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The goals are to add more prairie to the nature preserve, teach students about prairie pant ID and planting procedures and complete a seed germination experiment. We collected seeds from plants in the fall, then cleaned and refrigerated them. We planted 15 different species into flats in our greenhouse and grew 50 per flat until they were ready for transplanting. Eventually we planted 148 new prairie plants into tilled areas at the Nature Preserve. Species planted included Indian grass, lead plant, big bluestem, rattlesnake master, purple coneflower, side oats grama, thimbleweed, grey headed coneflower, bergamot, butterfly weed, prairie dropseed and compass plant.
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Students walked both sides of our two mile stretch of Hwy. 120 to collect bags of trash from the roadsides. We watched a 10 minute safety training film, dressed appropriately, and loaded a total of 18 large garbage bags. Students learn about our wasteful packaging, recycling possibilities, and how prevalent our litter problem is. This also keeps the environment cleaner for local animals.
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Students stenciled/painted the label "DUMP NO WASTE - DRAINS TO STREAM" on 50 of the City's storm drains. This helps to educate residents that these drains lead directly to the lake or river and could pollute our water. Students are given a map of the drains to paint, should wear orange safety vests, use the stencil provided and then clean and neatly paint white the cement immediately next to the storm drains.
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Working with the Earth Foundation of the Nature Conservancy, we sold 80 of their t-shirts to raise $560. This will be used to purchase approximately 8 acres of forest land in East-central Africa.
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Our group participated again in the Garden in Transit project in NYC. This project is to raise awareness and hope for our environment, people and animals. It is a nationwide campaign called Portraits of Hope and every year they pick a different city and state. Our group painted giant flowers and in September these flowers will be placed on top of all the yellow taxi cabs in the city. It was very exciting to participate in such an event. The last open session for this project will be July 21, 2007 from 10 am to 10 pm in the Pennsylvania Hotel. The website is Garden in Transit. Org. This is one of the largest art projects in NYC history.
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A local environmental center offers classes on Animal Care Training. They recommend only 6 to 8 children at a time. The children received a booklet and lesson on how to care for small animals. They cleaned out cages that included rabbits, ferrets, turtles, bearded dragons and snakes. They had a real hands on age appropriate experience on how to handle, care, feed and groom the animals. They even waxed the turtles shells!! In the end they received a certificate. They felt proud of their hard work. This project was a good idea because it helps build character and understanding. All members should look into their local environmental center to see what they have to offer.
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I thought I would tell you all about my Live Earth experience. Well, along with my sister Colette and myself, Marsea an intern from the DC office accompanied us to Giants Stadium to represent Roots & Shoots at Live Earth. From the moment the doors opened, Roots & Shoots was the center attraction. We sold a ton of merchandise especially the tote bags and had over 175 email sign ups. Everyone was so eager to find out about the program and even more excited to hear that Jane would be speaking at the event! At about 6pm we closed the Roots & Shoots booth and went inside the concert. We arrived at perfect timing because at around 6:40pm, Dr. Goodall spoke! She was greeted with a standing ovation and people cheering her on. A very rock star reception if you ask me. The event was so awe inspiring and there were many times when I had tears in my eyes. To see the stadium filled with so many people who believed in the same issues as we did was really fulfilling.
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We wanted to raise money to help pay for the feeding and care of the rescued South Asian gibbons at the Gibbon Conservation Center. The parent leader and some fellow students at Ventura College raised about $200 for the Gibbon Center at a bake sale. The balance of funds raised came from (1) donations from parents and (2) a spare change fundraiser donated by our youth members. We became interested in helping gibbons after hearing about the local gibbon center and from our travels in Thailand with our family. The kids (ages 7-12) seemed entertained and fascinated by the human qualities of the cute furry primates and were happy to be able to help them directly. Our goal was raising $500 and we exceeded it and the kids had a great time. The Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita, CA has private tours and plush toy gibbons and great t-shirts on sale that several kids purchased after the tour. More info: http://www.gibboncenter.org/
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I am now in Portugal, and unfortunately, the reason for the deforestation was due to a prolonged drought. This brings me to my project. My eight year old brother, Michael, and I built a mini pond with surrounding water to benefit the local wildlife during this drought. However, due to their scarcity of terrestrial creatures such as snakes and lizards, few visited. However, I found a frog near by in dirty water and moved it to the clean pond. It stayed there for two days, but soon felt the urge to leave, which brought me to create a new program called "Water the Frogs".The details on this project can be found in the project database.
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Where I live in Portugal, a drought has been killing off various animals. Pools of water are sustaining various populations of frogs. My mission, which I completed yesterday, and will continue to do, is to return the frogs to those ponds if I find them stranded in a "no-water" zone. I am going to study the pond, taking pictures of the frogs. In fact, I will be studying three ponds. The pictures and videos I take will be posted on my own personal website:vwww.freewebs.com/birdsrox1415nature and then on my own Roots & Shoots website, when available.

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