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Our project will be to collect plastic water bottles from around the school and use the proceeds to fund the planting of trees in Haiti.
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This service learning project will introduce the importance of creating a cleaner and safer environment for people, plants, and wildlife on our campus and in the community. By integrating Missouri Girls Town's longstanding focus on life-skills training, youth will have the opportunity to not only interact with nature, but learn about their impact on the environment through litter disposal and recycling projects. Participants will be challenged to help eradicate litter and waste in one of two zones (either Zone #1-Campus, or Zone #2- Community). Gloves and safety wear will be provided to ensure participant safety. Each participant will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of creating a healthy, clean, and safe environment for all. The project will culminate with a celebration for all of the participants efforts in reaching our goal of creating a cleaner environment. This project will be part of an ongoing effort to introduce more service learning opportunities on Missouri Girls Town's campus.
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Freshman F.I.R.S.T. Roots & Shoots Campaign addresses local environmental needs related to conservation and preservation of natural resources, specifically in local watersheds, streams and parks. Our approach is to work enlist 385 grade nine students to collaborate with our science teachers, local environment and EPA specialist, civic and business leaders and community volunteers to address needs while actualizing or transferring knowledge gained in school to address local needs. The program objective is for all 9th graders, each who are enrolled in Environmental Science or Biology classes to take action and outreach to enlist at least one community volunteer (adult) to work with us to address the identified needs of our community watershed, creeks, banks, parks and recreational areas.
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We will dedicate two hours after school to clean up the CHS campus. It is very dirty and needs help being cleaned.
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This year, one of the biggest shortcomings that the students of Roots&Shoots have noticed at Aptitud was the lack of a recycling program. In an effort to start a recycling program, we reached out to the City of San Jose to help get some free recycling supplies. After the City of San Jose provide us with the materials that we needed, including plastic and paper recycling bins, we were able to start a recycling program at Aptitud, and thus show the kids that making a tangible effect on their environment is a reality.
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Today, we are going to go to the lake with trash bags and slowly move across the area, picking up any litter we see on the way. We will spend hopefully about an hour, but we will make sure that we pick up as much trash as possible. Our hope is that there is a visible difference after we are finished, and that the area looks generally cleaner. We are hoping that we will inspire the community to stop littering and to clean up the beautiful nature around them. We also want to make this area more generally enjoyable for the public.
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My project is a simple sign with big bold letters. It is a reminder for people that there are people who care about the environment and maybe, just maybe, they will view the sign and change is made.
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We will know that the program is successful when we actually start making the mulch and we can notice a decrease in the amount of uneaten food that is thrown away. We will be outside during lunch to ensure that excess food from students is acquired and not simply thrown away.
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Our project seeks to create a green space where students can tend a garden. The garden would have a variety of plants, most importantly including plants native to our Southern California ecosystem. Our students will also be learning about green architecture. They will have a large part in brainstorming ideas for design as they learn more about what architectural designs will help sustain this space. Our students will be specifically learning about greywater systems. As they learn more about this technology, they will contribute to the design by coming up with ideas on how we can collect greywater from our own school to sustain plant growth. Finally, we hope to build a mini amphitheater within the green space. The green space's main function would support learning. The space would be open to the whole school for classes to take place in. It would be a zone for interdisciplinary learning to take place. A history teacher might bring their students to come learn about the history of the landscape of our very own neighborhood, while a math teacher might bring their students to learn more about ratios and the importance of keeping track of the ratios between various plant species in order to keep the native garden healthy and diverse.
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We started with a dream. Then we asked for community ideas. And now we are mid-dream! A local alternative education program has a horticulture and landscaping program, and they helped design the space and gave us ideas for plantings. The idea turned into reality when we marked off the space using t-posts, multi-colored yarn, and a measuring tape. We had help from a co-worker with a backhoe to pull up the sod in the southwest, southeast, and northeast quadrants. A farmer had some nutrient rich soil he brought for those areas. We ask for donations of seeds of any kind to plant in our space, and we received a plethora of vegetable seeds, cover crops, bedding plants, and vegetation to plant. We started planting in the northeast where the vegetables would grow because we knew those seeds would need time for germination. While we waited to see little green sprouts emerge, we used some of the bedding plants and vegetation to plant around our building. We also researched pollinator plants, bees, butterflies, and birds so we could learn what would be best to plant in the southwest quadrant. It was late in the spring so we decided to wait until the fall to actually plant the correct plants. We want to plant our native grasses in raised beds with some walkways around the beds. Our research is taking a little longer than we originally planned, so we have only built the frame for the raised beds, but haven't planted anything yet. We have constructed this space with mostly donated items: cedar logs cut down on land that was being developed for new housing serves as our border; pea gravel scooped up from an elementary school's playground when the school was getting a different type of ground cover; tree stumps for chairs; bird feeders from community friends; outdoor furniture from a local women who was moving; and, a headboard from a twin bed that was on the curb to be taken to the city landfill (we are using the headboard as a trellis for some ivy plants). The landscape and horticulture program instructor gave us a few red wigglers (worms) to start our vermiculture project. We have grown a lot of worms, and have made a vermiculture habitat as part of our overall project. Next to the vermiculture tube is our composting area where we take our fruits, vegetables, and coffee grounds every day. Even our friends in a neighboring business have been bringing their food waste for our compost pile. Inside our building we are recycling paper, metal, glass, cardboard, light bulbs, and batteries. Our dream is becoming a reality only because we have students, parents, colleagues, and other community people helping. The picket fence along the east border of our garden was painted by some college students in the summer. We've already harvested some tomatoes, okra, kale, cucumbers, watermelon, and melons. Our production is large enough yet to share with the schools, but we don't let the produce go away - we fix snacks and lunch!

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