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Washago, Ontario | Orillia, Ontario

Rama Central PS - Washago, Ontario, Canada

Well - the class of 2007 finally made it! To mark the conclusion of OM's efforts, more than 40 students from grades 2 to 7 at Rama Central PS took some time off to celebrate. Their festivities included rowdy long distance phone calls to Craniacs around North America, Games, and Movies (not to mention some of our favourite snacks like popcorn!).

A special thanks goes out to Ms. Margaret Black, her new principal Mrs. Clark, and to all of the Rama members of "the Migration Club." Your support has left no doubt in anyone's mind that you are now officially Craniac Kids!

Pictured above, some of the dedicated Craniac Kids at Rama holding their "its over" banner
Pictured below, a collage of the celebrations held at Rama PS. We could hear them in Port Perry, 40+ miles away!

From the looks of things, Ms. Black's class at Washago has been working on a major party to celebrate the safe arrival of 17 new Whooping cranes to Florida. She's informed us that the entire group of Craniacs at Rama Central PS (numbering more than 40 and growing!) has been hard at work putting together decoration, posters, and celebration favours in preparation to Whoop it UP this January.

In anticipation of the big day (aka flyover at Dunnellon) they have circulated a banner around the school, collecting the signatures of more than 160 students in support of our efforts. Look for that banner to be unfurled here as soon as the cranes arrive!

For the 2007-2008 year, Margaret Black is once again helping OM with a new crop of Craniac Kids at Rama Central Public school in rural Ontario, Canada.

This year, students in Grades 1-8 at the school are into fall migration in a BIG way! Three lunch hour clubs and two enrichement groups are tracking and comparing the Ultralight-led migration of Whooping cranes with the natural migration of Monarch Butterflies.

Using a variety of games, including a reading challenge, migration-themed math games, crafts, and other activities, Ms. Black has motivated an entire school in efforts to help our project! Ms. Black would also like to share all of her activities with the teachers out there. Her website, The Migration Project, has a great set of resources all related to OM's work.


Above: Several shots of the active Craniac Kids at Rama Central PS.

The hard work of the students at Rama Central caught the attention of their local newspaper, who featured a major article on them! Click on the picture above to read more

Harriett Todd PS - Orillia, Ontario, Canada

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 OM’s main office). Their teacher, Margaret Black also sent us copies of her letter to ExxonMobil, her students letters, as well as some photos and a newspaper article published in their local paper.

Should there be other teachers, students, classes, schools, who would like to reinforce the message sent to ExxonMobil by the 'Craniac Kids' from Louisville KY’s John F. Kennedy Montessori School and Orillia ON’s Harriett Todd Public School, Exxon’s CEO’s address is:
 Mr. Rex W. Tillerson, CEO
 ExxonMobil Corporation
 5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
 Irving, Texas 75039-2298

Margaret's Letter to ExxonMobil

Margaret A. Black
Harriett Todd P.S.
11 George Street
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
L3V 4V8 

October 23, 2006 

Mr. Rex W. Tillerson, CEO
ExxonMobil Corporation
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving, Texas 75039-2298

Dear Mr. Tillerson: 

Last month, a class of students from Kentucky wrote to you, asking your company to assist with an amazing project.  That project is Operation Migration’s Fall 2006 Ultralight-guided Whooping Crane migration from Wisconsin to Florida.  My class is writing to you, today, to tell you that American children, on the flight path, aren’t the only ones interested in this venture.  Canadians, are also cheering the eighteen juvenile Whooping Cranes and their amazing pilots and handlers along, as they journey southward together. 

I remember, well, the desperate measures conservationists employed, during my childhood and teen years, to try and keep Whooping Cranes from becoming extinct. In 1941, there were only 15 Whoopers left.  In 1960, the year I was born, there were 33.  I was seven years old when American and Canadian biologists came together to redouble their efforts to save the Whooping Crane.  At that point, there were still only about 50 birds left.  I recall the celebration when, in my early twenties, biologists announced that Whooping Crane numbers had finally surpassed the 100-mark.  And, on September 6th, 2006, biologists announced that there are now 500 Whooping Cranes in existence! 

The only remaining natural, migratory flock of Whooping Cranes travels between Wood Buffalo National Park, in northern Canada and The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, in Texas.  Operation Migration is reintroducing a migratory flock of Whooping Cranes to eastern North America.  Their reason for doing so is to safeguard the species.  If an oil spill, storm or other such disaster was to hit the western flock, and there wasn’t another population of wild birds living in elsewhere on the continent, the entire species could be wiped off the face of the planet in a single incident.

I told my students I have a dream that, when they are adults, they will tell their children the story about how the Whooping Crane USED TO BE an endangered species and about the remarkable efforts that incredibly creative, talented and dedicated people made to bring the species back from the very brink of extinction.  I am doing what I can to make this dream a reality.  I am encouraging my students speak out about issues that matter to them, such as the plight of the Whooping Crane, and I am personally sponsoring one mile of Operation Migration’s travel expenses, during the current migration, for $206. USD.

Operation Migration is a non-profit, charitable organization that relies upon the generosity of corporations and individuals to carry out its work.  At present, only half of the required funding is in place for the

2006 migration from Wisconsin to Florida (currently underway).   With four Ultralight aircraft, a Cessna and several ground support vehicles, as their means of transportation, one of Operation Migration’s greatest expenses is for fuel.  I challenge your company to join me in supporting Operation Migration with a generous gift of fuel or funding. 

My students and I thank you for your time. 


Margaret A. Black
Grade 2/3 Classroom Teacher

Sample Letters_


The science behind the Whooping Crane Reintroduction project is broad and diverse, and from what teacher, Mrs. Black tells us, this description also applies to her class’s study of the migration, and the endangered Whooping Crane in general.

Mrs. Black notes, “In following the migration south we are able to touch on several curriculum areas: Language (reading, writing, oral communication and media studies), Science (the Grade Two animal unit), Math (graphing, numeration and estimation), Social Studies (mapping), Computer Studies (following migration progress and conducting Whooping Crane research via the internet), Character Education (citizenship, responsibility, caring) and Art.”

Just as Whooping cranes are a considered a keystone species, it appears this project is somewhat of a keystone subject for students. Now that’s a good thing.

Photos from Harriett Todd Public School


Orillia, Ontario kids read letters from their Craniac penpals in Houston, Texas

Orillia, Ontario class holding their letters to their new penpals in Louisville, KY and Houston Texas – all brought together by Whooping cranes!

The class at Harriet Todd PS is ready to celebrate – with palm trees and all, the Florida arrival of the Whooping cranes in OM’s Class of ’06.

The class has been collecting coins since early November  and recently emptied their ‘Change for Cranes’ jar to do a real-life math activity. The kids sorted, counted and rolled the coins and then tallied up the total to send as a contribution to OM.


Newspaper Article

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