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My daughter age nine and myself have participated in the Rivers Alive clean-up for the past five years. Each year we hope to be recognized for our efforts. We were extremely motivated by Wangari Maathai's story of the hummingbird. Our goal was to win one of the prizes awarded that day. We scouted the river banks in our kayak the night before and flagged several dumps along banks of the Chattahooche River. Next morning we set to work to see how much of it we could retrieve in four hours. Knowing what tools to pack was important, we could not have done it ourselves without the garden cart/ pruners/maddock etc. We uncovered a rusting hot water heater (this won the prize for most unusual) then we dug out three 55 gallon steel drums. All totaled between the two of us we brought in 530lbs of trash. We also won the award for most trash brought in that day! A group of 100 students only brought in 250lb! We learned with hard work and determination your wildest dreams can come true. Poison ivy was a small price to pay to learn this lesson. Our picture was taken with the mayor of Sandy Springs and we hope our article is accepted in the local newspaper.
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We ordered the tags from Monarch Watch and each family took some tags and tagged the monarchs individually and we also got together as a group and did the tagging. The purpose of this is for researchers at the University of Kansas to track the migration of the monarch Butterflies on their way to Mexico. The kids really enjoyed gently handling the butterflies as well as catching them. We learned the life cycle of these butterflies as well as that it is the fourth generation of these butterflies that migrate to Mexico. We talked about why it is important to have gardens available for these butterflies so that they have "food" to eat on their journey.
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We joined up with Spring Hill Roots & Shoots, an NCCC Americorps team and the Buddhist environmental group Earth Sangha to help remove invasive species from the Marie Butler Reserve park. We also did other habitat restoration tasks such as mulching and terracing with logs to prevent erosion. Our main goals were to remove various species of plants and trees that were encroaching a tract of forest within the park and hindering the growth of native species. We accomplished this goal by dividing into three groups--one group weeded, one group mulched and another group was doing miscellaneous tasks such as sawing tree limbs, placing logs on the hillside to terrace, carrying tarps of invasive plant material. From this volunteer event we not only learned about native flora and the effects that invasive species have on it, but also how working as a team can greatly enhance the productivity and achievement of a project. We definitely had a place for everyone who showed up, there was a lot of work to do and more to be done. However, with cooperation and dedication great things can get done! We also were able to learn about the other groups involved and their missions, allowing for cultural interaction and awareness. By the end of the day, we could already see the changes our work had made in improving the landscape, opening up space for native species to grow and flourish as well as the sweat on all our brows!
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The Davie chapter visited a local Pizza Fusion restaurant and learned how we can save and impact our environment while enjoying great pizza. Our crew of eight members (and moms) learned the importance of organics in this unique pizza business which uses only recyclable products - from potato starch utensils to cornstarch cups. Even the pizza boxes are recycled or can be returned to the store for a credit. We learned so much about how we can continue to help our planet. The group will be completing a monthly newsletter for their fifth grade classes to help others become educated on this topic as well as assisting a newly formed environmental club at school with their recycling efforts.
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Our group was contacted by Danielle Perry from Massachusetts. Her family was planning to spend six weeks in Alaska during late August/September. Upon the Perry's arrival, we discovered that they are homeschoolers, as are most of our group members. We spent all of September getting together for outdoor activities, building fairy houses in the woods, watching belugas, family dinners, meeting at parks and comparing Roots & Shoots activities and ideas. It was wonderful for our Alaska families to meet a Roots & Shoots family from another part of the country. We all came away from this fabulous experience with new friends and great new ideas for our group! Thanks to the Perry family for contacting us!
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The Roots and Shoots at Hillside school in Bridgewater, NJ held a day in which the community could volunteer to help clean up the gardens and natural area which belongs to Hillside. I, being a leader of Roots and Shoots thought it interesting if I volunteered, since I never have. I will tell you all something..I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to work up close and personal with nature. Also, I worked with one of my idols, Katrina Macht, leader of Hillside Roots and Shoots and a person who has done an expedition in the Panama Rainforest and in Africa, the countries of Kenya and Tanzania. Everyone worked hard, even my little brother and step-sister helped out. I felt honored and excited at all points in time. We cleaned up the Hillside trail and several other areas such as the "backyard" and the "courtyard". Over all, it was a valuable experience, one which I will never forget. I was even invited to be a leader in their environmental club and asked to be an animal host in their festival called "Forest Fest". I will be posting pictures today, or tomorrow at the latest. Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this project! Remember, animals rule! -David Couto
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We designed and constructed enrichment items for animals exhibited at the Dickerson Park Zoo and for those within the Education Collection. Providing enrichment is important to the well-being of zoo animals. So, we decided which animals to make the items for, then we had to research (with classroom books and zookeeper interviews) which animals can have what types of enrichment. Planning and problem solving was an important part of this project, because there are restrictions to the types of materials we can use for the animals due to safety. After the construction, which was mostly an all natural mixture of papier mache and other natural items, we painted the items with non-toxic paint. Then, according to recommendations from the zookeepers, we placed food items, treats, or scents in/on the items and gave to the animals. We then observed the interactions to determine if our enrichment item was successful.
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The Pioneer Roots and Shoots children planted four more trees in the school yard orchard that they started in 2006. The orchard now has 16 fruit trees. We hope to start seeing a lot of fruit in 2008. We hope to share the fruit with other students to provide fresh fruit at lunch. About 50% of our students are on a free lunch program at school and many do not have the opportunity to have fresh fruit everyday. We're trying to change that. We encourage our entire school to use the orchard as an outdoor classroom. We want other students to learn about the cycle of the fruit trees and what they need to grow best and it's a nice opportunity to explore healthy eating!
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Members made pinwheels with messages of peace and displayed them at our local library on Peace Day (5 days actually), we now are sending them to Unite in Peace to be sent and distributed to children in other parts of the world. We discussed peace and shared what makes us feel peaceful. We also learned a song about peace.
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We represented a local pet rescue organization at a community event. Our members handed out literature about the organization and pet care and sold raffle tickets to benefit the rescue. Our members felt good about helping this rescue, whom we have donated our time and funds to in the past. They were able to get out in the community and talk to people about it and about R & S.

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