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We went to the San Francisco Zoo's Earth Day celebration (the theme was "Caught Green Handed") to raise awareness about Roots & Shoots along with other green organizations on Sunday, April 22nd. Our Roots & Shoots table featured an art activity to help children learn about the benefits of planting trees in their communities to support their local ecosystem. We had many cutouts of animals that might be supported by a tree in an urban environment, such as birds, squirrels, mice, worms, butterflies and other bugs, lizards, turtles and even humans! Children used brightly colored markers and crayons to design their own ecosystem inhabitants, and then added them to our "tree," a poster board creation mounted on a Velcro-backed board. With little bits of adhesive Velcro, children could place their animals wherever they liked on or around the tree, and move them around easily if they changed their minds. Plus, the Velcro made the activity completely reusable! We had lots of fun meeting people as they visited tables and listened to "In Black," a high school jazz band committed to raising awareness about climate change. After the event, we were also able to visit the animals at the zoo, even getting to feed the giraffes!
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We went to help Matthew Hoffman, creator of the Giant Peace Doves, with the Council of Species Parade, an event hosted by the "Planet Art" program of the Natural World Museum, to help celebrate awareness of endangered species in recognition of Earth Day and in hopes of raising awareness about the mounting endangered species crisis. First and second graders from schools in the area participated by dressing up as turtles, frogs, chimpanzees, butterflies, fish and flowers and marching in a parade around San Francisco City Hall with signs about issues that affect endangered species. Adults helped to lead the children and dressed up as giant redwoods, spotted salmon, a river, and even a bear. All the costumes were created by Matthew Hoffman, and the event was a success!
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Joshua Animal Control Officer, Debbie Wallis, accompanied by her canine companion, Zeus, spoke to our group about animal shelters, being safe with domestic and wild animals and responsible pet care. Kitten food and formula were donated to the Joshua Animal Shelter.
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High Tech Home School R&S collects glass, cardboard, paper, plastic, etc. on a daily basis. Once a week, all materials are sorted by R&S members (under the supervision of a grown-up), and taken to a recycling center. This is an ongoing group activity, and will continue indefinitely.
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For Earth Day, we decided to clean up a local trail. Earlier, some of our members had noticed that the trash cans at Escondido Falls in Malibu had been overflowing for months. I guess the park service just doesn't have time to empty them. We carried backpacks up the trail. It was about an hour and a half hike each way. It was fun; we had lots of stream crossings because it had just rained. We were able to carry out every bit of trash.
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We again helped the Park Service restore a local trailhead. We're making lots of progress, even though the area we're planting is huge. The ranger took us on a fun and informative hike before we started working. Then, we planted native plants, mulched, weeded, and watered. We'll do it again next month. I think Chelsea suggested that this could be our R&S tree project. Our local habitat is chaparral so we're mostly planting bushes and native grasses, though, not trees.
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Roots & Shoots Home-Schoolers collected books to donate to the Family Crisis Center. The FCC provides shelter and assistance to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. Several boxes of books for children, teens and adults were collected and delivered to the FCC. When R&S members delivered the books, they toured the counseling center and shelter to learn about the mission and needs of the FCC.
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During Holliston Elementary School's Sciencefest, we erected a booth with an arctic food chain game. We also sold raffle tickets to win a stuffed animal to raise money for the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign. Purchase of the stuffed animal (a "Shining Star" stuffed animal), also donated funds to the Children's Miracle Network. We also displayed information about global warming, Roots & Shoots and the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign.
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For our kickoff party, our group created 28 beautiful pieces of artwork to accompany the CD, "Well Wishes and Blessing, Kids in America to Iraq", which will be distributed for free to the children of Iraq. The children created pictures of peace, love and beauty, sometimes incorporating the Arabic word for "peace" or the peace symbol in their creations. We listened to the CD for inspiration during our project.
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Our group met at the park for snacks and we made bird feeders out of bagels, peanut butter and wild bird food. We stuck them in the trees and around the ground. Birds came out of every direction. Geese, crows, sparrows, and other creatures. Later, we waited for low tide and we cleaned up the edge of a canal. We pulled out an old bicycle and an office chair among other stuff!

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