A Labor of Blood, Sweat, and Tears

I’m back at home now, having left the rest of the crew in Wisconsin monitoring the Parent-Reared colts. It took me five travel days to get back – I returned to Rhode Island by way of Ontario so I could deliver one of OM’s vehicles and pick up the car I had left at Heather’s place way back in August. Since I had time, I decided to travel the northern route – through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, east across Ontario, and then south to Heather’s. I had expected the foliage to be “gone by” as I headed north, but WOWZA, it was at PEAK my whole trip! But the real shocker was crossing the border into New York and finding snow on the ground!

Sweat… yesterday was a very busy day with the launch of the ENCORE! Moppet campaign. These adorable stuffed dolls are flying off the shelves which had me printing bio sheets, stuffing envelopes, running to the post office, and returning home to find more orders for these soft and lovable representations of our favorite Whooping Cranes. Mary O’Brien and Heather collaborated to come up with this idea, Mary made them, Heather put together each Moppet’s bio, and BOOM, I’m sweating! I love the name Moppet, too – Heather and I brainstormed names for these creatures one afternoon and she said, “how about moppet?”. I said, “how about WHAT?!?”. She said, “you know, moppet, a doll.” I had never heard that word before so I Googled it – yup, a doll,  a sweet child, even a puppet. “Perfect!”, I said.

Blood… Heather knows that I can’t seem to get through any project without bleeding, and mailing the Moppets yesterday was no exception. I needed to open one of the already-sealed envelopes so I got out my handy Leatherman. Yup, cut myself. Nothing new. Mark, if there’s blood on your envelope, I apologize.

Tears… I did tear up when I left the crew behind in Wisconsin. Partly I would miss what has become my fall (and sometimes winter) family. Partly I felt pretty awful abandoning them when I knew that everyone wanted to return home to their families, their dogs, and their homes. Those were small tears, though, compared to how I felt when I spotted the remains of 32-16 in the Outagamie County field after she had been free only a couple of days.

Of course, the real saying is “a labor of love” and that’s ultimately what it comes down to. I work with and for Operation Migration because I love what they – we – are doing to save one of the most magnificent creatures on the planet – the Whooping Crane.

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  1. Susanne November 3, 2016 8:46 pm

    There is so much hope, love, blood, sweat, tears and money in each of those chicks. Good luck to all of them and their human caretakers.

  2. Catherine Wohlfeil November 2, 2016 9:02 pm

    Free only a couple of days… but that was a couple of days more than she would have had to see open skies with no boundaries, to experience hope, if you had not been there to help her to at least test her wings and fly. So thank you… from her and from me… for giving her that chance to experience that moment of freedom, hope, and adventure. Noble dreams don’t always work out, but without the courage to go forward with them we would be nowhere. So … thank you….

  3. PattiLat November 2, 2016 7:07 pm

    Another wonderful post into the labor of love you all do in saving this beautiful species. Thank you, JoAnne for taking the time to write to us. Thank you for the many things you have done in keeping us informed.

  4. Don Pollette November 2, 2016 11:31 am

    Jo-Anne , sorry you had to witness the demise of 32-16. Take solace in returning to R.I. I formerly lived in E. Prov, Prov. & Barrington. Great state.

    • Jo-Anne Bellemer November 2, 2016 2:28 pm

      I agree, Don – I love RI!

  5. Grandma November 2, 2016 11:03 am

    I am sure you had mixed feelings about leaving the Whooping Cranes and the team. It is a great thing you are doing with the Moppets to raise funds.
    Hoping the “birds” will soon find their way South so all on the team can return home. Again, thank you for all you do.

    • Jo-Anne Bellemer November 2, 2016 2:31 pm

      Agree, Grandma – hope those “rascals” head south soon!

  6. Jane Maher November 2, 2016 7:52 am

    In a vital effort for a good cause, the right people hear the call and come forward. Thank you, Jo Anne

    • Jo-Anne Bellemer November 2, 2016 2:31 pm

      Thank YOU, Jane!