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Our group made small holiday crafts and will bring them with to the area nursing home when we carol next month. The craft becomes the bridge to start a conversation when the singing is done.
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We collected shoes at the end of the school year and took them to Runners Roost. Then they were sent to the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program. The shoes are used to make tennis courts and athletic fields instead of ending up in a landfill. The kids had a great time encouraging classmates to bring in their smelly torn up shoes.
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Kids decorated cardboard boxes for each classroom to collect paper that was normally thrown in the trash. This project ran from March 2006-May 2006. We collected on average 35-40 pounds of paper each week. We went on a recycling tour at Waste Management to see what types of things can be made from recycled items. Each week we delivered the paper to a Waste Management recycling bin.
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We explored our local river as part of World Water Monitoring Day. We took a water sample and performed various tests including dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and turbidity. We also sampled for benthic macro-invertebrates which was quite exciting. By looking at the results of the water tests and the creatures we found, we were able to discuss the health of the river at our sample location and talk about things that influence the river's health.
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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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