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Roots & Shoots members Nate Kenny and Peyman Mortize planned out a community service project in the school year 2006 (when we first became members of Roots & Shoots. They decided that their school garden needed a greenhouse. They began to do research and collected information. This year, they wrote a grant to Pleasanton School District asking for the money to purchase a greenhouse. The school district was accepting applications for school projects that concerned the environment. The school district accepted the Roots & Shoots proposal and awarded Roots & Shoots $795.00 to buy a greenhouse. The greenhouse has been purchased and delivered, The greenhouse will be set up this summer in the school garden.
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Roots & Shoots sponsored a school wide fundraiser during May. We partnered with the Earth Foundation to save the rainforest in the Rift Valley. Our goal was to save 100 acres. We were able to save almost 50 acres. Roots & Shoots painted signs, classroom presentations, held a school wide assembly activity and a Roadrunner Radio school announcement. The members distributed T-shirts, hats and bags to classrooms.
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Our Kindergarten class wanted to share the important message that we need to take care of our environment today so that we will have it tomorrow. This message was presented by bringing "The Great Kapok Tree" written by Lynn Cherry, to life in the form of a play. The children became the animals in the rain forest and they convinced the man who came to chop down the great Kapok to stop. About 110 people saw the play which was free.
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The Jr. BKS Explorers' Club (with Nancy Barron & Kathryn MacElroy) is an after school program for Kindergarten children. The students work in cooperative groups and participate in peer learning. The Kindergarten students plant bulbs outside their classroom windows in the fall and watch with anticipation for their appearance in the spring. The children use age appropriate gardening tools to rake up leaves and pick up trash in the school's yard. Kindergarten students realize that they can make a difference in the world as they learn about environmental issues in their neighborhood. The children visit the Trailside Museum to observe injured indigenous animals.
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The children in each Kindergarten class adopted a child and purchased age appropriate toys and books to be placed in a stocking. The stockings were given to ALTRUSA, an international organization, for distribution to the children. Filling Christmas stockings helped Quincy's neediest children.
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Fourth Grade Students in the BKS Explorers' Club Projects Goals: 1) Become environmental caretakers of sailors' Home Pond 2) Observe animal adaptation at the pond 3) Remove trash from the Pond 4) Rake the leaves around the pond and outside the fenced in area 5) Monitor the health of the pond by maintaining a web site showing the pH levels of the pond since 2003 and 6) Visit the Trailside Museum for a presentation about animal adaptations
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We made flyers and put them in neighborhood mail boxes to warn people that if they use rat or mouse poison, they may be accidentally harming pets and wildlife because when poisoned rodents are eaten, the poison can also harm or kill the animals or bird that eats them. One of our dogs almost died because of this.
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We helped the Park Service restore a local trail head. This is an ongoing project. We removed nonnative mustard and planted and mulched native plants. We're very proud of the progress we've made, and we hope a fire doesn't destroy our efforts. We will water the plants through the summer because of the drought, and resume planting in the fall.
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Ph.D. candidate chemistry students from the Center for Green Chemistry at UMass/Lowell visited Mrs Toscano's class and did a green chemistry project with one of the classes. The topic was "Why dilution is not the solution to pollution," and it demonstrated why diluting salty water does not remove the salt. Even when you can't detect the salt, it is still there. They emphasized that even minute quantities of toxins are bad, so diluting them does not remove them from the environment but in fact can spread then to impact more areas. Some of the children were impressed to learn that our graduate students are in 20th grade!
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Environmental habitat study is our ongoing project. The teachers have incorporated environmental lessons into class and our Roots & Shoots lessons have included: discussing elements of habitats (food, shelter, and water plus a place to raise young) then drawing elements and creating murals; exploring a composting worm bin, including digging around to see what was happening and learning about decomposition; exploring the school yard to determine what elements of habitat we have there for food, shelter, and water and assessing our schoolyard habitat to register it with the National Wildlife Federation. Our lessons about native endangered turtles focused on their habitat needs.

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