After a chance meeting with one of the Operation Migration people, my friend and fellow quilter Roberta Williams (who made the Hillary Quilt of my cat for me), volunteered to create a quilt for them to auction to help support their incredible work with cranes, especially the Whooping Crane.
Above, the quilt Roberta created and machine quilted, shows a group of cranes on their migration from Wisconsin to Florida, led by the team from Operation Migration in their ultra light aircraft. "Imprinting" is the basis of this magical journey. Hatched at the International Crane Institute and raised by humans in crane attire with puppet hands that resemble crane heads for feeding, etc., the birds grow up in Wisconsin and learn to follow the ultra light aircraft when they fly.
The entire story of this year's class of cranes and their amazing journey south to their winter quarters in Florida was documented as it happened on their "In the Field" page on their website, http://www.operationmigration.org/. Ongoing work with them now is still being documented and posted, but scroll down the page a bit to read about their final arrival and flight, and about Roberta's quilt, and see heart-stopping photos of the birds flying with the aircraft.
I read the log entries as the migration ended, holding my breath, hoping they would arrive safely. The final flyover was all over the internet, Twitter, etc., with videos and there was a live crane cam as well. They arrived safely and magnificently, and brought tears to my eyes. What an incredible feat was accomplished. A species is being saved by this organization.
If you saw the movie "Fly Away Home" it told the story of their first try at this theory of guiding young migrating birds with an ultra light craft. They tried with Canada Geese to learn if it worked and if it would be possible at all, and then continued with Sand Hill Cranes, and finally the Whooping Cranes, on the verge of extinction but slowly growing in numbers.
Above, a detail of the crane quilt, a visually gorgeous 60" x 48" piece of art. Roberta machine quilted it on her Bernina. See more about the quilt, which has been auctioned off very successfully, on the Operation Migration website. I am so proud she gave her time and talent to help with this cause, and that so many people could see this lovely quilt, bid on it, help the cause, and see what we are doing in quilting as well. See more of her work at http://www.robertawilliamsdesigns.com/
Quilting finds a way to help so many causes, and I wanted to share this story with you, and if you are a wildlife lover, you'll love to read the story behind the quilt.
Keep quilting, your work gets better every day, and can help others as well.