Beast"!)
CRANES ROUGHED-UP IN "WIND-IANA" & KENTUCKY
Over the past two weeks, the cranes and planes were royally
roughed-up by the weather but, despite Mother Nature's hurdles, they
flew twice in the past three days and are now almost halfway through
their southbound migration!
CRANES SOAR THROUGH INDIANA
Yesterday, the Whooping Cranes caught a tail wind, skipped a
stopover and completed an amazing 90 mile flight. Today, they
followed-up with a 55 mile flight. They are now in Indiana, with a
third of their migration route behind them!
November 9: MIGRATION PROJECT SHIFTS
North issued its last Monarch Butterfly news report of the
season. For the remainder of the fall, we will be tracking and
comparing the movements of the Whooping Cranes and Polar Bears.
November 1: CRANES
The cranes and their "human parents" blew out of Wisconsin
today! They have now completed about 10% of their migration and
are situated at "Stopover Five," in northern Illinois.
NEWSFLASH... THE MONARCHS HAVE LANDED!!
North... Monarch Butterflies have just been sighted in the small
mountain town of Angangueo, Mexico, in the heart of the overwintering
October 26: OPERATION
MIGRATION PROFILES "THE MIGRATION PROJECT" ON THEIR
Today, Operation Migration added a description of this
project to their "Craniac
Kids" page! (Click on the "Canada banner.")
18: PROJECT IN LOCAL PAPER
A front page article
about our migration project appeared in today's Orillia Packet and Times
KENTUCKY KIDS JOIN RACE
We are pleased to report that Mrs. Trout's class, in Louisville,
Kentucky, has joined us in "The Crane-Race Reading
13: WE HAVE
This morning, Operation Migration's
ultralights and Whooping Cranes
left their training base in Wisconsin, and headed south on migration. All 17 chicks made it to the first stopover under
their own power!
October 12: MONARCHS
The first wave of Monarch Butterflies have arrived in Texas!
All the migrating monarchs pass through Texas en route to Mexico.
11: WESTERN WHOOPERS ON THE MOVE
Brian Johns, of the Canadian Wildlife Service reports, "A number of
cranes are in Saskatchewan at the moment, and there were many more
sightings than usual in September, likely as a result of the dry
conditions on their summering ground." The western (natural)
Whooping Crane flock migrates 4,000 kms between Wood Buffalo National
Park, in NWT, and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, in Texas.
September 30: MASSIVE CONCENTRATION OF MONARCHS IN
Journey North received a report that 100,000-200,000 Monarch
Butterflies were observed congregating in a field of sunflowers, in
Erie, Kansas today!
28: ULTRALIGHT-CRANES FLY AS ONE
Today, all seventeen of the juvenile Whooping Cranes that will be
led to Florida behind Operation Migration's ultralight aircraft trained
as a single group, for the first time. Previously, the older and
younger birds trained separately.
MONARCHS HAVE LEFT WASHAGO
The last of the monarchs appear to have left our area, 100 kms north of
14: JOURNEY NORTH MENTIONS "THE MIGRATION
Today, the U.S.-based educational website Journey North included
a picture and brief write-up of Rama's migration project in the
1-2: CLUSTER OF MONARCHS IN OHIO
An observer in Cleveland reported, "We have many huge oak trees
in our front yard. Within the last couple of days... there were HUNDREDS
if not thousands of Monarchs in our oak trees hanging onto the leaves
and flying all around the yard."
19: MIGRATING MONARCHS IN MISSISSAUGA
An observer reported to Journey North: "[There were] hundreds
of monarchs flying and checking out flowers in the garden, then finding
each other and landing and roosting in a silver Maple tree on the same
branches... it was spectacular to witness."