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Between Jan. 07 and May 07, we studied about both Arctic and Antarctic animals, how their adaptations make it possible to live in the extreme conditions and how each species is tied together. We also learned about the effects of global warming on polar animals and what we can do to help. For Mother's Day, the kids potted flowers and sold them for $5 each. The proceeds went to the WWF for helping polar animals.
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On August 27th, four Roots & Shoots youth leaders (including myself) and two family groups planted 10 trees for ReBirth The Earth in the Middlesex Fells Tree Nursery. You can see a video of the planting ceremony at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwOSq8TNgcc.
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Spring Hill RECenter Roots & Shoots Jr. Volunteer's inaugural project was a collaborative effort between R & S, a county elected official, Americorps volunteers, JGI representatives, Earth Sangha (local Buddhist environmental volunteer group) and Fairfax County Park Authority Employees/Volunteers. This invasive species removal revolution project at our local Marie Butler Leven Preserve was led by the Americorps and Earth Sangha volunteers. They provided a project/tools orientation for everyone that attended the event. We contacted local media outlets to cover this historic event. Spring Hill RECenter R & S is the first Parks & Recreation facility in VA to charter a R & S group. We promoted our event on Craigslist.org/DC and VolunteerFairfax.org for free. We learned how much damage invasive species can do to native plants and animals. To see so many diverse groups come together for a common goal and embrace our community enough to give up a Sunday afternoon to get dirty for the cause was awe-inspiring. We cleared so many vines of English Ivy that were choking trees, cleared invasive catalpa trees, layed yards of mulch to spur growth of native plants and strategically placed significant sized tree limbs along mulched paths to keep rain water from washing the mulch away too soon. We could not have been happier with the HUGE turnout of folks and the media. A super fun day with a great cause. It was a perfect way to kick off our newly formed R & S to the community and with each other! A local Fuddruckers generously supplied the most amazing cookies for dessert to everyone that participated! Lessons learned were to promote, partner and play! Promote the event as much as possible, partner with other groups and most importantly... have fun!
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We have been working on our Monarch Waystation and Fern Jenkins Memorial Butterfly Garden, which is located along the woods beside Bethel Church. We have planted and nurtured plants required for monarch waystations over the past year and are providing the other requirements for monarch waystations (puddling pool, sun, shade, etc.) We have also put in plants to attract other butterflies. We also try to attract amphibians to our garden. Eventually we will apply for certification as a Monarch Waystation.
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Holliston Roots and Shoots hosted a dog bath, including a bake sale and lemonade stand to raise money for a local no-kill shelter, the BayPath Humane Society of Hopkinton, MA. Our supportive local community here in Holliston made this small event a big success! 500 fliers were donated by a local printing company and two professional dog bathers helped bathe the dogs during the entire event. Members distributed fliers, bathed dogs, baked and also collected 3 van sized trunks of donations for the shelter. These donations included dog and cat food, sheets, towels, blankets, detergent and bleach, dog shampoo and pet accessories.
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This year was our third year doing the Work-A-Thon. The Work-A-Thon is were JGEMS students, parents and teachers go to a site like Salem's Bush Park to plant trees, pull out scotch broom and make the environment an all around better place. Before we start working we talk to family and friends and politely ask for a pledge of either a flat amount or pledge by how much we work. There were six opportunities to earn your pledges. We worked at Opal Creek; we pulled out scotch broom there. At Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Reserve we tagged trees and cleared out stuff from beneath them and at Pringle Creek (Bush Park) we planted trees and pulled out black berries (this Work-A-Thon would be better known as Battle of the Blackberries). Then at a prairie near Stayton we planted endangered plants. If we couldn't get to any of the main Work-A-Thon we picked up trash Lansing(East of Waldo).The last Work-A-Thon we have done was the Leaf Haul that we did for the City of Salem. At the Leaf Haul we took leaves from people who dropped them off and dumped them in a huge pile.
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In 2004, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service began restoring an estuary habitat in Siletz Bay NWR near Newport, Oregon. Part of the restoration involved placing large woody debris in the streams to improve habitat for salmon and steelhead. USFWS asked JGEMS students to monitor the movement of the debris by tides and high water events. Students approach the sites by canoes and calculate both the movement of the wood and the depth of the holes dug out under the wood by the current. These holes are ideal resting sites for young fish. The project began in October 2003 and will continue with yearly monitoring until 2013.
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We collected donations for the orphanage that we help. We asked members to donate school, baby and household supplies. We also handed out flyers in front of stores to encourage customers to buy some items for us while they shopped. We filled up two SUV's and drove to Tijuana. We unloaded the stuff, had a tour of the orphanage and then helped with the kids. We always feel changed after we return from Tijuana. Most of the people there are very poor. Our members always wonder why it has to be like that. Is corruption in the Mexican government to blame? Could that happen here? We always feel so sad for the orphans. Most of them were abandoned when they were babies. The orphanage is clean and it seems very well-run, but the kids seem starved for affection and/or attention. We think a more positive attitude toward birth control would result in fewer unwanted kids, but we don't think we are the right group to encourage this in Mexico.
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Earth Hawks Roots & Shoots held a fundraiser for Ojai's Food for Thought program. Food for Thought is an Ojai school program that promotes the environment and health through providing a farm-fresh salad bar, nutrition education, garden-based learning, agricultural literacy and trash reduction. Earth Hawks R&S set up a concession booth at a concert fundraiser, called Locally Grown. We solicited donations from Lassen's Health Foods and sold organic apples, carrots, plums, organic sodas and snacks. We raised $325 USD. We also set up a table with photos of our past activities and Roots & Shoots brochures. Many families seemed interested in joining or starting their own R&S group. Four of our members also performed in the "Carrot Chorus" singing a song about loving vegetables. (www.foodforthoughtojai.org)
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Our school club has a paper recycling project that is ongoing and that costs the club approximately $60 a month. In order to pay for the paper to be picked up, the club engages in several fundraisers every year. This year for the first time we purchased inexpensive canvas bags that we then decorated with flowers and animals using stencils and fabric paint. We sold the bags to our families and to the school faculty.

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