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We planted a butterfly garden at our elementary school. The two group leaders solicited and collected butterfly plants from local nurseries, friends and neighbors. At our first group meeting, the children made stepping stones for the garden; grown-ups mixed cement, poured it into used cardboard ice cream buckets collected from the local ice cream parlor and the children placed ceramic stones and reused glass pieces to decorate. Parents and children planted plants and placed stepping stones. The children made signs (e.g., "Watch for Butterflies", "These plants are for butterflies") to discourage school children from running through the garden during recess. Our second group meeting will focus on the butterfly's lifecycle, butterfly-plant symbiosis and butterfly migration.
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Our R & S members created a decorative and eye catching cardboard box drop off station at the entrance to Spring Hill RECenter. Patrons of the RECenter donated washed and folded used towels for our collection effort. Our R & S members and their parents collected washed and folded used towels from their neighbors, families and friends for two weeks. This project taught us that we all can make a HUGE difference in a small way. By donating towels to the animal shelters/hospitals, we helped animals have the comfort they needed after a bath or surgery. Our R & S members collected in excess of 300 washed and folded towels for our local animal friends. Since we have R & S members from all around the DC, MD and VA areas that helped with this project, we selected 4 animal hospitals/shelters in these areas to benefit from our Got Towels? collection project. It's was important to call local shelters/hospitals to see if they needed towels and how many could they use. We contacted local media to help spread the word that this project was going on, so that our community could get involved and realize that they can give new, meaningful life to an old towel. We plan on making this an ongoing monthly project year around.
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As part of our ongoing efforts to "green" our office here at the JGI-USA Headquarters, we educated colleagues about how to conserve energy with their computers. We created a "How To Conserve with Your Computer" document to show how to change the Power Save settings on their computer so that their monitors turn off and their computers hibernate or go into standby mode after 15 minutes. The how-to document had both written instructions and computer screenshots. We emailed the guide to everyone in the office and then went around tooffer personal tutorials. We walked people through changing their Power Save settings and offered them candy treats for making the change.
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Our group decided to raise money by recycling cans and bottles, this is part of the reduce reuse and recycle campaign. We chose this as our on going project. Our goal is to raise money for our community based group and later decide what organization we will contribute to. This project is age appropriate for 6- to-10 year olds and it raises awareness on reduce, reuse, recycle and earning money. This is a good project for any Roots & Shoots group.
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Two of our members volunteer every week at a transitional homeless shelter for women with children. We play games like basketball, baseball, puzzles, coloring and singing, and we do crafts every week with the kids. Most recently, we made a balloon man with balloons, markers and construction paper and also decorated picture frames for the kids to decorate their apartments with.
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Our Roots & Shoots group primarily works through visiting local 3rd grade classrooms. We use the EcoTeam curriculum, along with the Roots & Shoots service projects that go with it, to educate the kids about, and get them involved in helping animals, the environment, and their community! Our group is made up of graduate and post-doctoral students at Emory University and running these groups is great not only for the 3rd graders, but also for us! We visit our classes every other week throughout the school year, so we really get to know the kids. We love teaching them about the environment and we love learning fun new stuff from them as well! For any group looking to get involved, this is a great way to do it! The impact of the few hours you give goes beyond just the 15 students in the class you work with, as they share what they learned with the whole school, with their parents and with their friends!
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With Scout Troop 209, my brother Gerhard and I went to the Moose Research Center in Kenai. There we worked on Moose Habitat Improvement for the 28 resident "wild" moose. We cut down young Aspen for the moose to eat. We also cleared and fixed a fence. The highlight was that we got to scratch moose behind the ears - without a fence between us.
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This is the initiation of a new community service project designed for middle school eighth graders. Middle school students will join a cadre of students who are transported by parents or as a group by a minimum of two approved and assigned parents to elementary schools to present the story of Snooter (the Free Spay and Neuter Program, Inc. mascot) to third grade classes as part of the literature, social and Character Counts! curriculum. The exercise requires about 15 minutes per class with introduction and reading of The Adventures of Snooter publication by Vanessa C. Bryce. The objectives are one) to provide an awareness of the need for spaying and neutering of companion animals, two) interest elementary and middle school students in becoming proactive by creating support for community service and making a difference, three) initiate an understanding of pet care and management, four) create an interesting learning environment for elementary students and lastly, provide community involvement opportunities for middle school students coupled with appropriate grade level activities.
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Coastal Cleanup Day is a worldwide event on the third Saturday of September. When we found out that most of the ocean trash comes from inland waterways, we started cleanups in Shasta County and Cottonwood Creek Watershed in Tehama County, both in California. This was our fourth time coordinating this event. We had four Roots & Shoots team captains. Each year we get a few more volunteers. This year was amazing because the school that usually volunteers closed, yet we had more volunteers than ever. The media only brings in a handful of volunteers. Most of them come from groups like boy scouts, girl scouts, church groups, 4H, key clubs and other youth community service groups.
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We met with an energy analyst from our local electric company to learn about electric energy conservation and safety. He led a discussion about these two topics and then we did an activity. Each participating family brought 3 electric devices. We pretended tables around the room were the rooms of a mock home. Each room (table) had the relevant appliances on it and were plugged in. Kids predicted which devices used the most energy in each room. We used energy monitoring devices (available through the library) to measure the energy hogs in each room and compare to the predictions. The kids then practiced energy conservation by walking from room to room, using the devices and unplugging or turning off when they are done or leave. Each family went home with a care package from the electric company containing fluorescent bulbs, rebate coupons and info about special conservation and electricity programs available at low cost.

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