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A class of students grade 3- 5 did a clean up at Mission Bay Park. The students were amazed at how much trash was left and felt proud of their involvement in helping the environment become a better place to live for people and animals.
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Students in grades 3-5 took a tour of the Tecolote Nature Center. The park ranger gave the students a talk about the history of the canyon including the plants and animals that live there. The ranger let the children hold a snake and they learned what to do if they come upon one during a walk. The children learned how the Native Americans used nature for their needs. The kids went on a walk enjoying nature and having a respect for the plants and animals living there. Although this center is near the school, this was a first visit for many of the students.
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We have a school garden at Toler Elementary. My second and third graders have learned where food comes from by growing their own vegetables. They used the castings from the compost bin to make the soil rich which helped the vegetables grow into healthy and delicious tomatoes, cauliflower, squash, and beans. They did all the work themselves from harvesting the castings, planting, weeding, watering and of course eating the bountiful harvest of veggies. This was tied into our health unit on nutrition.
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Our students at our school have been awesome recyclers. Of course they recycled paper, cans and bottles, but they didn't stop there. Our school recycles plastic grocery/shopping bags, printer cartridges, cell phones and old video game systems. Every Wednesday at our school is "Worm Wednesday". After eating lunch the students sort their trash putting appropriate food waste into a bucket which gets put into the worm bin. A class is in charge of vermicomposting every week where they let nature's recyclers (red worms) do the work of eating the leftovers. The class harvests the castings and then uses it for the class garden. Last year our school won an award for being Recyclers of the Year!
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Toler Elementary has had 5 Family Science Nights this year. At the last event students, parents and community members learned about animals from the world's rainforest. The highlight was when Pacific Animal Productions brought in five live animals from the rainforest! Through these amazing animals everyone gained an appreciation of the animals and their native habitats. It was wonderful seeing parents and students talking about what they learned about the animals and how they could help preserve their home.
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We returned to the Earth Day Festival at Koreshan State park in Estero FL. This year, our stand focused on environmentally friendly/involved activities for children. We had ongoing crafts throughout the day, including bird-feeder-making (with pinecones and seeds) and pinwheel-making. We also had face painting, so many of the children "became" animals for the day. We decorated our stand with lots of information about StepItUp and global climate change, and an enormous model of a whale (that people could walk through). One member also displayed his science fair project, explaining the benefit of low energy bulbs as compared to incandescent bulbs. As is our tradition, our group also camped out for the weekend at the campground. This is our third year participating in this event.
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On April 27, the children in the entire school ran/walked around the soccer field to fundraise and to celebrate Earth Day! We asked each student to seek sponsorship from friends and family. Our goal was to raise money O2 For Life Rainforest Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, preservation and connection of the rainforest ecosystems of Southwest Costa Rica, known as the Osa Conservation area. Each grade was encouraged to run a specific number of laps. We suggested donations of $1/lap with all proceeds to benefit O2 For Life Rainforest Foundation. It is our intention to continue to empower these wonderful children to make positive changes in the world!
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We purchased 100 canvas bags, wholesale, using money raised in a bakesale. Then we decorated most of the bags using ribbons, buttons and paint. Each member sold them to her friends and family members. We also sold them in front of local grocery stores during two bake sales. Included with each purchase was a facts sheet containing statistics on pollution caused by plastic and paper grocery bags. We encouraged all who bought these reusable canvas bags to substitute them for paper and plastic bags when grocery shopping. We sold over ninety of the bags and raised about $250.00 which we donated to Tchimpounga.
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Roots & Shoots youth groups in Sierra Leone spent a couples of weeks helping to clean a stretch of Goderich shore west of Freetown. This Beach is one of our main tourist areas in Freetown. We cleared away rubbish that had washed up from the sea and littered the beaches.
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Operation Happy Socks has been lots of fun. After contacting one of the local No-Kill animal shelters in our area we got started making the socks. Members brought their spare or unmatched socks to our meeting and we bought a few bags of filler and catnip. The kids had a fantastic time stuffing the socks full of filler and catnip, we even added some rafia for noise. With plenty of children in attendance we were able to make 45 Happy Socks in about a half an hour. The kids are really looking forward to giving the socks to the cats at the Canyon Lake Animal Shelter.

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