School Homing Pigeon Project

In 2001, members of the Meridian Mississippi Racing Pigeon Club approached their local power company with a request and a plan to help youth take part in racing pigeon fun.

Their plan incorporated participation for those who are not able to have pets of their own. As a result, the kids will have a chance to grow in ways that may not have been possible otherwise.

This project, created by the members of the Meridian Club and named Eyes To The Skies, involves students from two counties and three school districts, with a total of 300 students.

AU club member, teacher, and group coordinator, Ronnie Shumaker, has taught grades 4-6 for the past ten years. His project-based themes enhance the learning process for the children.

They will receive positive influence and education regarding pet ownership responsibility, breeding programs, training and teamwork.

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The Mississippi Power Education Foundation Grant provided funding to cover the cost of the project for each of the three schools, such as:

  • loft construction
  • racing clocks
  • pigeons
  • ARPU memberships
  • loft surveys
  • feed and grit
  • computer software
  • pigeon magazine subscriptions
  • books and videos
  • other supplies

Donations from businesses such as Continental Breeding Station, in Oklahoma City, and Lauderdale County Co-Op in Meridian, Mississippi, have boosted the efforts of the project planners. 

Members of two clubs donated pigeons to the project: the Meridian Mississippi Racing Pigeon Club and the Southern Skies Racing Club.

The learning process includes reading tests utilizing information such as articles appearing in the Racing Pigeon Digest magazine. 
The tests are short lists of questions to help the children think through situations that may arise with their birds.


Students have participated fully in the loft building process from the beginning

The challenges of carpentry have helped students understand what housing is required to have a healthy race team environment

The carpentry skills that the students might never have experienced, other than in this project, will possibly be of benefit in some manner later in their lives.

The students feed and water the pigeons daily.
As they prepare for the competition in the spring of 2003, they study how pigeons and man have partnered throughout history.

They will learn about genetics for developing the type of bird they want and they will learn how to calculate the race results. Then they will share what they have learned by making presentations to other local schools.

This year the program has received a $10,000 grant from Toyota's Investment In Mathematics Excellence (TIME) to continue next year.


The newly formed Queen City Racing Pigeon Club will carry on the project. Members of the club freely share information about this project so that others may develop the same opportunity in their own communities.

Acting in the role of mentor will help an interested school or youth group develop their own project. Ronnie and other AU members are available and willing to share their knowledge and expertise to help other schools implement a similar program.

If you would like information to begin a similar project with your school or youth organization, please contact the American Racing Pigeon Union at 405-848-5801 or email us at aupromo@aol.com


Students from the Oakland Heights Elementary School traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for their first road trip to a national pigeon event, the NPA National Convention. Utilizing fancy pigeon breeds in class study tools has provided information about a variety of breeds for the students. At the convention, they viewed diversity in the over 5,000 birds on display for judging. They were also able to observe and interact with Homer judging to gain a better understanding of standards.

The students not only enjoyed learning from fanciers from across the country, but also provided a little public awareness activity of their own by putting up an informational display. The display included photos of pigeons that served during wartime, historical equipment utilized in that service, and a Power Point program for visitors to learn more about their school's project.

Their new goal is to visit the 2004 AU National Convention in Tampa, Florida. There they will attend the 2004 AU National Youth Race and tour the area lofts.

To be able to cover trip expenses, they are working with the Queen City Racing Pigeon Club members to conduct a special one-loft race. Their hope is that the entry fees will cover costs. The scheduled dates are October 16, 23 and 30.

Here are some of the students during morning shipping in April

Ronnie created a variety of PowerPoint presentations that utilize basic learning concepts in a fun way with pigeon characters.

Their trip to the 2004 AU National Convention (click for more information) PDF Format, 625k file

Keep up with their latest information at: http://www.eyes-tothe-skies.com

Anyone interested in finding out more about this type of program or in finding out more about the special race are welcome to contact Ronnie Shumaker at rshumaker@mpsd.k12.ms.us.