Spain
Our family group spent the 2006 Easter holidays in the Les Planes de Son Center. The full name for this building is "Centre de Desenvolupament Sostenible dels Pirineus," or "Center for Sustainable Development of the Pyrenees." It is located in Catalonia, the North-East Autonomous Community of Spain. The whole building is an example of eco-construction, with features such as: - a grass roof for better climate control and visual impact reduction - solar panels - intelligent use of solar light Everywhere you can find multiple bins for recycling and signs on all water faucets encourage conserving water. Just being in the building increased our awareness of ways to save energy at home. Our family participated in activities such as: - a visit to the "endangered animals" center, where we learned about the animals from an expert and children were allowed to feed some of them. The expert made it clear that this center is not a zoo, but more of a temporary rescue and rehabilitation center for the animals. - "sensations" forest, to awake senses like smell, touch and sound in nature. - excursions to forests and rivers nearby. - cultural visits to historic villages with 1000-year-old churches. I strongly recommend you to visit the center's website (http://www.lesplanesdeson.com/) which have English, French and Spanish versions besides the original in Catalan.
United States
Our Roots & Shoots group spent some time planning and gathering materials for a Christmas caroling event designed to bring good cheer to a local housing project, a health clinic and a local business. The group decided on what songs to sing, gathered and copied into books the words to the songs they wanted to sing and then spent the entire afternoon singing to the local people in these settings. They were well recieved and brought many smiles to their audiences.
United States
Our Roots & Shoots group was studying gardening this month. The group built a planter box outside the building and hauled soil over to fill it and then planted seeds of a local variety. They will tend to it over the course of the fall growing season. The group also went to Good Works Organic Farm and recieved a tour from the farmer who discussed the differences between organic farming and regular farming, discussed local insects, and local plant varieties. Kids picked apples for a snack and got to take home a pumpkin.
United States
Throughout the holidays, we collected 110 pairs of shoes for children at Amani Children's Home and an orphanage for younger children in Tanzania. Amani takes in AIDS orphans and street children and gives them a chance for a brighter future (www.amanikids.org). We watched the Amani video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWIvCBsOyXw) and read books about how children live around the world, and one child noticed that very often they have no shoes! So we put together the idea of collecting shoes to send to kids in Africa. As it happens, my parents and sister will be flying over to Tanzania in February and will bring the shoes directly to Amani and the other orphanage. We collected shoes from friends and family, some of whom were so excited about the idea that they ran their own sub-drives. Even the local paper got interested and did a feature article on our project.
United States
The Saturdays at the Shelter program brought together 10 kids between 9 and 11 years old. Over the course of seven Saturdays, the kids worked through a number of group projects on humane treatment of animals and companion animal skills. They each picked a project to do on their own; some made posters, others made cat toys for the cats at the Shelter, and one, the editor of her middle school paper, wrote an editorial.
Nigeria
Our two groups have collaborated to carry out a project that will restore electrical supply to our community in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Electricity has not worked in our community since before many of our group members were born. The process is still ongoing, but we have already raised at least $6200 to achieve our goal.
United States
At this event we discussed the story of Sadako Sasaki (http://www.sadako.org/sadakostory.htm), read the book Peace Crane by Sheila Hamanaka and looked at maps to locate Kanagawa, Japan. We then folded origami paper cranes to add to the hundreds we had left over from the R&S "1,000 Cranes for Peace" event in August 2005. When another group of 1,000 cranes for peace was complete, we strung them together to send to a R&S group in Kanagawa for R&S International Day of Peace on September 30th. The group received the cranes in time for Peace Day, and sent us back 1,000 cranes that they and their schoolmates made, along with photos and letters, which we later shared at the Japanese Friendship Garden on December 7, 2006.
United States
Today we recognized United Nations International Day of Peace (http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/ ) by kicking back with a movie that teaches the importance of living in peace with our environment, animals, and each other, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind (http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/nausicaa/). We shared snacks and friendship.
United States
6 families from the Earthsavers R&S group collected old socks and used them to create catnip toys for locally rescued cats waiting for adoption.
United States
On Oct 5, 2006 Earthsavers R&S participated in trail rehabilitation at the Fanwood Nature Center. We shovelled mulch donated by the borough and carried it to trails where the mulch had been washed away by heavy rains. We then spread the mulch over the trails with rakes. Our work was reported in the local newspapers. We also received a tour of the nature center by the director, Dean Talcott. He discussed how the nature center came to be, what kind of upkeep it needs and the different types of trees, animals and birds that live there.

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