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We held a two-day mini-camp (June 9-10) in conjunction with Copper Ridge Farm Camp. Unfortunately, these were two of the hottest days of the summer (100 degrees F!), so we weren't able to do several of the outdoor activities as we had planned. Some of the activities: 1. Water Appreciation (This activity deserves its own explanation page and will be submitted separately.) 2. Making cheese from goats' milk from the farm and sourdough bread 3. Crafts: making recycled paper, making wallets from used Capri-Sun bags 4. Dirt Dessert--ice cream treats representing Soil horizons 5. Soil Art: this activity will be explained separately. 6. Snack: eating in-season and locally available fruit (talked about pollinators)
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We hosted a table at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools' Green Schools End-of-Year Celebration at the Rockville Library. We helped participants make energy-saving light-switch plate covers by cutting the covers out of contact paper and decorating them with energy-saving messages, like "Turn off the lights. Stop global warming." and "Switch me off to save energy." We also led an energy quiz game, in which participants tried to answer three questions about energy statistics. We wrote the questions and answers on a wipe board and covered up the answers with flaps of construction paper that could be lifted to see if participants were right or not. Finally, we worked hard to promote Roots & Shoots by handing out brochures, newsletters and "ReBirth the Earth: Trees for Tomorrow" campaign flyers. We chatted with event attendees about Roots & Shoots and encouraged them to check out www.rootsandshoots.org for more information.
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Our biggest Roots & Shoots project is our Pearl Creek Garden. We began planning this garden several years ago and have done some significant fund raising (Garden Festival in May, 2006). We are now enjoying the success of our first planting season! While my Roots & Shoots group is leading the way with this project, our entire school is involved. Last May, students planted seeds for hundreds of pumpkins, sunflowers, nasturtiams, beans and marigolds. We seeded potatoes, peas, poppies and cover crop directly into the soil. We also built a compost pile with horse manure and grass clippings. That manure helped us to grow dozens of pumpkins, hundreds of potatoes and nine foot tall sunflowers! We are thrilled with our garden. We have just returned to school this week and children are actively learning in the garden. Classes are outside all day long doing writing, art projects and learning about the science of soil and plants. In Roots & Shoots we are tying in conversations about world hunger and sustainability with the garden. We also are using the garden to talk about nutrition and health and the benefits of "eating locally". Roots & Shoots students have learned so much and it also feels that they have given an enormous gift to the entire school and community. Our garden is beautiful!
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Our chapter is running the Fox Festival at the Santa Barbara Zoo in October so we thought it would be great to be able to work with the foxes and learn as much as we can. Susan Morris from SOS is in charge of the project and she helped us in many ways. We camped on Santa Rosa Island for three days. Every day, we helped the fox biologist, Angela Guglielmino, with many projects. We put up shelves for the foxes to rest on, attached shade cloth to protect them from the sun and wind, cleaned their pens, filled in holes in the ground where they had been digging, prepared their food, fed and watered them and removed weeds from the pens. Angela taught us all about the program and about the foxes. The foxes were afraid of us the first day, but they gradually relaxed and we noticed how each of them has a different personality. It was interesting and fun. We also learned a lot about the Channel Islands.
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Earth Savers Roots & Shoots attended a one-man show about caring for the earth at Trailside Nature and Science Center. The entertaining show discussed the importance of reduce, reuse and recycle.
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Our group went to a large newspaper company in Oklahoma City. We were interviewed by a young woman named Carrie Coppernell. We went into a studio that looked like a radio studio. It was very neat because our interview was broadcast on their website as a podcast. It was a lot of fun and a good experience.
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We have stayed in touch with our local animal shelter and we heard that they needed our help with adopting out animals. So our group went to our local dog park where our local animal shelter was adopting out dogs and cats. Our group made posters and we hung them up near by the park, we also played with the animals to show potential adopters that they were good with kids. It was a great experience and it was very fun!
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Our group wanted to raise some money for our future projects. So we set up a both at our local Jr. Farmers Market and we sold crafts, treats and some home grown organic produce. We have done this about 3 times this summer and have made about $40 each time. This project was very helpful.
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Our child care center contacted the local landfill and spoke with a lady who was able to provide us with a large assortment of recycling bins of various sizes. She gave us brochures on items our county currently accepts at the recycling sites. We took our bins back to the center and we now recycle cans, bottles, paper and used toner cartridges. Since the children do this at the center, they have educated their families and many are doing their part at home with recycling. The teachers came up with the idea during lesson planning time and Ms. Michelle wanted to start encouraging responsibility for the environment from our youngsters. The children are recognizing the recycling triangles and what the numbers mean. It has really instilled a desire in these children to do their part and we believe they will remember these activities during youth and they will apply them in their adult lives.
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We decorated tin cans and informed families at the center to give when they could spare change that could help an animal at the shelter survive a little longer by adopting animals during different months when we can raise money. A parent at the center suggested the idea and we went with it! Families do dig down deep and we have adopted three animals and look to do more! There are sometimes low periods and that is to be expected.

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