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Our group met at the park for snacks and we made bird feeders out of bagels, peanut butter and wild bird food. We stuck them in the trees and around the ground. Birds came out of every direction. Geese, crows, sparrows, and other creatures. Later, we waited for low tide and we cleaned up the edge of a canal. We pulled out an old bicycle and an office chair among other stuff!
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For Earth Day, teens from around the city united at Humboldt Park to give back to our environment. It was a day to mulch, pick up trash and talk about our religions and what our religions have to do with our Earth. Many teens of different faiths; Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Atheism all came to clean-up our environment. We all learned a lot about what each religion says about the human relationship with our world and talked about what we can do to help out. It was great fun, full of food, an art project, discussion and cleaning. I am hoping to do it again sometime.
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Our chapter hiked a local trail, picking up trash and sprinkling native wildflower seeds.
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Our Roots & Shoots group joined forces with the high school woodworking department and local businesses to create a sensory garden for the children at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility (VPF). We designed a structure that allows the children, who are confined to wheelchairs, to experience the beauty and therapeutic healing of nature. The elevated structure enables them to wheel underneath the plants while side window boxes can be removed and brought over to the children, allowing them to care for seedlings. Plexiglas windows let them observe the plant's roots growing through the soil. Understanding the children's varied disabilities, we knew the garden needed to appeal to the five senses. We chose plants with varied traits including the rustling of tall Switchgrass, sweet scent of Oswego Tea and velvet texture of Cinnamon Fern. To teach the children the role of native plants in attracting wildlife, all the plants used were native to New Jersey. We created a field guide with pictures and descriptions discussing general traits, appeal to the five senses and benefits to native wildlife of each plant. Club members visit frequently to help the children interact with the plants, use the field guide and do arts and crafts activities that provide wildlife with resources while decorating and personalizing the garden. The club organized a dedication ceremony for the garden with several speakers and installation of a plaque. We also arranged for the high school's orchestra to play a short piece for the children. Refreshments were supplied for the guests including the school administrators, CEO and co-owners of the VPF, the resident children and their nurses, newspaper reporters and all the students and teachers involved in the making of the sensory garden. Articles appearing in two local newspapers as well as a video of the ceremony played on the high school's television station made this a true community event.
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During the week of St. Patrick's Day in 2006 and 2007 our club raised money for the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign by making video announcements each day to our student body. We used video clips about the bushmeat trade from Jane's Return to Gombe film and fact collected off the internet. We had a table at both lunches each day for 5 days where we sold custom made (by R&S kids) Lucky Chimp bracelets, Lucky Chimp green necklaces with shamrocks on them and Lucky Chimp stickers. We also had a daily raffle for a stuffed chimp toy and a "guess how many banana candies are in the jar" game. Last spring we donated $1000.00 and this spring we donated $600. Lucky Chimp week is now an annual school wide project.
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Each year for 3 years we have built Barn Owl nest boxes to provide nest spaces for local Barn Owls. Many of them lost their nesting sites in the San Diego wildfires in 2003. By attracting Barn Owls to your property you can utilize integrated pest management as a way to alleviate the use of pesticides to rid your yard of rodents and gophers. Barn Owls eat 100 rodents each year and will return to the same nest box every nesting season. We got nest box building directions from some people in Central CA who use them successfully on the farms and we acquired a video that teaches about Barn Owl nesting habits. We sell our boxes for $45.00 each.
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Our group just completed a fundraiser for the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign! We asked local business for donations to create a gift basket for us to raffle at the earth day festival at our university. We received about $200 worth of items for our basket! These included a ceramic monkey cookie jar, fresh organic fruit, organic chocolate, natural and organic body products, a journal and a few gift certificates among other small things. We set up a table with the basket and lots of brochures about Roots & Shoots. Tickets were either $1/ticket or $5/6 tickets. By the end of the day, we ended up making $107!! We are so excited to be able to give this money to help the orphaned chimps!
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Our Growing Green Group participated in our regional Step It Up event by educating others about the Forest Ethics Campaigns to stop clear cutting in the Sierra Forest in Nevada and California that is being done by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) as well as the catalog eviction campaign to call companies who are printing thousands of catalogs on virgin paper from The Boreal Forest in Canada. We also handed out Shopping Guides from the NRDC showing consumers which paper products to buy that are made with recycled paper content.
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To create a section of the playground that will provide an opportunity for other students to connect to Nature. It is desired to plant butterfly plants, a shade tree and purchase Nature play equipment from Dimensions Foundation to enhance exposure to the natural world at Lantana Elementary
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Our group attended Central Veterinary Associates in Valley Stream New York on April 15, 2007. CVA is a 24 hour animal hospital. Dr. Charos taught our group about x-rays, reptiles, they cleaned cages, fed the animals in the exotic ward and bathed two dogs. Dr. Charos removed stitches from a bearded dragon and taught us the importance of dental care in domestic animals. We had a ton of fun. When we finished the staff treated us to pizza!! We plan on doing this again in other animal hospitals and shelters.

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