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Thursday September 28th. For Peace Day we got together for a picnic. 12 kids and 5 moms attended. Everyone brought cat food and we made cat toys - all to donate to a local animal shelter. We had a little bit of orienteering when the kids used compas directions to find a hidden stash of scavenger hunt lists. The scavenger hunt included items from nature though one item was "a piece of litter" which they then threw away. We had a freecycle blanket too which is becomming a standard part of our park meetings. The kids also brought pennies to add to the jar we are collecting to adopt a chimpanzee. We ended up not doing anything that really involved "Peace" but we had a very fun time.
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Thursday October 19th 11 kids and 4 moms got together for a hike in Cheesequake State Park. We stopped at the nature center first to feed turtles, find out about the Asian Longhorned Beetles that are causing trouble in the area, check out the nature table and just all around have fun. Then we continued on to the main hike to the playground (through the woods and past a lake). We found deer tracks on the beach, deer poop on the grass, looked at moss, collected leaves and just had an all around good time. Today was mainly a nature appreciation day.
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For the holiday season, our group made toys and raised money for POUNCE, a local cat shelter. We made toys out of recycled materials and also collected donations and money for POUNCE outside a local grocery store. We collected a total of over $150 dollars worth of cat stuff for the shelter. Fifteen participants contributed two hours each.
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Our group secured a grant from the National 4-H Council with a matching amount from the town of Mars Hill (total $2,000) to plant trees at our county recreation park. We planted 16 oak trees and partnered with Reems Creek Nursery. About 70 participants contributed 3-10 hours each.
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Our group spent an afternoon at Meno a Kwena Tented Camp to study animals. We learned how to use binoculars, take field notes, do field sketches and make observations.
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Ricky Pires, a local Florida panther expert, came to speak to our group about the animal and its habitat. We discussed how to help care for the habitat of the panther where they live. Twenty participants contributed two hours each.
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Our group made tissue paper flowers in the colors of the Ugandan flag and sold them at our school. We raised $137 to send to the Outside the Dream Foundation, which pays the school fees of AIDS orphans in Africa. Forty participants contributed two hours each.
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Students representing 20 different countries planned and created a garden for plants native to their countries that can also grow in Virginia. As preparation, we analyzed the local climatic conditions and compared them with our countries to ensure the plants would survive. We measured the soil Ph and grew the plants from seed. Sixty participants contributed five hours each. Our group partnered with the Sterling Ruritan Club's Environmental Committee. The activity was covered in a newspaper.
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Together with other local animal lovers, our families held a peaceful protest against the use and mistreatment of animals in the Carson and Barnes Circus. Children and their parents stood near the entrance to circus parking holding posters of elephants in chains and wild cats in cages. We got the attention of circus patrons, as well as that of other passersby and the local media. Nine individuals participated for three hours. The Arizona Republic published a photograph and quotes of R&S members in an article entitled, "Circus is in town; so are protesters." (http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/0511gr-circusprotest0511Z12.html) Background information and supplies for the protest came from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (www.circuses.com).
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We wish to learn about gardening and support beautification efforts in our community.

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