Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center Racing Pigeon Project

Thanks to the efforts of the Tulare Invitational Racing Pigeon Club and the West Visalia Invitational Racing Pigeon Club, students at the Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center have stepped into the racing pigeon sport.

Once the charter school made the decision, the project started taking shape quickly. A loft built by West Visalia Club President, Ron Sanders, was delivered to the school. Club members from Tulare Invitation RPC, West Visalia Invitational RPC and various others have donated twenty-four birds.

A big thank you goes to Ron, Ellen and Eric Walley of R&E Lofts, who have coordinated this from the beginning and continue to bring donations in, including an Atis electronic timing system and chip bands from Ed Minvielle and Siegel's; a copy of the Hawkeye Loft Management System from Greg Davidson and Comproware; a care package of crates and vitamins from Dick Ricker and JEDDs; a one-year subscription to Racing Pigeon Digest courtesy of Gene Yoes; a set of instructional videos from Continental Breeding Station in Oklahoma; Internet accessible database from John Vance; a care package of various supplies from Foy's Pigeon Supply; 200 pounds of feed, 100 pounds of safflower and 2 sacks of grit from the Seed Factory; 4 birds, feeder, waterer and grit container from Carl & Althea Hanson of Zephyr Lofts; 3 birds, 1 sack of feed, a starter loft and one year free shipping from Ron Sanders and R&D Lofts; 2 birds from Art & Karen Vanherreweghe Loft; 2 birds from Larry & Ann Cook; 2 birds and a sack of feed from Ron, Ellen and Eric Walley of R&E Lofts; 2 birds and 6 months supply of HapyCo Loft Feed Mix from Chick & Judy Brooks of HapyCo Lofts; waterer, 4X4 breeder cage, a breeding pair of birds and bands from Walt Stammer; loft frame (for future) from Ken Larrey, Tulare Invitational Club and West Visalia Invitational Club; a care package of supplies from Ganus Family Lofts; a benefit auction courtesy Fred Smeltzer and Fred Lantorno of IPIGEON.com; a pair of breeders from Jolie & Natalie Breaux of Sisters Loft, and educational and nutritional items from Global Pigeon Supply.

What a fantastic show of support that deserves recognition and thanks! All these donors and supporters will be enriching the lives of children and the sport of racing homing pigeons.

The American Racing Pigeon Union facilitated a contribution to the school project because of the generous donation by the Rock River Valley Club in Illinois to the AU sport development program. The funds were earmarked to assist groups of this type.

The Tulare Club and the West Visalia Club will be working together to assist the school as they progress in their project start up. The committee of club members will help with the drafting of grant proposals to help the school cover costs of the project without dipping into the school's funds. The beauty of this type of project is its ability to stand apart from school funding, thus allowing the students, teachers and sponsoring clubs to make the project as small or as large as they like, according to their fundraising activities.

Bryan Shirk teaches mathematics, physical education and gardening at the school. He will supervise as the students raise and train their pigeons to fly up to 300 miles. In the process, the state education requirements throughout the school curriculum will be met as the students apply problem solving, reading and writing skills. Parents and teachers will provide support to make the project a success. Some of the participating students are not able to have pets of their own. This will allow the opportunity to have that type of experience at an important age.

The school was eager to begin this innovative approach to learning. Students from the fifth through the ninth grades are already gearing up to begin correspondence with donors and other pigeon fanciers. They will conduct Internet research, prepare journals and write and present reports to other schools.

Being located in a more rural setting will allow a few to extend the project to their own homes. The school is also interested in expanding the project to include local 4-H members.

The school has already received attention from local press. With the potential for additional community support and the ability to communicate with already existing school racing pigeon projects, who's to say where this will lead?

Comments From Supporting Clubs & The AU

Tulare Club President, Carl Hanson "We are very pleased that the school will be starting with this much support behind them. It demonstrates the generosity of the people in this sport."

West Visalia Club President, Ron Sanders "The support has been phenomenal and we are excited to see how this project will grow. So far the number of kids enrolling in the project has doubled. We think that is fantastic!"

Ron, Ellen & Eric Walley of R&E Lofts "This is such an exciting project to be able to work with, the kids are so excited, and it is beyond words the support that we are getting from our fellow fanciers with this project everyone is working together to accomplish the same goal, it is really great!"

Rock River Valley Club President, Gary Whitebread "The Rock River Valley Club is proud to be involved in helping this project off to a good start."

AU President Frank Greenhall, a school superintendent who has dedicated his entire career to kids and his leisure time to our great hobby, says, "Efforts of this type are tremendous for our youth and our sport. These efforts take having speakers come once a year into classrooms to a higher level of experience and one that I am sure will have a positive impact on our sport."

Eleanor Roosevelt - Community Learning Center

Walt Stammer, Ellen Walley & Ron Sanders oversee the set up.

Ron Sanders & employees getting loft into position

The kids with Carl Hanson & Bryan Shirk

Getting the birds settled

Keep Track Of The School's Progress

Take a look at their web site to keep up with their progress:http://www.erclc.org/

Students kicked off their project with a picnic on May 19. Project coordinator, Ellen Walley, describes the day's event:

"Ok everyone,

I am going to try and explain to you our day today and include pictures. The Eleanor Roosevelt School had their potluck picnic today. This included the picking of the young birds for each of the kids. The list of kids participating grew to 30 by the end of the day.

Each child was given a snap on band fluorescent in color and a permanent marker to write either their name or a name they chose for the birds on the bands. Some of the names were Bob (this was a hen), Homer, Dijon, Ashley and so many more than I could keep up with.

The kids all lined up with their parents by their side and one by one each child and parent climbed in the door and picked out their special bird and held, petted, and snapped on their ring. It took around an hour to go through all of them.

After the completion of the banding, the bird trap was then opened and the birds took off out the trap like they were pros. The kids and parents weren't about to take their eyes off those birds.

They all talked about what magnificent creatures that they are, how beautiful they are, and they are so lucky to be able to be free. We had 2 red tail hawks come for a visit. The kids and parents were concerned, but then a friendly crow came by and chased the hawk away. I told the kids that this crow will help protect the pigeons, so they liked that crow.

The birds stayed out for about an hour and a half. The majority of the kids stayed there to make sure their birds went in safely. I got a report from a young girl that the last bird was in and they were all safe and eating. She then went and got a little treat of safflower and feed for the birds and fed and tucked them in for the night safe and sound.

Whew! What a busy day!

They received their first care package today from Mike Ganus, which included his darkening system, 10 books on the history of the Janssen brothers, 2 Champion Pigeons vol 4, and 1 Champion Pigeons vol 5. This added to the day of fun for them.

Well I think this about covers most of our day.

Thanks to everyone. It was a very good day for the kids. Because of all of you that made it possible, these kids are going to have such good memories.

Yours in the Sport, Ron Ellen and Eric Walley / R&E Lofts"

There's more:

The North Road Combine held their Eleanor Roosevelt School Benefit Race Saturday May 22, 2004. There were a total of 12 flyers from the Fresno RPC, Tulare RPC, and the West Visalia RPC to compete in the Benefit Race.

The Benefit Race was held out of the race station from Weed, California. It was approximately 400 miles for most. Proceeds were split fifty-fifty with the Eleanor Roosevelt School.

The race was a tough one. After all calculations were done the First, Second, and Third Place birds are:

  1. JOHN SWANK 780 AU 01 FRC BC C 1ST
  2. JOHN SWANK 655 AU 98 FRC BC C 2ND
  3. JOHN SWANK 707 AU 01 FRC BC C 3RD

John Swank was the big winner!!! CONGRATULATIONS CHAMP!!!

Thank you everyone for your participation in our Benefit Race to help with costs at the Eleanor Roosevelt School Pigeon Project.