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I remember feeling a bit isolated and lost as to what direction we were headed when we first joined Roots & Shoots as a family group. Over the past few years we have come to greatly appreciate and begin to utilize the resources and networking available through Roots & Shoots. When we heard of a new Roots & Shoots group for homeschoolers starting up nearby we were excited at the prospect of meeting other Roots & Shoots families, planning some joint service projects, and sharing what we have learned about Roots & Shoots. We were able to join in on the first meeting of Sequoia Roots & Shoots and the Sequoia R&S group leader and her family recently joined us for one of our Tule Time projects. It's definitely a two-way exchange and we look forward to continuing to share resources and working together in the future.
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On March 20, 2008, we participated in a habitat restoration program at Muir Woods National Monument as part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area's 2008 Endangered Species Big Year. We spent the afternoon removing invasive French Broom from threatened Northern Spotted Owl habitat and even heard a Northern Spotted Owl that evening!
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The Bourgade Catholic High School Chapter of Roots & Shoots planted an Arizona Ash tree on Friday, May 2, 2008. A tree planting ceremony with prayers, blessings, and the symbolic throwing of dirt was led by the club's moderator, Colleen Gish. The 15 gallon Arizona Ash was donated by Mr. Inzunza, the father of a Roots & Shoots member. The tree was planted near the recycling bins on our school's campus - and isn't that an appropriate place?!
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Our goal was to bring parents, staff and children together to make a Peace Dove and to celebrate the beauty of peace. Parents and staff worked together to make a giant Peace Dove about 2 weeks before our event. On the day of the event, parents and staff held up the Peace Dove while children held onto the tail and we paraded around our school. We ended the parade with a short talk on the importance of peace and coming together as a community to promote peaceful living. The children loved the Peace Dove. They thought it was awesome, and parents felt the same way. We have parents who are wanting to make this a bigger project for next year.
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In September 2007 we took our children on a field trip to the local recycling center to learn about what recycling is. Each classroom incorporated recycling boxes for white paper, which we used throughout the year. As the boxes filled up, we would discuss where the paper would be taken and what would happen to it at the recycling center. Our goal through this project was to make our students more aware of the environment and to introduce the concept of recycling and the importance of reducing waste in the landfills as well as teaching children that we have a responsibility to take care of our earth. Some of the concepts were over the children's heads, but I found that the students gained an appreciation for our planet and that even at a later point in the year, we refer back to our field trip to the recycling center. I would like to incorporate more boxes to sort recyclable products, but most of what we throw away in the classroom is either paper or food products. Next year I would also like to get parents more involved.
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Two classes combined for a trip to Pine Point Beach in Scarboro, Maine to clean a 2 mile stretch of beach. Each participant (students and staff) filled ten gallon bags of trash and properly disposed of them. Prior learning included internet research on most common pollutants/trash found on beaches throughout the U.S. Activity confirmed research findings.
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We decided to help animals at a local shelter because we all really like animals. Our main goals were to help animals. We learned how important it is to spay and nueter pets. We all got together and made about 30 blankets for the animals. We also collected about 100 tennis balls for the dogs there. We went to the animal shelter and gave them the blankets and balls. We got to play with the cats and see the dogs.
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This was our ongoing project. We researched and learned about global warming. We learned about the impact of cars on the environment. We collected data on how many cars were idling in our school parking lot. We put together a report and presented it to the school administration. We are planning on raising money to buy signs that say that the school is a no idling zone. "Students care about their air." The school administration approved of our plan.
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I have collected and recycled unclaimed aluminum for the last four years and have donated all the proceeds. To date I have recycled over 22,963 pounds of unclaimed aluminum destined for landfills. Our local Habitat for Humanity has recieved over 11,000 and 1,000 has been donated to The Ark, a no-kill animal shelter. Another 5,000 has been donated in materials and supplies to a local animal sanctuary.
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We made catnip cat toys out of recycled socks. We collected old/mismatched socks. In the fall, we tried to grow catnip to fill the socks, but it didn't grow. So, a teacher brought in organic catnip that she had been growing. We dried it and rubbed the dried leaves off of the stems. We had after school time to fill the socks and tie off the ends. (We sold some of them to raise money to buy Braille books for children in Ethiopia) and then some of the catnip toys we gave to Little Guild Animal Shelter that is across the street from our school. This is an ongoing project because we continue to collect pet food, blankets and supplies for the animals at the shelter every year. They do not euthanize their animals, so they have a particularly large cat population which is why we wanted to do a cat toy project this year.

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