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The New England Regional Office and Roots & Shoots groups across the region gathered to meet Jane Goodall on March 18, where they also worked on a service-learning peace project together! Youth from the ages of high school down to first grade wrote and decorated cards of well wishes that will be sent to children in Iraq. Cards were made with markers and recycled paper and were covered with wishes of peace and good will. They will be mailed by composer, Ruth Mendelson, along with her "Well Wishes and Blessings" cd, a collection of songs made by youth in the United States for youth in Iraq.
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Our R&S group got involved in the Operation Christmas Child project around Christmas time. OCC is an organization that provides children around the world with Christmas Presents. Our group put together a christmas present for an 11-14 year old child. We put toys, school supplies, and toiletries in the box. After we were done shopping, we delivered the box to a collection center where they then wrapped and sent it.
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The third graders decided that the first project we would engage in would be a fundraiser for Heifer International. The group is raising money through Heifer's "Read to Feed" program, in which the children will try to acquire pledges for the amount of pages they read in self-selected books. In addition, the group has decided to have a car wash at the school as a culminating event for the fundraiser. The group chose this project because they felt that they were making a positive impact on the human community, the environment, and animals through the fundraising work.
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Children at Kids Express Learning Center compost their leftovers in the compost bin to make good soil and worm cities. Each classroom has a rotating compost captain who moves the compost. Children help out with all aspects of the organic gardening program including planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, & tasting! Roots & Shoots children also help sell organic produce at our Children's Market. We typically raise around $300 and the money is used to buy seeds and garden tools.
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Our homeschool groups meets weekly, and we gather pantry foods, gently used clothing and other items for low income and homeless families in our area. Recently we dropped off three large bags of clothing and 37 pounds of food. The children participated by choosing what types of food they would like to donate. Some children were involved in dropping off the donations. Some children are fundraising by redeeming cans and bottles and using the deposit refund to purchase food for the families.
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We spent 2 hours with in the classroom once a month from January to April learning about watersheds and how to protect our water. We also were taught by an AmeriCorps volunteer how to key Macro invertebrates. Finally in April we were led into the field by our AmeriCorps volunteer. We went to Maskell's Mill pond and collected water samples. We then sorted out the macro invertebrates and collect our data. This data is being sent to the DEP.
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We went to represent Roots & Shoots at the Green Resource Fair, part of the San Francisco Arbor Day Festival, dedicated to 'Planting the seed of tomorrow today.' At this event, the mayor of San Francisco, various city agencies, as well as many community leaders and volunteers gathered to plant trees all along Brotherhood Way. After the trees were planted, there was time for connections, as event participants visited the Roots & Shoots table and learned more about our program as well as the brand new ReBirth the Earth: Trees for Tomorrow Campaign. Additionally, we were able to connect with many green organizations in the Bay Area that will be great contacts for Roots & Shoots groups in the San Francisco region who participate in the ReBirth the Earth Campaign. Send us a message to learn more about these connections!
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Every year, before the Lincoln Children's Zoo opens, the LPS Science Focus Program helps by cleaning up the zoo. The Roots & Shoots group has provided leadership for these cleanup days. The typical jobs include clearing branches, picking up any trash, rake up dead leaves, mulch, plant and repaint the tracks that lead visitors through the zoo.
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Our Roots & Shoots group was asked to lead the development process of creating a natural play area for visitors to the Aubudon Society Spring Creek Prairie. The entire school of 100 students is asked to participate with Roots & Shoots members as the leaders. Our goal is to develop a place safe enough for kids, yet natural enough to expose children to the outdoors. This idea of exposing children to nature can help develop social skills, mitigate the effects of syndromes, and help the overall health of individuals of all ages.
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My group brainstormed about ways to help people, animals and the enviornment. We picked a project in each area. The project to help people was the Heifer Intl. Read to Feed. First we learned about the program and thought about how they would be making a real difference in the world. The boys told others about the project at an all-school assembly. The students collected sponsors and kept track of chapter books they read.

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