Welcome! Here's How to Participate
September, 2010

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Clip: Watch Slow-Motion Crane Training Flight
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Year Ten: Journey South with Endangered Whooping Cranes Led by Ultralights

Welcome! Year ten in the historic conservation effort to reintroduce Whooping Cranes to eastern North America is nearing takeoff! As of mid August, 13 hatch-year 2010 chicks had taken wing in "Flight School" at Wisconsin's Necedah (say Nuh SEE duh) National Wildlife Refuge. In just weeks they must be ready for their thrilling but risky first migration. They'll depart in early October behind ultralight airplane "parents" that will show them the way on their first southward migration to Florida.

An additional 11 young whooper chicks are being costume-reared for a different flight plan. Hatched for year six in the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) program, these crane-kids will be released in the company of older cranes from whom they will learn the migration route.

This fall brings the added thrill of the first wild-hatched chicks since 2006 to survive the summer and follow their parents on their first journey south!

We wonder: Will all the chicks make the journey safely? How long will this year's ultralight-led migration take? What highlights and lowlights await as they igrate through seven states and fly over 1,000 miles? Join us for the adventure on Journey South! It's easy to participate by following the instructions below.

We're glad you're here for the newest chapter in this conservation story about an endangered species!

Photo Joe Duff, Operation Migration
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration
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 2010" since they hatched last spring. Read about their personalities and 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.

See the chicks LIVE on the Operation Migration CraneCam!

TEACHERS: You may wish to block your computer's pop-up ads before clicking to Crane Cam.

BEFORE Migration
Build Background with Slideshows/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 gowns 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 main events of the young cranes' development and training. Companion Teacher Guides help make the most of each booklet and list coordinating lessons on the Web. All booklets are also available on the Web in slideshow format.

DURING Migration: How to Track Migration in the Classroom

Follow Daily Migration Updates
Come fly with the whoopers! See our daily Web postings with the latest news, maps, and photos starting on Day One of the migration. (Watch for early- to mid-October target depature date to be announced later.)

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 in our daily Web reports. We also suggest fun ways to handle students' real-life questions as they follow the map and daily narratives during migration.

Keep Migration Journals
Print our ready-to-go templates so students can build migration journals with a variety of pages, including a map, responses to the Journal Questions that end each of the daily Web Updates, and more. The journey south 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.

Predict and Compare
Keep records on the chart in our collection of journal pages as the migration unfolds. This link gives instant comparisons to all the previous ultralight-led migrations; we'll complete and link to this year's chart at the end of the 2010 migration so students can see how their own charting compares.

Photo Tara Urette Hood
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 conduct the migration? Why are Whooping cranes endangered? How many cranes 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:

E-mail News Summaries on Fridays

Pre-migration: Each Friday, a brief e-mail notice gives current newsy tidbits and the next title in our series of six downloadable booklets for building pre-migration background.

During migration: When migration begins, the Friday e-mails will summarize that week's Highlight Updates, which post DAILY (complete with latest maps, facts, photos, and fun) on the Web.

E-mail Summaries are posted to registered participants on FRIDAYS:
Sep. 3, 10, 17, 22; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19. . .or until this year's newest eastern Whooping crane chicks reach their winter homes in Florida!

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