Who and What is Dodoland? (Dodo Land)

In 1977 the Award Winning large format book called

"Journey to Dodo Land" (Dodoland)
was published by Bird Helmet Productions in Los Angles. Thanks to Doug Riseborough appreciation and Dr. Richard Mazureks vision for the future. ( Many other Angels are listed below) The outstanding large format colorful book won a Printers Institute of America Award in 1978. Della Burford, author and illustrator, created this land where "you can be what you want to be". Dale Bertrand's photographs were published to create the Giant Flower Island. In Dodoland you will find a Sea of Love, A Dragon Ship, Land of Fire, Night Bubble, Island of Eyes and a Giant Flower Island.

The Bird Helmet

The Bird Helmet is a symbol of creativity and the children color it the colors they love best to fly to Dodo Land

In 1978 former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau wrote to Della from Ottawa stating, " My three sons are delighted with your story which ,I am sure, they will want to hear very often. . " In quoting from Ellen Rothstein from Bookmark ( Magazine for Teachers/Librarians in British Columbia), September, 2001- " the Dodo bird once lived on the Earth but, because people laughed and teased him, he decided to move to the place called Dodoland ( Dodo Land ). He became the "Elemental Dodo"- part bird, part fish, part camel and part dragon and taught anyone who came to Dodo Land (Dodoland) to become " whatever you want to be". - "The theme for this issue's Bookmark is "The Eye of the Beholder,", focusing on the integration and importance of arts in education. The works of author-illustrator Della Burford are the epitome of that integration. "

The Elemental Dodo.

In the winter of 1978 Tedrian Chizik of New York, a dance and movement specialist began to perform as the Elemental Dodo. He directed and produced Journey to Dodoland - Dodo Land ( Dodoland) with the assistance of Della Burford and Dale Bertrand and Merian Soto who performed as the Dancing Flamingo. Julie Lieberman as Cooey and Musical Director. Jerry Shrair and Larry Karush also were musical directors at various stages. One of the main aims was integrating music, movement, art, drama and creating a participatory production.

One of the first participatory performances of "Journey to Dodoland" was at " The Museum of Natural History" in New York in 1980. One of two places in the world that has a stuffed dodo bird. The show on the poster stated "Journey to Dodoland, On Our Way to Puerto Rico" - A musical drama based on the original story "Journey to Dodoland' by Della Burford with participation by the children in the audience. In the summer of 1980 a benefit performance was given at the Cuban Refugee Camps in Pennsylvania sponsored by the Red Cross. The Project "Opportunidad" took the performance in 1982, to East Harlem in New York with sponsorship from the City of New York. Dodoland was performed twice to the schools in East Harlem and Magical Earth also went to these schools.

It also performed at many hospitals including the Sloan Kettering Hospital and Metropolitan Hospital in New York. Carlos Loran from the Hospital wrote," Your show did more than bring smiles of joy and laughter to the faces of the many youngster present. It actually made them forget , if only for a short while, about their handicaps and illnesses."

In the years that Dodoland performed in New York it was adapted for a performance for many different events, building and festivals. It performed at the Native American Indian Community Centre, for the Children's festival in Remini, Italy and through the sponsorship of the Organization of American States taken to the "Magic in Me" Conference in Gautemala in 1983, where 300 teachers from Central and South America attended Dodoland along with many handicapped children in various hospitals. There was a grand finale with DODOLAND and Disney World Characters at the National Theatre. Every special event was attended by handicapped and disabled children. In New York City Dodoland performed at the Brookly Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Library, Staten Island Childrens Museum, and St Peter's Church adjacent to Citycorp on 54th and Lexington for the United Nations International School and other children. The school wrote," Your fantastic imagination took them to a make believe world, thus providing them with a most unusual and enriching experience."

Dodoland went to Washington and was performed at the Smithsonian Institute in the Discovery Theatre and at the Pavilion of the old Post Office. On the poster from the show it describes Dodo Land as being " In the tradition of children's stories like the Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland", this is a festival of imagination, music and audience participation." Over a seven year period Dodo Land was performed by Imaginations Unlimited for over 100,000 children internationally.

Imaginations Unlimited in New York told "Journey to Dodoland" as a storytelling at the" WNYC Storytelling Festival in Central Park. Over many years"Journey to Dodo Land" (Dodoland) was done as a storytelling by Della in hundreds of schools. including being taken to native children at the Wandering Spirit Survival School, handicapped children at Sunnyview School and translated into sign language and taken to all the deaf children in Ontario. Della was Director of the children's part of the Cape Cod Writer's Conference and Eleanor Titus states in a article called 'Storyteller takes students on sojourn over the rainbow" -for the the Cape Cod Times, "Della Burford, known as the "Bird Lady of the Rainbow" shows children how to get there. ..she gently lifts each child into his or her own imaginary world." Author Visits are still being done today and can be arranged with Della.

When Della Burford and Dale Bertrand's book "Magical Earth Secrets" was published in 1990 by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee it added an emphasis of environmental awareness to their workshops.
It is the story of an Eagle Child who loses its power because of pollution and the secrets it learns to love and care for the earth. The book became a bestseller in Canada. David Suzuki in the foreword of the book states, " Children of the world need hope not despair ,this book and your postive actions provide it." Pippa Wysong in an article with the Toronto Star states, " The book is indeed about the environment, but presented in a style that is lyrical and typical of the traditional storyteller."

"The Environmental Activity Guide", a teacher's guide, has 54 activites for children to express their feelings about protecting the earth. This guide was bought by the Metro Toronto Separate School Board to be used in over 200 schools, and Della has instructed hundreds of libarians and teachers on how to effectively use the activites to teach the environment.

'Magical Earth Secret" was performed for two years in New York by Imaginations Unlimited before being published as a book. It has subsequently been performed in Sweden by children at the wonderful Globetree event in the Concert Hall in Stockholm and at the Centennial library in Edmonton, Alberta by the Maria Formolo Dance Company.

Dodoland was represented at WOFIC the World Festival of Island Cultures in May/ June 2001 in Jeju Island, Korea in the Asian and American/European Pavilion. The story was told in English by Della and translated in Korean with sign language.

Many schools across Canada have performed Magical Earth Secret as a school play. Magical Earth Secret, with Storytellings and Performances has been performed for 100,000 children.
Many Educational Workshops have been presented over the last 20 years. From 1977 to 2002 Della and Dale have led Workshops in 300 schools and libraries in Canada and the United States.

In 1995 the Journey to Dodo Land story (Dodoland) was chosen to be showcased in the Swiftsure project in Victoria, British Columbia, underwritten by the B.C and Federal goverment of Canada, using internet technologies to showcase BC culture. Ivan Sinclair , Dave Godfrey from Softwords and Della Burford, and Dale Bertrand (authors and illustrators) launched the cyberspace playground with stories and interactive activity centre. "Journey to Dodoland", "Magical Earth Secrets"and the " Environmental Activity Guide" are woven together to create this exciting web site. In Dodoland there is a Night Bubble to showcase childrens art and writing , a Giant Flower Island to learn about the environment, an Island of Eyes to meet authors and illustrators, and a Dragon Ship for stories, activities and word games. Ian Miller of the Times Colonist Newspaper commented , " Dodoland is a new stop on the internet, designed to lure the kids into an interactive world of computers and art."

In 2000-2001 Della, with the help of the Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Kootenay.developed "Dodo Land" (Dodoland) further and her Storytelling Workshops. She participated in special workshops in Business development. She learned many Internet & Animation ideas with Sharron Swan and got great counselling with Barb Williams. A wonderful program - thanks to everyone including Sea Coordinator Kay Ryan. During this time Della worked with Diana Rhodes from the Seed of Life Peace Foundation and together with Dodo Land (Dodoland) and the Earthchild Environment Foundation collected Peace Wishes that were published in two separate Peace Scroll books. She also participated in a major Artist Residence at Sundance School and showed the students and her new Storytellers and Stone Journey Art at the Community Arts Council Gallery. In 2002 Della storytold at the International Children Festival in Vancouver. S"ArtSmart" project at Immaculate Conception School was done in Vancouver in April of 2003.

Dodoland in Cyberspace is a "Safe Place for Children". It is in its eighth year with between 2,500 - 10, 000 hits/requests per day for access to specific contents. In ten years dodoland has had 10,000,000 hits/requests on the internet. It has survived by "being a labor of love" by Della and Dale, who have done all the web design and maintenance. Glen Burford has helped give technical advice when needed and organized the Video Streaming of the History of Dodo Land (Dodoland) with the Dodoland Song written by Jerry Shrair which comes from our history file. Glen also helped with the Audio Storytellings. Dodo Land (Dodoland) has been chosen to be hot linked from over 1100 sites around the world. There are many wonderful sites that have chosen Dodoland to be a link to them from Canada, United States, Finland, Brazil, Spain, France, Mexico, Holland, Australia, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia, Taiwan, New Zealand, and England .

The popularity of Dodoland grows and will continue as children and parents search for a happy, meaningful and safe place to be.
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