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We sewed reusable muslin produce bags. As the project leader I sewed the two long seams on my machine and then the kids hand sewed the tops so drawstring could be pulled through. The kids had an incredible sense of accomplishment upon finishing the bags, and a great sense of worth that that they didn't need to use the plastic bags in the produce aisle.
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Students picked up litter on Pirate's Beach in Galveston, TX.
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We adopted a school in Africa. We have cared for them by donating a scholarship and school supplies. Recently, we learned that they need a more secure environment. The children earned money by doing chores to help them buy stones to build a wall surrounding their school.
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CAPS animal shelter project- Shelters need newspaper and paper towels to maintain a healthy environment for cats and dogs. Our students prepared hundreds of newspapers by sorting, unfolding and stacking them. In addition, we donated paper towels to the shelter.
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Our students are aware of our impact on the environment. Each piece of paper, plastic, and glass is recycled at our school. This requires that students educate and remind each other of our goal, to be "green." We recycle every day and on Thursdays, students gather and sort their recycled items, as well as deliver them to the pick-up location.
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We fed Houston homeless children under the age of 5. Students donated peanut butter and juice. We spent two hours making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, decorating paper bags, and packing sack lunches that included: a banana, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a juice box.
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We created 50 hygiene kits to donate to Star of Hope, a homeless shelter for women and children. The students filled the kits with soap, shampoo, wipes, deodorant, mini-first aid kits, toothbrushes, toothpaste and more! Students included a note in each kit. One R&S member wrote, "I hope you like the gift. Roots & Shoots wants to help you. We are a community that is loving and peaceful. We want to help Earth, people and animals."
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The Wildcat Creek clean up was partnered with the City of San Pablo and The Watershed Project. Both agencies provided tools, gloves and healthy snacks for the students. During our clean up we came across a variety of items. We had to separate out the toxic from the recyclable to non-recyclable. Some students also cut down brush and tree branches. The students talked about how they felt about the project when they got back to school on Monday. The felt really good to do something for the community and really liked finding unusual things. They thought the creek was really pretty and wanted to do another project like this again. Students decided on this project because of two reasons. First, Earth Day was approaching and Global Youth Service Day was a week away from that. Students wanted to do something on the weekend and outside. Students did some research online, asked teachers, family members and finally decided that the creek would be a good place to go. The creek was not too big an area that they thought they could make a difference and see the results. Students loved this project because they could see that what they did had an immediate impact on the creek and within them. There were "in your face" results. This in turn inspired them to want to do more community clean up or beautification projects, not only for people but for the environment by getting the toxic garbage out of the creek and for the animals. The animals drink from the creek and by the students removing toxins, the students really liked knowing that the animals would be healthier.
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Throughout the year, we have participated in English Ivy pulls in our local area. English Ivy is an envasive species that has taken over many of Oregon's forests. It can cover over trees and eventually smother them and other plants. In order to understand the issue, we have studied the issue of evasive plants. We discovered that ivy grows year round here and therefore can overtake other plants. It has no natural predators and grows uncontrolled, unless people like us take action. It was brought into Oregon as a "pretty" ornamental and eventually escaped our "gardens." Ivy has been removed by students at our school who range in age from 9 to 15-year-olds. Ivy pulls have happened in Fall of 2007 and Spring of 2008.
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Our school, Forest Grove Community School, is a new charter school based on environmental awareness and sustainability. Our model is "Place Based," meaning that we attempt to base our learning on our location here in Forest Grove, Oregon- connecting to our community as well as the environment around us. As part of our curriculum, every class spends at least one day out of' the classroom on an "Out & About." In many (if not most) cases, we walk rather than take school busses, if it is at all possible. This environmental action has resulted in us making a smaller environmental "footprint." It also allows us to see our "place" called home on a more intimate level.

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