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We sent 13 letters to the Prime Minister of Belize urging him not to open up park lands for oil company use. The kids read about the wildlife in Belize. We all asked the Prime Minister to write back. We haven't heard anything yet but we are hopeful.
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Hugs and Hope is an online organization that advertises pictures and stories of sick kids, some terminally ill. They want volunteers to make happy cards for these kids. They call it happy mail. We use this activity for our group to one, let them know they may have many problems but at least they have their health and two, to create some compassion and caring for those less fortunate then themselves. This time we had the kids make Easter cards for the kids. We printed many pictures and stories from the web site and gave them to the kids to read then they could make a card for them. They enjoy the activity and actually some of our group made 2, 3 even 4 cards. Good idea for any group.
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Using donated fabric and old items of clothing donated by a local thrift shop we're making cloth grocery bags. This is an on-going project. We have been selling them at our local churches and will sell them at a festival in April and again at an Earth Day festival we're organizing. The money we earn is going to the "Panda Miti" campaign and for the Earth Day festival. We've currently made over 50 bags.
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Our Roots & Shoots group worked together with the Proud to Be Substance Free club to run the Daffodil Days fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society. Together we raised over $400!
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Turtles need a safe place to get out of the water and warm up. They like stumps, logs, rocks or islands in ponds or slow moving water. If there aren't any, they bask on shore, but are more susceptible to predation. We are putting out rafts in places where the turtles are seen on shore with no safe place to climb out. We made a raft from two lightweight sunwood logs, by cutting them in half and lashing them together with plastic ties and two wood strips. Without a boat, we weren't able to get it out in the middle of the pond. We pushed it with a long stick and then threw the anchor as far as we could. The next day there were a dozen turtles on it. Native wood would be preferred, but is heavy to lug around.
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After a long cold winter and two recent snow storms ( about 24" each storm), much of the snow has melted. Under the snow was scattered trash from the first of the of the year. Our park is located in the middle of a large neighborhood. We have a tree lined creek running through the park with a walking path. Most the trash this time of the year is along the main road which goes around the park. We have a family group of 4. On this day it was my daughter and I along with 2 of the of the local neighbors. We have our clean-up posted in our bi-monthly newsletter, so we do get volunteers. It's so positive to see the grass and all the nature after such a cold winter season. And to make the scene beautiful by removing the litter, this is very constructive for the environment and the soul.
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Our group collected donations and adopted an animal at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA. Throughout the year we will involve the children and adults in planning and holding fund raisers. Our group's goals are to continue to support the endangered wild cat from Africa we adopted in March, and to raise the funds to adopt a red-tailed hawk in September. To continue to raise funds the group has suggested: holding a yard sale, having collection cans, holding a bake sale, and/or hosting a lemonade stand. Some adults have pledged to match funds donated by their children.
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Earth Hawks Roots & Shoots donated their time and muscle to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. We participated in the stream bank stabilization project. In December 2006, a 350 foot section of the Ventura River bank was secured with seven trenches that were each planted with thousands of willows so as to protect the bank by deflecting storm flows and capturing sediment for further bank protection. Today, we weeded around the willow plantings to allow them space to grow.
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Our group sold greeting cards made out of recycled paper. The extremely neat thing about these cards is that they also have flower seeds embedded in them. The recipient can moisten the cards then plant them for a lasting memento of the sentiment The money we raised will be used to create our campus Monarch Waystation and help our PTO to certify our campus as a Wild School through project Wild in Ohio.
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Our group is made up of homeschool kids and their mamas. Between park days, and field trips, each family packs lunches 4-5 times a week. Recently our group switched to all reusable products! Many of us purchased the stainless steel lunch kits from www.reusablebags.com and www.greenfeet.com, others opted for glass and/or metal containers, and one bought an actual tiffin from Little India. For sandwiches a few families have purchased the sandwich wraps from www.reusablebags.com, but the rest of us stuff them into the lunch kits. The way we drool over their wraps makes me sure we'll all eventually buy our own. Snacks get put into lunch kits, little containers, and sometimes wrapped in fabric napkins. For utensils we have families who use their home silverware, some who use the beautiful bamboo sets from www.reusablebags.com, and one family who cleverly bought camping utensils. Lastly, every family has bought the Kleen Kanteens for water; together we've got all the sizes represented (including a baby brother with his teeny Kanteen, sporting a sippy lid!) As for carrying all of the above? Cloth bags and eco-friendly coolers of course! The children loved picking everything out, and learning why we were making the switch. They've loved showing their items to each other, and to friends not in our group. I'm proud to say we've inspired many in our larger home school community to make the switch!! We're working on bringing empty food containers with us all the time, so we can put restaurant leftovers in them instead of containers to toss in the trash.

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