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We were able to participate twice in Doc Quack's California Black Rail Habitat Enhancement project at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond, CA. Activities included learning about the California black rail and removing invasive ice plant and trash in order to help create 1000 square feet of habitat for the threatened California black rail.
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We organized a small group of people for a habitat restoration project with naturalist Katie Colbert at Sunol Regional Wilderness. We spent a very hot afternoon helping to remove invasive purple star thistle from several spots on Indian Joe Creek Trail and also transplanted some yarrow from a spot on the trail to in front of the Visitor's Center.
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We organized a service learning program with the GGNPC at Mori Point where we learned about the threatened red-legged frogs and endangered San Francisco garter snakes, saw Pacific Chorus frogs, and helped to weed around the pond that we had helped to plant in January. Our family also returned to Mori Point a few days later to continue the muddy weeding fun during a regular Mori Point workday.
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The Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary in Alameda, CA, is home to a number of species including the endangered California Clapper Rail. To date we have helped with habitat restoration - removing invasive ice plant - in the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary three times. The first time was a "private" restoration with just our family participating, the second time we invited 5 friends to join us, and the third time we joined in on a Doc Quack Wildlife Volunteer program and earned a "Rail Rescue Ranger" patch.
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Every summer as spawning streams dry, Coho Salmon need to be rescued from desiccating rivers. Through the GGNRA's Endangered Species Big Year program we were able to work with SPAWN to rescue endangered Coho and threatened steel head from their desiccated natal streams in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. In just a few hours our group was able to help rescue ~170 juvenile steel head and 2 salmonids!
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We did a clean-up around the Horace Mann Charter School and were amazed at the amount of plastic and beer bottles we found. In a little less than one hour we had filled 3 large garbage bags with trash and 3 more with recycling (plastic and aluminum). The fields at the school are utilized on weekends by several community groups for soccer, baseball, rugby, and other sports. Although their are two trash containers, they were less than half full. All around the fields were trash and bottles that were thrown into the underbrush of the surrounding woods. The group was upset because it looks like people were thinking that if they threw their trash into the woods, it didn't look like littering. We will be taking this project to the next step by writing a letter to the local papers from the group, the administration, and making a sign from wood about littering on the school fields.
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We had representatives from the "Vote Yes on 3" ballot question in Massachusetts come to speak to our group on this issue. They brought two amazing greyhounds and discussed with us around the conditions for greyhounds as is relates to dog racing in Massachusetts. This is a very important ballot question and the hope is that the students will talk to family and friends of voting age to vote on November 4th to save these animals from the inhumane conditions that currently exist in MA.
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The elementary group from MMEHMCPS are working on our recycling and school grounds cleanup and restoration. We broke in to three subgroups. One group made recycling containers for classrooms that are not currently recycling paper and plastic on a regular basis. The second group went around the school grounds picking up trash and recycling. The third group weeded and planted bulbs in the circle in front of the school. This area has not been cleaned or tended to due to lack of town funds. We planted bulbs that will bloom and remind us what an important role nature plays in our lives. We tied all three projects in to the IFAW campaign "Beneath the Waves" as much of our pollution and trash end up in the waters around Cape Cod posing a threat to Marine Life.
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This summer and fall we have been continuing with our on-going monthly restoration program with Dino Labiste, a naturalist from Coyote Hills Regional Park. Joining us for the restoration days is a varying group of 10-30 home schoolers which we help organize. Activities at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, CA, included planting and watering tulle, removing cattails, mustard, and poison hemlock, and weeding potted oak seedlings. In addition, one afternoon was spent weeding oak seedlings from Meyer's Garden in Dry Creek Regional Park for propagation and planting at Coyote Hills in the future. Many of the oak seedlings joined the buckeyes in our "Backyard Buckeye Nursery" where we will take care of them until they are big enough to plant in the regional parks.
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The Arlington Enrichment Collaborative Roots & Shoots Club decided that they wanted to raise the money to send a decent laptop computer to our Sister City friends in Teosinte, El Salvador, where the people right now had no working computer. They asked friends and family members to donate money for it and they did chores for their friends, neighbors and family members and saved the money for several months and were able to purchase an open-box Compaq Presario and an Academic License version of Microsoft Office and a case to send the computer to El Salvador in. They presented the computer to the US El Salvador Sister Cities Staff and the El Salvadoran community leaders who visited Arlington on October 16 as part of a National Speaking Tour, asking them to bring it to Teosinte on their behalf. At that speaking engagement, group leader Kim Holt spent about 20 minutes sharing pictures and stories from her trip to El Salvador, especially Teosinte, this summer, and of her students' in Arlington working on projects related to the sister city project, and her talks' theme was the relationship that has grown between the two places and groups of kids. Her trip was also partially funded by work of the Roots & Shoots Club.

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