HomeNewsELAA's "Song of the Whooping Crane" Wins U.S. EPA Award

ELAA's "Song of the Whooping Crane" Wins U.S. EPA Award

Sharon Kuchinski and her second-grade class of 2012-13 received first-place honors in the U.S. EPA's 2013 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest.

Their entry, "Song of the Whooping Crane," won in the dance category. Ms. Kuchinski reads the narrative story by Eileen Spinelli as the students interpret the Whooping Cranes' annual migration journey through dance. A video of their entry is available at the end of this article.

The City of Gainesville, at its September 19, 2013 City Commission meeting, proclaimed September 26, 2013 to be Expressions Learning Arts Academy 2012-2013 2nd Grade Class and Ms. Kuchinski Day. The proclamation was read by Mayor Ed Braddy.

Intergenerational Description of Joint Project

Choreographing and performing our poetry dance became very meaningful to the students and it was fun! Teaching and including the students in the learning, exploration, and creation phases of this project is in accordance with Ms. Carson’s philosophy of “endowing every child with a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

Gainesville Proclamation for Ms. Kuchinski and the 2012-13 Second Grade ClassGainesville Mayor Ed Braddy with ELAA's Sharon Kuchinski and the 2012-13 Second Grade Class.
During this special project Ms. Kuchinski was able to pass on her passion for birds and teach the children about birds in our ecosystems. Ms. Kuchinski was very inspired and encouraged by the children’s ability to understand and empathize with the Whooping Crane’s plight.

Celebration of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder

Our 2nd grade class theme became “The Young Naturalists.” We studied birds all year and went on about five bird watching trips throughout the school year. Our school is located about one mile from Paynes Prairie Preserve and is surrounded by woods. Binoculars came out at most recesses and the students identified more than 20 birds by sight and song.

We followed the endangered Whooping Crane’s fall migration from Wisconsin to Florida and participated in The Journey North Program. We became very aware of the Whooper's plight and the birds’ loss of habit as a major contributor to their endangerment.