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A STORK’S JOURNEY reached new heights with a Summer Kickoff Picnic!

We were invited last week to attend the launch of Storks Journey at Franklin Canyon Park which rests on 605 acres near the center of Los Angeles between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills. Within the park boundaries are chaparral, grasslands and oak woodlands, a three-acre lake, an ADA-accessible duck pond, expansive picnic grounds, and over five miles of hiking trails. The lake and pond serve as permanent and seasonal home for birds in the Pacific flyway. It's a fantastic park for families with young children has a loop trail around the reservoir that is stroller friendly.

Being in Los Angeles, I've never been to Franklin Canyon park. It is an amazing secluded park, but it is far off into the mountains on a windy one-way road. When we approached the parking lot we were greeted by a big poster for “A Stork’s Journey” with two staff members pointing us towards the auditorium where the start of our guided journey began. We were pretty early, as I usually am with all events, but as we waited for the other people to join, we feasted on the snacks they provided and checked out the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. Not to mention we had the privilege of having the guide all to ourselves! He walked us around and explained to us in more detail about the birds chirping overhead and point out the nests located in the crevices around the center. There was a nest made of mud, one made of sticks, and another high up more elaborate nest that housed baby birds.

As the rest of the party joined, we began our walk through the canyon stopping multiple times to hear and see the different types of birds. The guide brought a telescope so we could all peer across the pond to closely look at “unkindness” of Ravens and woodpeckers. Though the kids were more enthralled by the turtles we came across at the pond, this was an easy family friendly hike. When we got back to the nature center we were directed into a big room where the children made bird masks, colored stork themed papers, and learned origami and the adults got to sit down with Erik Neveux, the composer for the film. Erik explained to us in detail the process of creating music for a film. The process to approve the movie took two years, then it came down to crunch time. It took one month to write the music, and one day to record. Talk about pressure! He’s got three children and the youngest, being only 4, was his biggest inspiration.

This film is a fantastic family friendly movie about an underling sparrow who gets abandoned by his family and adopted by a family of storks. As the storks need to migrate to Africa, the sparrow is told he cannot come because he’s only a sparrow and doesn’t have the ability to make the journey. Well the sparrow takes on this challenge and the movie is about this journey and how he handles the many obstacles on his way. A great movie for children because it reinforces the concept that children can achieve anything they put their mind to.

Available exclusively for FREE on Google Play for a limited time before theaters starting June 1! Featuring the voice talents of Drake Bell (Superhero Movie, “Drake and Josh”), YouTube star Justine “iJustine” Ezarik and Jane Lynch (“Glee”, Wreck-It Ralph), "A Stork's Journey" follows Richard, a sparrow orphaned at birth and raised by storks who believes that he is a stork, too! But when winter comes and the storks prepare to migrate to Africa, his stork family must reveal his true identity and leave him behind in the forest with the other sparrows since he would not survive the long journey. Determined to prove he is a stork after all, Richard ventures south on an epic adventure, accompanied by friends big and small, to unleash his true potential and be reunited with his family.

Thank you Lionsgate for inviting us to experience this wonderful journey and all the wonderful things we discovered and learned will forever be cherished.

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