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The Zumers helped educate the youth of Southern California at the National Geographic BioBlitz festival about the importance of conserving the environment and its relativity to the human and animal community. We sold totes to the children which they colored with fabric markers and entertained them with face painting and songs while they learned about the surrounding animal species and plant species. Also, funds were raised for the relief fund established for the victims of the May 12, 2008 China earthquake.
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We had a book drive for the Nyaka Aids Orphan School located in Uganda, Africa. So I got some of the teachers at our school to help and we received a lot of books. The books range from little Winnie the Pooh picture books to a book about world submarines. So now we will ship them of to the kids. (The school is for elementary aged kids.)
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We participated in a community planting of trees, shrubs and native plants around our "greenway," an eco-friendly, publicly funded walking path and bicycle trail in Minneapolis. This project has many benefits, our planting will not only increase the beauty and natural habitat, it will reduce the spread of invasive exotics to our Mississippi River Gorge which is 6 blocks away from the site we planted. This project was also a great opportunity to connect with other conservation minded groups in our city. Many had not heard of Roots & Shoots and really enjoyed hearing about our group. This event is close by so we look forward to using the bike trail and checking in on our work from time to time. This was the final activity in our study of trees and their great benefits.
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The Sequoia Park Zoo Chapter of Roots & Shoots helped the Sequoia Park Zoo to renovate the Northern Spotted Owl exhibit. They planted new vegetation, brought in external greenery and new enrichment possibilies. This renovation gave this endangered owl an increased range of movement inside her exhibit as well as better visitor viewing. The exhibit also looks more natural since the addition of plants.
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Alexandra Elsen, age 8, spoke to her classroom at Indian Mounds School in Bloomington, Minnesota for about 10 minutes about Roots & Shoots. She shared the pamphlet and her personally signed book by Dr. Jane Goodall, "The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours." She talked about the program for kids to make the world a better place and encouraged her classmates to get involved in saving our planet. Mason Schumm, age 5, shared his book, "Rickie & Henri," personally signed by Dr. Jane Goodall to his classroom at House of Prayer. He told them he was involved in a Roots & Shoots group, which he named Virgil's Roots & Shoots after the chimpanzee in the movie "Project X." This true story includes a postscript from Dr. Jane Goodall about her Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Congo Republic, where Rickie still lives today.
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Virgil's Roots & Shoots group members, Diane Griffin, Mason Schumm and group leader, Jennifer Dartt planted a garden at Jennifer's new house. They transferred small raspberry bushes from Diane's yard that needed to be relocated and planted in Jennifer's dirt garden. They also planted two strawberry bushes Jennifer received as a gift from her boyfriend and sunflower seeds she got from an event for Dr. Jane Goodall's visit to the Roots & Shoots Great Lakes regional office. Diane, Jennifer's mother, will be also donating hostas and other flowering plants to Jennifer this month.
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Our Homeschool R&S group participated in the National Homeschool Hike/Bike event by doing a hike and trail clean up. Our goals were to get together with other homeschoolers in the area and do a trail trash pick up. I did have all of our info in the local newspaper, but unfortunately we only got some of our core members to come. We still had fun togtether and cleaned up quite a lot of trash. We were also lucky to see 5 cow elk on our hike!
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Me and my group did a fundraising/awareness raising bake sale to benefit the organization KIVA. I learned about it from a teacher of mine and it's probably the most brilliant thing I have ever heard of. Unlike our first project, we really tried to plan this one out with papers and phone calls to local businesses and everything. Five of us stayed up (literally) all night and all day baking stuff for it. Unfortunately, our original selected location (in front of our local grocery store) was not as busy as we had hoped, so we moved it to a busy road in front of a central neighborhood. I was really excited to tell people about it who were interested and we handed out a lot of flyers and brochures. If I was to do it again, I WOULD NOT DO A BAKE SALE. I would DO SOMETHING ELSE. Unless I had an incredibly good location and was only selling one or two different things. Or Unless I had more people willing to help. It was very hard with our limited number.
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National Geographic and the National Park Service held the BioBlitz this year in the Santa Monica Mountains near our homes. Some of our volunteers helped scientists count species in the mountains, some worked all through the night supporting volunteers, some worked at the BioDiversity Festival at the end of BioBlitz. There were lots of booths where scientists displayed and talked about species of plants and animals they found. We helped at related craft booths for kids. We also provided tote bags for decorating to encourage people to use fewer plastic bags because they harm creatures. Our goal was to help teach kids about biodiversity and to have fun. We were successful. The National Park Service asked us to volunteer because we work a lot with them in the nearby mountains. We very much recommend that you participate in BioBlitz if it comes to your area. You get to work alongside scientists so it's very exciting; you'll learn a lot and you'll have fun.
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The Sequoia Park Zoo Chapter of Roots & Shoots helped the Sequoia Park Zoo renovate the exhibit of their endangered White-handed Gibbon Exhibit. The group painted the walls, wheeled in planter boxes, hauled gravel, and planted many species of vegetation for the gibbons to enjoy. With the help of the Sequoia Park Zoo staff they successfully transformed the White-handed Gibbon exhibit into an enjoyable oasis for the animals.

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