This is such a cute project to help save the endangered spoon-billed sandpiper.

How endangered?

The population is now less than 200 pairs. Each year, this small shorebird has to fly from their breeding ground at Siberia, Russia down to South East Asia for wintering. The main threats it is facing are intertidal habitat loss throughout its migratory and wintering ranges, as well as bird trapping.

Watch the video:

It was sponsored by the Eric Hosking Trust and major bird organizations. About five hundred grade school kids along the flyway were recruited to color 1200 pages that were then animated for this video. This map shows the flyway and breeding ranges the bird uses through Russia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, around to Bangladesh.

And now each child can see themselves and their work in the finished project and know they were part of something greater than themselves, no doubt inspiring a future ornithologist or two.

Must have been cool beans to participate, I have very distinct memories of coloring stuff in grade school, but never for something like this. Our biggest projects were coloring pictures for each kid’s birthday book, construction paper string-bound by the teacher. I still have mine somewhere, I bet I could remember most all of the kids.

Back then I would have seen this in the Weekly Reader, today it’s on YouTube. It was this very project that made me aware of the endangered, critically endangered, status of the bird. Here’s wishing Spoonie luck, it’s time to go back to school, I mean fly south for the winter.