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Members organized an alternative gift fair event where people could donate to organizations in honor of loved ones for the holidays. Roots & Shoots members nominated non-profit organizations and presented them to the group, which then voted to fill in a matrix. They selected 6 organizations to have represented at the gift fair that worked for animals, the environment and people at the local and global level. They created announcements, fliers and card inserts. They also selected cards printed on recycled paper with soy ink that people could give as a gift with our school mascot (the grizzly bear) on them. They made signs for the tables that night and brought in candy as thank you gifts. The following were donated as a result of the event: 24 Mosquito nets to prevent malaria (Nothing But Nets), 15 dinners for families at the soup kitchen (Wadsworth Salvation Army), 28 Vaccinations for rescued kittens (One of A Kind Pets Rescue), 10 months' worth of food and medicine for an orphaned chimpanzee (JGI), 8,000 square feet of rainforest protected (CREA), 145 trees planted in a forest ecosystems damaged by wildfire (American Forests)
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Members are leading a campaign to get the spotted salamander named as Ohio's official state amphibian in order to raise awareness about wetland conservation. We are working with the Wetlands Education Team to get legislation passed in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives that would accomplish this. There is currently no state amphibian in Ohio. We started by having students at our school sign a petition to get the salmander bill introduced. Then R&S members sent postcards to Senate members asking them to support the bill. Four members traveled to our state capital (Columbus, OH) to testify in favor of the bill at a Senate hearing. Now we have involved all members of the school in writing postcards to every member of the House since the bill passed the Senate and has moved to the House. We are also involving other R&S groups across the state in the effort.
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Kids brought school supplies and blankets to send to kids in Iraq through the program Operation Iraqi Children. We collected enough for six school supply packets and for 4 blankets.
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For the past three school years we have collected empty computer printer ink cartridges at our school to recycle with the Staples Recycle for Education program. We have recycled almost 500 ink cartridges over the few years and have received funds that we used for other projects throughout the year.
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Members sell Smencils, smelly pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper, to raise funds for our projects throughout the year. They collect orders from friends and family members and then sell pencils to students at lunchtime in the school's atrium.
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Our Roots & Shoots club is very young (ages 5-10years, the average age is about 7), so they often team up with our older youth club to work with them on community service and fundraising projects. This also gives our older kids (Junior Eoclogists) a chance to mentor our younger kids. Our 3 goals for this project were: to provide the homeless children with some new items during the holidays, to give the kids a better understanding of what it means to be homeless, and for the kids to gain an appreciation for what they have. Beginning in November, the kids were given a goal to bring in 3 items per child to donate to our local PADS organization - an organization designed to help the homless in our area. We talked about what it means to be homeless and the things that the kids in our Roots & Shoots club have that they may take for granted. They were given a list of acceptable items to bring in (coloring books, puzzels, etc). By the middle of December we had $200 worth of donated items. The best part of the whole project was that we made some fliers to post around our nature center to encourage the public to help the Roots & Shoots kids with thier project - and it worked!
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The Winter Bird Count is hosted by our local Audubon Chapter. Bird Counts occur twice a year, once in winter and once in Sping. The goal was to provide the kids with an idea of how birds survive during the winter, as well as some basic bird identification and monitoring skills. Since the Winter Bird Count is a yearly Audubon project, we have been doing it annually for a few years now.
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This project took place during this past summer in Portugal. Around my area, the forests have all but withered away. Unfortunately, nearby factories and power lines have caused the trees to obatain a type of cancer. I fear that the forests will become extinct, along with their wildlife. It hurts so much to lose something you love... like nature. But this experience has only made me srtonger. I am determined to help the forests in Portugal and all around the world! I ventured into the dying forests and observed everything. From the tallest tree, to the smallest hole. I found that life still abounds, but in small quantities. Praying manti still exsist, though in extremely and alarmingly low numbers. Swallows fly above, while mice and VERY few snakes rarely pass through, feeding on them. Two years ago, foxes actaully lived right across the street from me. But now, this summer, I realized they had died off. A horrible event! I am sad. I wish mankind did not act this way...but we must live with our mistakes. But we can turn around and overcome our savageness and restore to the earth what we have taken from it...nature.
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For our kickoff project we created magazine bowls as a fundraiser. The materials were very inexpensive, and the kids from age 8 could handle the project. The group made approx. 30 bowls and they were sold at a holiday craft sale in the community. We learned about recycling and reusing materials. Old catalogs and thin magazine stock work best.
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Backyard harvest is a food bank, where we harvested zuchinis and tomatoes. We went to a lady named Amy Gray's house. We harvested the vegetables and gave them to the food bank.

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