Quarantine with Cranes – Week 7 Activity

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Welcome to Week 7 of Quarantine with Cranes! Since the onset of the pandemic and the orders to stay safer at home in Wisconsin, our education and outreach staff has been working hard to provide you with fun, crane-focused activities to do at home with your family. This week’s activities focus on maps. See Week 6 of Quarantine with Cranes here.

Cranes of the World map by Birdorable                                                                                                           

Activity Description: Maps are flattened projections of our planet, scaled down to a viewable size. Maps help us locate where we are on the Earth and places we want to go. Maps also can provide us with information about things like population density or species distribution. We use maps to track cranes and observe the habitats they are using, which helps us protect those habitats. In this week’s activity, you will be looking at maps that tell stories and creating a map of your house, backyard or neighborhood.

Grade Level: 3 to 6 

Time estimate: 2.5 hours  

Topics covered: Language arts, social studies, science and geography   

Materials needed: Internet access, paper, ruler and writing utensils   

Adult involvement: Minimal    

Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor or Outdoor   


Cranes of the World Map 

Wisconsin Wetland StoryMap 

Whooping Crane StoryMap

“Let Grow” Map template

Work Plan:  

First, take a look at the map pictured above, depicting all 15 crane species and where they are found throughout the world. You can download and print this map here. Cranes live on five of the seven continents. What species of cranes are found where you live? If you live in North America, there are two species of cranes that can be found here. They are the Whooping Crane and the Sandhill Crane. The Sandhill Crane is the most abundant species of crane in the world, while the Whooping Crane is the rarest.   

Whooping and Sandhill Crane comparison
The Whooping Crane, pictured on the left, is the rarest species of crane. In comparison, the abundant Sandhill Crane is found throughout North America and northeast Asia. Sandhill Crane photo by Joe Galkowski

Use the 
StoryMap here to learn more about Whooping Cranes. This StoryMap will guide you through the history and recovery of the Whooping Cranes. The two maps included in the StoryMap will show you the migration route and range of the wild and reintroduced populations of Whooping Cranes.[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion style=”flat” active_section=”1″ collapsible_all=”true”][vc_tta_section title=”Follow-up Questions” tab_id=”1589485439460-796a313f-4867″][vc_column_text]

Where are the summering and wintering grounds for the natural Aransas-Wood Buffalo population?  

Through which U.S. states does the Eastern Migratory Population migrate?   

What caused the decline of Whooping Cranes in the early 1900s?

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The natural Aransas-Wood Buffalo population spends their summers in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park and their winters at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

The Eastern Migratory Population migrates through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Unregulated hunting and habitat loss caused the decline of Whooping Cranes in the early 1900s.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you answered the loss of wetland habitats for the last question, you are exactly right. Wetlands are critical habitats for all crane species. Cranes use wetlands for shelter, food, water, a place to nest and raise their chicks.  Here is another StoryMap you can explore, all about the wetlands of Wisconsin. This state is home to the International Crane Foundation and other partners working to establish the Eastern Migratory Population. This population of Whooping Cranes spends its summers in the wetlands of Wisconsin and winters in the southeastern United States.   [/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion style=”flat” active_section=”1″ collapsible_all=”true”][vc_tta_section title=”Follow-up Questions” tab_id=”1589485671704-b5977500-ff4f”][vc_column_text]

What benefits do wetlands provide animals and people?   

What percentage of Wisconsin is covered in wetlands?   

Are there more wetlands in northern or southern Wisconsin?  

If you live in Wisconsin can you find your home on this map? If so, is there a wetland near you?

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Wetlands provide food, water and shelter to animals like cranes. They are beneficial to humans because they provide flood control, water quality improvement of our lakes and rivers, and recharge our groundwater.

Fifteen percent of Wisconsin is covered in wetlands. A majority of Wisconsin’s wildlife species depend on wetlands for survival.

More wetlands are located in northern Wisconsin compared to southern Wisconsin.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][vc_column_text]Now that we have learned about Whooping Cranes and their habitats, it’s time for you to make a map of your habitat! This can be a map of anywhere you want, like your room, your house, your backyard or your neighborhood.   

Before you get started on your map, we must learn the important elements all maps should have.  

 Titleshould tell basic information about your map and the area it represents.   

Symbols: simple illustrations that represent landmarks in the area you are mapping. An example of this is when rivers are represented on maps by blue squiggly lines. 

Legend: explains the symbols or colors used on your map.  

Map legend example
 rose: a directional symbol to indicate the cardinal direction of north, south, east and west.  

Map compass rose exampleScale: shows the relation between a certain distance on the map and the actual distance in real life. For example, one inch on the map might represent one mile in real life.
Map scale example

Starting your map!  

Step one: First, open Google Maps and find your neighborhood and take note of what it looks like from above. Write down the streets that run through your neighborhood and the streets they connect with. If you can print or trace the Google Maps image it could help you when drawing your own map. 

Google map example image
walk around your neighborhood. Use a notebook to take notes on what you see, find some distinguishing landmarks that you can put on your map.  

Time to start drawing your mapYou can use a ruler and pencil to create a grid on a piece of paper, or you can use this template to create your map. This template made by “Let Grow” has a grid already created to help you scale your map. There is also another template that you can use to map smaller areas like your backyard, house or bedroom.  

Remember to be creative when making your map, think of some important landmarks in your neighborhood to include. They can be as silly as you want. You could use a pretty tree or a big house as a landmark. 

Example hand-drawn map


Maps can be very useful tools when trying to locate something or learn about an area. One last map for you to look at is here. It is called “Where Are the Whoopers,” and it allows us to keep track of Whooping Crane sightings throughout the Eastern Flyway. We gather this data from sighting reports from the general public on banded Whooping Cranes people see in their area. This is a living map, changing from season to season as the Whooping Cranes migrate. You can contribute to this map by submitting your own sightings to our database. If you see a Whooping Crane in the wild, take note of the color bands on its legs. If you can see the number on those bands you can use the “Where Are the Whoopers” link to share your sighting. Remember to always keep a safe distance when observing wildlife! 

We learned some really cool things about maps in this lesson, like how they can tell stories, connect us with our communities and even can be alive.

What do you think? Please send your feedback to info@savingcranes.orgWe would love to see photos of you and your kids learning about maps and exploring the outdoors. We will see you next week for Week 8 of Quarantine with Cranes! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]