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Roots & Shoots decided to throw a no/low waste party to show how people could have a good time without creating a lot of waste. We had outdoor activities and provided healthy snacks in compostable cups/bowls which we put directly into our school's compost bins. We made posters on recycled paper. We made informational announcements about the amount of waste each person creates daily and yearly and ways to reduce our waste. This also tied in to part of the 6th grade curriculum which focuses on pollution. We had about 6o participants from grades 5-8 and raised $50 which will be donated to a charity and the funds will be matched by our parent association.
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The OCRS Smithfield Roots & Shoots team participated in an endangered species play. Students choreographed dances, composed original poems, made props, created costumes and performed a play for Old County Road School classmates, parents, faculty and staff. The message of the play was one that highlighted the Roots & Shoots goals of care and concern for all animals and implementing positive change through active learning about, caring for and interacting with the environment. Through dance and poetry, students entertained and informed their audience about different endangered species, the threats these animals face because of humans and what we can do to help.
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We learned about staying safe in the woods today. We talked about Hug a Tree and Survive and discussed the story behind it's creation (the boy who died after being lost hiking). We played a tag game where the "searchers" had to find the "lost hiker" but the hiker kept moving. In the final game, the hiker hugged a tree so was easy to find. Then, we talked about telling people where you are going hiking. We played a hide and seek game where a stuffed animal was hidden on the playground. It took the kids awhile to find. In the final game, the stuffed animal told another stuffed animal where she'd be hiking (near the swing set) and was then hidden there. The kids found her quickly. We made lanyards for whistles to wear while hiking in order to call for help when lost. The kids went out in a very large field and yelled at each other and whistled. After a certain distance the voices were inaudible but the whistles were still heard. Then we made mini-first aid kits with wet wipes and band-aids. The kids were each given a mylar blanket (emergency blanket) and spent time wrapping themselves in them. After packing our backpacks with snacks, water, the first aid kits and the blankets and making sure we had whistles on our necks, we set out on the trail. We briefly discussed why you stay on the trail (less chance of getting lost, less chance of ticks, not damaging plants that are growing in the woods). All the kids were given pictures of poison ivy and we went on a mini-scavenger hunt to find it (after repeating at least three times that we were not touching it). The poison ivy scavenger hunt was successful. When we got back we did tick checks. We had also shown the kids pictures of ticks before the hike and talked about them. We ended with passing out Hug a Tree and Survive coloring books (printed off the internet) for the kids to take home. We had an awesome time!
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We sold t-shirts from Earth Foundation to raise money to rescue rainforest acres. We sold enough t-shirts to rescue 3.1 acres in Kenya.
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We helped another youth group from the Museum of Natural History plant a rain garden at a local park. We learned about the tools and plants needed to make this a successful garden. We also learned how to plan a garden (where to place the plants to provide maximum sunlight & water). The project was a lot of hard work & fun. We got the opportunity to meet other teens interested in doing something to benefit both the park and the wildlife in the park. It was inspiring to know that youth can do take action and make a difference.
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We attend community events every other Saturday and educate people about Greenhouse Gas emissions. We have a carbon footprint calculator people can use and a pledge that people can check off easy steps they want to take to reduce thier carbon footprint (such as turning off lights whenever leaving a room, turning computers off when not in use, reducing miles driven, etc.). Once someone takes a pledge, we add up how many pounds of CO2 they are pledging to reduce and they get to stamp thier hands in our book with thier signature and how much carbon they are reducing. Then they get to take the pledge home and put it on thier fridge and follow it. At our last 2 events, people pledged to reduce over half a million pounds of carbon emessions at each event!!
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Our group planted pine trees in two areas for Earth Day. We planted 5 trees along a nature trail at a school and 4 near a stream where erosion is a problem. The trees will provide wildlife habitat, help remedy and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The children have continued to care for the trees and all are thriving. The trees were donated by our school. The school had purchased trees for students and had some left over.
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Chelsea Gross and I attended the World Environment Day at the United Nations on Friday, June 1. Dr. Raymond Sommereyns, Mr. James Sniffern and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke. The keynote speaker was Mr. Andrew Revkin, a writer for the New York Times. His main speaking points included the responsibility that we have due to the knowledge gained in the past two decades concerning climate change, to embrace the understanding of climate change and work to shift behavior through education, the use and implementation of alternative energy including nuclear energy and hybrids and climate change/global warming. There were interactive webcams with exchanges from Yellowknife, Canada; Karachi, Pakistan and Vancouver, British Columbia in which they discussed the improvements they are making in their communities and schools by implementing recycling programs and using energy efficient products. The event was very successful and we met two groups interested in joining Roots & Shoots located in the New York/New Jersey area.
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We gathered trash around our elementary school. We encouraged other groups in the school to join us and had about 30 children/adults participate.
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We targeted the local pond which is next to the high school for a trash pick up. We collected 4 large trash bags in about an hour.

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