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Last year, my 2016-2017 class learned that seed balls made gardening easy, fun, and accessible. They learned that seed balls grow endangered wildflowers needed by pollinators, protect seeds from wind, birds, squirrels, and other critters, and has easy dispersal for more uniform coverage. So, they hand-rolled approximately 600 seed balls and shared them with their families and friends by putting bowls of packaged seed balls with planting directions (the “guerilla” method was the most popular to write about!) out at Open House for our entire school to take home to plant in their gardens. Many of my 2017-2018 class got to take these seed balls home as second graders and came into my third grade class at the beginning of this year not only wanting to make more seed balls, but enthusiastic to share them with the other schools close by to us. This goal came from wanting to include their friends who maybe are on the same sports teams, Girl and Boy Scout groups, or other community groups as well as their older siblings and their friends who may be at the middle school. So, my 2017-2018 class’ plan of action is to make more seed balls to not only share with our school community, but also the two elementary schools and the one middle school closest to our school campus.
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We will know our campaign is successful by the response we receive from our refugee families that are receiving the food. Our class will keep data on what is grown, the rate at which it grows, which fruits and vegetables are wanted the most by families, and what is easiest for our classroom to grow.
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We will create spaces for native plants, edible plants, and maintain/beautify existing plants and trees. We intend to share these spaces with the community and create an environment in which students, families, and extended families/community members can enjoy the spaces and benefit from what is grown in the Caroldale Community Garden.
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My class last year started making bottle bricks. My class, this year, has started making bottle bricks, along with every other 4th and 5th grade class at Superior Intermediate (my school) and Erie Intermediate (the school on the same campus, across the courtyard). All classes will make bottle bricks, for the foundation of the bench from now until March 2018. All classes will then build the bench in April 2018. My class, along with other classes are collecting plastic bottles and bags to make the bottle bricks. Camille, from Kids for Positive Change, just presented the Sharks & Sea Turtles Program, to my 4th graders on Friday, Sept. 8th. My students are so excited about saving sharks and sea turtles and they now understand how plastic bottles, bags and plastic pieces harm sharks, sea turtles and other marine life! Our action time has started and will continue! We are all so excited about creating and building our Earthbench!
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First step will be to replenish the soil. We have already tested it for major nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium and found it to be seriously lacking in all three. In addition, as we took soil samples we did not find any insects or worms in the ground, it was that poor. After building the soil with organic materials, we will plant drought tolerant shrubs appropriate to our climate and the availability of water on our campus. These plants will eventually spread their roots systems and help keep the soil in place. Following the planting we will mulch the entire area to further combat the airborne dust that is such an environmental irritant to our students . Lastly we will create student maintenance teams to ensure the ongoing flourishing of the garden .
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Our project seeks to create a green space where students can tend a garden. The garden would have a variety of plants, most importantly including plants native to our Southern California ecosystem. Our students will also be learning about green architecture. They will have a large part in brainstorming ideas for design as they learn more about what architectural designs will help sustain this space. Our students will be specifically learning about greywater systems. As they learn more about this technology, they will contribute to the design by coming up with ideas on how we can collect greywater from our own school to sustain plant growth. Finally, we hope to build a mini amphitheater within the green space. The green space's main function would support learning. The space would be open to the whole school for classes to take place in. It would be a zone for interdisciplinary learning to take place. A history teacher might bring their students to come learn about the history of the landscape of our very own neighborhood, while a math teacher might bring their students to learn more about ratios and the importance of keeping track of the ratios between various plant species in order to keep the native garden healthy and diverse.
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We will organize and participate in various activities to raise funds to purchase quality umbrellas. We will identify people in our community that are less fortunate and are homeless. We will invite these people to our game field and hand out the umbrellas along with a sack lunch. It will be a whole event.
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Students have already started to "take action" for the Earthbench project. The Kids for Positive Change presentations about Sharks & Sea Turtles and Parrots & Backyard Birds, taught students about the problems these species are facing, with a focus on plastic bags, bottles, pieces and straws. Students chose creating and building an Earthbench for their Classroom-Community Action Assignment! Last school year (2016/2017), 85, 4th grade students, from the Kids for Positive Change Flagship Project, started making bottle bricks (plastic bottles stuffed with plastic pieces and plastic bags). Now, 5th graders, these students, along with all of the 4th grade classes and remaining 5th grade classes (572 total) have started working on the Earthbench Project by collecting materials and bottle bricking in the classroom, in art classes, at home...even while waiting for the bus! Step by Step Action: 1.) Kids for Positive Change has been working with the school Art Teacher to design the bench. The bench will be made in the shape and likeness of a dragon, the school system's mascot (Lakeside Dragons). 2.) With the design in place, Kids for Positive Change has reached out to Earthbench.org organizers, seeking guidance on how best to construct the bench, using bottlebricks, straw, clay, sand and cement. 3.) Teachers, students and community members and the Founder of LEADERship Ashtabula County, have started to collect plastic bags, plastic pieces and bottles for the bottle bricks. 4.) Collection bins for plastics will be established in both Superior and Erie Intermediate Schools by Sept. 30th, if not sooner 5.) Students have started and will continue to make bottle bricks (the foundation of the bench) from Sept. 2017-March 2018. 6.) 4th & 5th grade students will build the bench, using the bottle bricks as a foundation, staring April 2018, with the help from an experienced builder. 7.) 6th grade students will contribute to the Earthbench, by making the teeth and spin of the dragon, out of recycled materials 8.) The Earthbench will be "unveiled" on Earth Day 2018, or in May 2018, on our Kids for Positive Change Celebration Day! 9.) The Earthbench creating, building and unveiling will be documented for the school newsletter, website and local paper, ensuring community involvement and sharing of knowledge!
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We contacted Hose2Habitat to ask for help connecting with zoos and then met with Hose2Habitat and zookeepers from Cape May Zoo and Elmwood Park Zoo, which are close to our community in North Wales, PA. We will work with Hose2Habitat and keepers to identify needs of the animals and use STEM and other skills to create solutions by recycling items to keep them out of landfills. We will know if we are successful if the animals like and use what we make. The keepers at the zoos will tell us when the items we make are in with the animals and we can take pictures and videos to share with Roots and Shoots.
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In September of 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major investment in solar power in the NYC public school system. As part of the Mayor’s ‘One City, Built to Last’ green buildings incentive, 24 solar energy installations would be funded and installed in selected public school buildings. According to his proposal, the benefits would be significant: “The planned 6.25 MW of solar power at these 24 installations will result in a reduction of more than 2,800 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the equivalent of taking over 600 cars off the road every year. The solar installations will be paired with an environmental curriculum plan, including dashboards and web portals where students can track in real time what the systems are generating and the amount of emissions that have been offset, and undertake related analyses of the systems’ impacts.” (http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/457-14/mayor-de-blasio-major-solar-investment-city-schools-key-component-new-green#/0) My Roots & Shoots Project will build on Mayor de Blasio’s incentive and consider what it will take to turn the Churchill School & Center, an independent K-12 school for students with language-based learning disabilities in New York City (where I am currently a Junior), into a solar energy powered educational facility. In order to do this, I will examine and assess the viability of Churchill “going solar”, and becoming a state-of-the-art solar panel model for other schools to follow. The questions I hope to answer are: • Why should Churchill go solar? • What will it take for Churchill to install solar panels? • What will it cost for the purchase and installation of solar panels? • What is the timeframe? • What will Churchill gain by going solar? I will organize a symposium for the students and teachers of the Churchill High School. I will invite two solar energy specialists to discuss the benefits of solar energy as well as the actual installation of solar panels into a building like the Churchill School and Center (301 East 29th Street, NY, NY 10016). The first speaker will address the issue of solar energy as it relates to both our immediate environment as well as our planet. This speaker will address the “controversy” some people insist surrounds the issue of climate change. The second speaker will be a certified and licensed solar contractor who will conduct a hands-on training session in which the concepts presented by the first speaker will be put into practice. This hands-on training session will involve actual one-on-one building practices in order to truly engage a room full of (possibly apathetic) high school students. The contractor will actually teach us how to build and install a solar panel! The benefits of solar energy have been scientifically proven and documented. These benefits are vast, far-reaching and, at this moment in time, critical for the well-being of the Earth. As reported in the 2016 Energy.gov report, the benefits of solar energy include environmental advantages such as the preservation of our natural habitats, the reduction of our carbon footprint, and the reduction and eventual elimination of climate change. Additionally, there are economic benefits such as the creation of new jobs. Currently, solar power accounts for approximately 1% of our nation’s power, but as the cost for fossil fuels increases, and the price for solar panels decreases, solar energy could be the solution, even for people who don’t want to see the problem. (https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states). I hope that my Roots & Shoots project educates the students, teachers, and administrators at the Churchill High School in New York City of the importance of solar energy by removing the mystery surrounding solar panels. Additionally, I hope my project inspires Churchill to play an active role in joining those schools in New York City who have already received solar panels, as well as those who are scheduled to receive them. Finally, it is my great hope that my Roots & Shoots project inspires the next generation of solar energy activists.

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