Paper cranes migrate toward peace

students make cranes

Photo by Marty Kerins.

Among the thousands of delicately folded paper cranes now making their way around the world in a flight of peace, there are many that came from nests right here in New York.

They are fluttering from the fingers of second-graders at Duanesburg Elementary School (Schenectady County), where teacher Erin Goodwin has been patiently  instructing students as to how to fold a flat piece of floral paper into a beautiful crane. At a session earlier this week, it didn’t take long for students to fill the room with wonder as they produced their first cranes. “Ohhhhhhhh,” says one girl in the front row, hopping up as she sees the crane emerge from her very own hands.

Goodwin became involved with the project through a friend from college. Author, artist and sculptor Sue DiCicco founded “Armed with the Arts” in 2013 following the school shootings in Newtown, Ct.  After being invited by the the United Nations International Day of Peace (tomorrow, Sept. 21) to create a global art project for children, she created the Peace Crane Project.  More than 1 million people are expected to participate.

Goodwin’s students are featured in the Peace Crane Project video being looked at all over the world from  the home page of the project’s web site, Her second graders from last year began their peace crane journey last spring. She is a member of the Duanesburg Teachers Association.

This year, the students in this small, rural school will be sending cranes to relatives in Columbia, Germany, the Phillipines and Florida, among many other places. The goal of the project is to place or exchange cranes on every continent, nation, school, home, community center and place of business in the world. Whew. That’s a lot of wing power.

Placed on a countertop, windowsill, in the crook of a tree, on a blackboard ledge, a sports field, a desk, a dining room table,or a bureau – or strung from a ceiling- the brightly colored cranes, so delicate, are whispers for peace.

Goodwin journeyed to New York City on Wednesday, where peace conferences were being held at the United Nations. She taught high school and college students how to make peace cranes, and joined a vigil for peace outside the UN.

The peace crane project’s web site includes instructions for how to make the cranes. They can be mailed at the step just before the crane pops up, so the emissary birds do not get flattened during flight.

student with paper crane

Photo by Marty Kerins

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