I mentioned in my last post that our window remodeling project was to start Monday. It did. I woke up with the dastardly alarm and was ready for the installers but they were detained by two hours at Lowe's because the store had made a mistake in the order. The two office windows and two garage windows were all wrong and had to be reordered. So the installers arrived late but made up for lost time by completing the windows in the living room. The windows are wonderful, and this is the first time in the ten years we've lived here that fresh air has blown through that room (the windows were painted shut by decades of layers of paint). Tomorrow the work starts again, and this time definitely early.
What does all this have to do with my promised post about an event that sets my spirit and imagination soaring? It is this. I am so tired tonight that I'm going to provide lots of links and etceteras hoping you'll enjoy the trip like a true and brave class of Whooping Crane chicks following an ultralight to winter nesting grounds...
The second online newsletter event that I look forward to is Journey North's tracking of each year's class of Endangered Whooping Crane chicks making their first journey south as ultralight airplane "parents" teach them the way. There's a marvelous clip at the website that shows a slow-motion crane training flight! This is a part of the welcome to new participants:
Here's How to Participate
- Year Eight! Journey South with Endangered Whooping Cranes Led by Ultralights >>
- Where Are They Now? Meet the Cranes and See Egg-to-Sky Timeline >>
- News Summaries on Fridays (by E-mail) >>
- BEFORE Migration: Build Background with Downloadable Booklets for Kids >>
- DURING Migration: How to Track Migration in the Classroom >>
- Fall Lessons and Activities >>
The oversight organization for all groups involved in the effort to save endangered Whooping Cranes is Bring Back the Cranes. So many wonderful and caring people put their all into this work. I truly admire them, especially after watching the video below that reminded me of what happened after the journey last year. Here it is, with lofty highs and mournful lows, providing all the more reason to fortify the project in the future.
Another challenge for the Whooping Cranes and their ultralight "parents" is, literally, on the horizon. I was absolutely crestfallen when I came upon this bit of news reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, especially because I see promise in wind-powered energy.
Whooping cranes have waged a valiant fight against extinction, but federal officials warn of a new potential threat to the endangered birds: wind farms. Down to about 15 in 1941, the gargantuan birds that migrate each fall from Canada to Texas now number 266, thanks to conservation efforts. But because wind energy has gained such traction, whooping cranes could again be at risk -- either from crashing into the towering wind turbines and transmission lines or because of habitat lost to the wind farms. "Basically you can overlay the strongest, best areas for wind turbine development with the whooping crane migration corridor," said Tom Stehn, whooping crane coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The service estimates as many as 40,000 turbines will be erected in the U.S. section of the whooping cranes' 200-mile wide migration corridor. "Even if they avoid killing the cranes, the wind farms would be taking hundreds of square miles of migration stopover habitat away from the cranes," Stehn said.
Another article expressing concerns about wind towers further endangering whooping cranes can be read here after this introduction:
With wind energy towers rising around the state, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials worry about rare whooping cranes that pass through on their migration route betweem Canada and Texas. Representatives of the Fish and Wildlife Service plan a meeting this week with the North Dakota Public Service Commission and a separate meeting with officials of some 30 wind companies working in the Great Plains. They want to discuss a habitat conservation plan for the big white birds. "It's on the table now because we're seeing such a rapid increase in the number and size of wind power projects.It seems that every bit of heartening and promising environmental news these days comes with a jolt of reality. It's our path, what the generations now on Earth must address. We're given enormous challenges, sadnesses. Why us? Why now? Should we care about 16 Whooping Crane chicks trusting an ultralight to successfully show them the way to a special place, with safe spots to rest along the way? I certainly think so, and I think that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department would benefit by knowing that its concerns are warranted. So, with new knowledge, this year I guess I must do more than look on with awe at their journey. I'll write a letter, make some calls. Still, my excitement about their journey is as great as ever. This quote by Anais Nin* expresses my feelings well:
The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
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