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to visit the cranes on this educational website



Our Class Project is Featured 
in the January 2007 issue of the 
Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario
(COEO) Newsletter

This is the text that appeared in the newsletter:


Margaret Black is an enthusiastic Grade 2/3 teacher at Harriett Todd Public School in Orillia, Ontario.  Last fall, she began teaching an integrated unit on the Ultralight aircraft guided migration of 18 juvenile Whooping Cranes from Wisconsin to Florida.  It was overseen to a successful completion by the Operation Migration group from Port Perry, Ontario, and with the able assistance of enthusiastic eight year-olds learning about how they can make a positive difference in the world.  For more information on this great project, go to: http://har.scdsb.on.ca/mblack/whoopers



Our Class Donates a Whooping Crane Book
to the School Library

On January 12th, 2007, our class donated a book to the Harriett Todd Public School Library.  "Whoop Dreams: The Historic Migration," was originally given to our class by the author, Jane Duden, who is also the Whooping Crane editor at Journey North.  Ours will be the first book about Whooping Cranes to grace the shelves of the school library.  In the photo, Alex, a student in our class, is presenting the book to Mrs. Renton, the school librarian.  In addition to the book, they are holding a photo of Jane Duden, posing with items our class sent to her, at her home in Minneapolis, to commemorate the completion of the 2006 fall migration.



Greetings from Forest Valley Outdoor Education Centre!

December 10, 2006 e-mail from Sandee Sharpe, Site Supervisor at the Toronto District School Board's Outdoor Education Centre:

Dear Margaret,

Wow - talk about teaching from the heart.  Your students are so fortunate to be part of experiential meaningful learning - and one that holds the importance of community, at all levels, at its core.  The website is fantastic - and yet, the life lessons of caring, community and respect are what blow me away.  Congratulations on your new permanent position.  You bring so much to everyone you interact with, that I am delighted to hear that things are falling into place for you as well.

Happy early holidays!



[MARGARET'S NOTE:  Up until four days ago, I was a "Long Term Occasional" (fill-in) teacher with the Simcoe County District School Board.  At Harriett Todd P.S., I have been filling in for a Grade 2/3 teacher who is on "paternity leave" from September to May.  This past Wednesday, after over three years working "occasional jobs," I was finally granted a permanent teaching position, two afternoons a week, at another school.  The Principal at Harriett Todd P.S. has agreed to bring in another teacher, two afternoons a week, so I can job-share the paternity leave position that I have been filling for her AND work the permanent job elsewhere!]


A-Channel Television's
Correspondent Rick Clendinning
Visits "Whooping Crane Central

On December 7, 2006, Rick Clendinning, of A-Channel Television, came to class to tape a segment about our Whooping Crane project, for the evening news.

Click here to view more images.




Greetings from The Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario!

November 27, 2006 e-mail from Grant Linney, of COEO, re: our "Whooping Crane Central" classroom and integrated study unit:

Dear Margaret,

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story. While this may not be outdoor education per se, you are so right to spread this good news. I will be sure to share it in COEO's next electronic newsletter. 

I encourage you to share this story further afield. An example that comes to mind is the Ontario College of Teachers magazine. I intend to send it to the list serve of EEON, Environmental Education Ontario.

You have provided your students with a wonderful and empowering connection to their natural surroundings. I believe that you could entrench this learning even deeper if you were somehow able to take your students outdoors. Perhaps you could do a follow-up looking at birds that stay in the Orillia area all winter. There is a wonderful little book called "That Chickadee Feeling" (by Canadian Frank Glew) and it describes how you can get chickadees to feed out of the palm of a child's hand. At the outdoor centre where I work, we wait till there's snow on the ground (i.e., it's getting hard for chickadees to find food). Then, we put out a chipboard cut in the shape of a child with an outstretched hand and a glove on it. We put black-oiled sunflower on the glove and then wait for the chickadees to come. Once they are in the habit of visiting "the hand," we transfer the seed from the glove to the hand of a few-at-a-time patient little souls, encouraging them to be as still and patient as possible. The rest of us watch from further back. And, of course, we take turns be observers and participants. It really is quite amazing when these little creatures land on  a child's hand ... and then get comfortable enough to actually stay on the hand as they eats their seed.

A couple of other things: Get some advice from a local birder as to where to locate the hand ... it would be great if it could be right in your schoolyard. You might have to put it away each evening so that the older kids don't remove it. As to sanitary concerns, chickadees do not carry avian flu, and handwashing with soap and water will address any concerns re germs.

Thanks again, for doing this with your kids, and for taking the time to share with others. And, please, tell your kids how thrilled and proud we are with all their efforts!

All the best,

Grant Linney
COEO past president



Greetings from the Journey North Educational Website!

Subject: Wonderful!
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 11:12:41 -0600
From: Jane Duden

Dear Margaret,

I just took the time to read your WHOLE website and I was so thrilled with your wonderful students and the forum you are giving them for their passion and activism. It is so much fun to see all your photos, and the huge amount of commitment to this study. I was so pleased to see your generous feature of Journey North materials, too----and in today's report, I updated with the news about hearing back from the ExxonMobil representative!

I would like to offer to send your dear craniacs a copy of Whoop Dreams: the Historic Migration. I hope you don't feel I'm being presumptuous---I just thought it would find a happy home in your classroom. I just want to verify the address to be sure the postal code is right (web search).

Margaret Black
Harriett Todd PS
Orillia, Ontario, CA L3VXXX

I would also like to ask permission to use some of the photos from your website to keep highlighting your classroom. It makes us all feel like we're on the same team!

Congratulations, Margaret on being the kind of teacher we'd ALL love our children to have.

Warm regards,
Jane Duden,
Journey North



Our Florida Pen Pals!

November 13, 2006 e-mail from Mrs. H., teacher at Coleman Middle School, in Tampa, Florida:

Dear Margaret,
Thank you so much for writing.  My class has investigated your website and were very excited to see that Tampa is mentioned on it.  We are about 65 miles south of where the birds touchdown.  I am planning to go to film them when they come into Crystal River next month. Hopefully, we will be out for winter holidays by then.  If not, I have one of my retired friends ready to go.  Each of my students has adopted at least one bird.  Amazingly enough, many of the bird personalities are quite similar to the students.  We seem to be able to predict which ones are going to be naughty!  My classroom consists of 13 students, ages 11-15, all of whom are mildly mentally handicapped.  he average level is about 2nd grade in both reading and math, with some hitting the far ends of the bell curve.
I was in Calgary in July and then again in September.  I will be there again for American Thanksgiving next week.  I am hoping to go by the Calgary Zoo where some of the birds were hatched.  Last year our project was raising seahorses but this has been far more successful.  We are working on letters to your class and we will send pictures as well.  I don't know that we will be able to translate any into French!  There are some classes in our neighboring counties who are also following the migration.  I will send info to you as I get it.
My parents are from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick so my heart is very much in Canada.  Looking forward to communicating with your class.

Our class, enjoying pictures and letters from our pen pals in Florida!



Our Kentucky Pen Pals!

November 2, 2006 e-mail from Lori Trout, teacher at John F. Kennedy Montessori School, in Louisville, Kentucky:

Hello Margaret Black!  I did not get to my email in the past 2 days.  Not enough hours in a day!  Your website is amazing!
I heard from Ellie Morse too!  Let me know if your students would like to have "pen pals" from Kentucky too!
What I would like to offer -- if it works out this year -- is to send you a video or pictures of the cranes when they fly out of Muscatatuck, IN.  Last year I went (and my husband took pictures).  My videos leave tons to be desired -- clouds, trees, then maybe a bouncing bird and voila!  sometimes an ultralight.  you never know how small they are until you try to find them in that little window in the camera!  If they don't go up and it's the weekend the crew usually comes out to visit the audience.  I have a great CD of them last year.  Let me know.
I'll look forward to hearing from a fellow teacher craniac.
Lori Trout

Our class, posing with the introductory letters to their Kentucky pen pals!

Our class, enjoying letters, Louisville brochures, 
an Indiana "fly-over event" slide-show 
and a flyover/OM classroom visit DVD 
sent to us by our pen pals in Kentucky!

Milemaker Sponsorship "in Honour of Our Class"!

October 31, 2006 e-mail from Chris Danilko, at Operation Migration, re: a "MileMaker Sponsorship":

Margaret:  thought you'd like to know that someone donated a mile today in honor of your class, mile #353!


Christina (Chris) Danilko  
Operation Migration   
P: 905-982-1096 
F: 905-982-1097 

NOTE:  Sponsoring a mile of Operation Migration's travel expenses, between Wisconsin and Florida, costs $232. Cdn ($206. U.S.)  This sponsorship was made by someone we don't even know!  The children and I are absolutely thrilled that our Whooping Crane project inspired her donation.  Thank you SO MUCH to the generous sponsor.  News of your sponsorship made our week!


Our Texas Pen Pals!

October 30, 2006 e-mail from Ellie Morse, Third Grade teacher at Poe Elementary School, in Houston, Texas:

Margaret, my name is Ellie Morse and I have just read Liz's mail and the information you posted on the OM guest page.   I have 120 third graders and I would love to have some kind of writing experience to go with this awesome crane migration.  I could either do email or "snail mail", and if you would like to participate, please let me know via my school mail, emorse@houstonisd.org.   Looking forward to hearing from you!    ellie

Our class, enjoying the first shipment of letters
from our Texas pen pals!


Our Class Project 
Featured on the Operation Migration Website!

Posted on the Operation Migration web page, October 30, 2006:



Date: October 30th, 2006 - 
Entry 3


Reporter: Liz Condie

2006 Migration Map

Location: Main Office Migration Progress & Comparison Graph
Distance Traveled Migration Day 26 - 

Craniac Kids Take Action - USA

Accumulated Distance 193.8 miles Craniac Kids Take Action - Canada

 Kids and Teachers 'Rock'!

Watch OM on National Geographic's Wild Chronicles video


Now there are even more Craniac Kids In Action!!

Joining the kids at Louisville Kentucky's John F. Kennedy Montessori School in writing to ExxonMobil is a class from the Harriett Todd Public School in Orillia, Ontario (about 1.5 hours north of OMís main office). Their teacher, Margaret Black also sent us copies of her students letters as well as some photos and we posted them to a special website page as we did for their US counterparts. (Click the link above)

What's more, Eleanor Morse, a teacher from Houston, Texas is now in touch with Louisville's Lori Trout and Orillia's Margaret Black. There's talk of the kids becoming penpals. Don't you just love it when an idea catches on? It's like it takes on a life of its own!

Thanks and kudos to the kids for their interest, support, and all their work writing the letters. Our sincere gratitude also goes to the teachers who are shaping the minds of those into whose hands we will be turning over the future of our wildlife, our environment - our world. If Lori, Margaret and Eleanor are the standard, we 'old folk' don't have a darn thing to worry about.

Operation Migration - Field Journal - Current


Orillia Packet & Times Newspaper Article
about our class' Whooping Crane Project

October 27, 2006:

(Click image to view article)


Greetings from the Operation Migration Office!

October 18, 2006 e-mail from Liz Condie, at Operation Migration, re: our "Whooping Crane Central" classroom and integrated study unit:

Hi Margaret,

I'm not impressed - - I'm amazed!!!  Wow- what a lot of work you have put into this for your kids.  We are so glad you could put the extra 'goodies' we sent to good use.

If your kids do some letter writing to Exxon, please make some colour photocopies and send them to me - I'll reimburse you for the copy cost and mailing.  I would love to add them to the Craniac Kids Take Action 'letter gallery' on our website.

Thanks so much for the MileMaker sponsorship too. Much appreciated.  That was very generous on top of everything  else you are doing.

Please keep in touch. There is nothing we like hearing about more than what the guardians of our future are up to.


Liz Condie
COO, Director of Communications & Fund Development
800-675-2618 or 905-982-1096
OPERATION MIGRATION... where imagination, innovation, and ingenuity produce unique science.


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