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At our group's first meeting, we made simple pinecone bird feeders. First, we tied strings near the top of the pinecones (for hanging them outside), then spread creamy peanut butter around them, and lastly rolled the pine cones in birdseed. It was a fun craft that was easy enough for our younger members, incorporated nature appreciation, and made a tasty snack for backyard birds! Tip: You may want to spread out some wax paper to cover work surfaces before beginning.
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Kids danced several of the Sufi Dances of Universal Peace. Carol Schenker introduced us to the dances, told us the story behind each dance and then taught them to us. We finished with a craft which involved the entire group.
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Kids collected pennies and only pennies for simple educational materials for kids in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We first decorated reused canisters to collect the pennies. Then the kids went off and collected pennies through various means, including farmers markets, local fundraising activities, and friends/family. Thousands of pennies were donated through the Pennies 4 Peace group. This project was initiated by a 4 year old who wanted to help other kids have her favorite school supplies: pencils and paper.
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We sold fair trade chocolate bars from Endangered Species for $3 a bar. Each family took some bars home to sell. We also hosted a table at our local farmers market one Saturday. We collected enough to pay for the chocolate and two $50 adoptions of Irrawaddy dolphins through the World Wildlife Fund. One of our adoption kits came to our group and the other was donated to Toys for Tots right before the Christmas Holidays.
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Members organized an alternative gift fair event where people could donate to organizations in honor of loved ones for the holidays. Roots & Shoots members nominated non-profit organizations and presented them to the group, which then voted to fill in a matrix. They selected 6 organizations to have represented at the gift fair that worked for animals, the environment and people at the local and global level. They created announcements, fliers and card inserts. They also selected cards printed on recycled paper with soy ink that people could give as a gift with our school mascot (the grizzly bear) on them. They made signs for the tables that night and brought in candy as thank you gifts. The following were donated as a result of the event: 24 Mosquito nets to prevent malaria (Nothing But Nets), 15 dinners for families at the soup kitchen (Wadsworth Salvation Army), 28 Vaccinations for rescued kittens (One of A Kind Pets Rescue), 10 months' worth of food and medicine for an orphaned chimpanzee (JGI), 8,000 square feet of rainforest protected (CREA), 145 trees planted in a forest ecosystems damaged by wildfire (American Forests)
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Members are leading a campaign to get the spotted salamander named as Ohio's official state amphibian in order to raise awareness about wetland conservation. We are working with the Wetlands Education Team to get legislation passed in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives that would accomplish this. There is currently no state amphibian in Ohio. We started by having students at our school sign a petition to get the salmander bill introduced. Then R&S members sent postcards to Senate members asking them to support the bill. Four members traveled to our state capital (Columbus, OH) to testify in favor of the bill at a Senate hearing. Now we have involved all members of the school in writing postcards to every member of the House since the bill passed the Senate and has moved to the House. We are also involving other R&S groups across the state in the effort.
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Kids brought school supplies and blankets to send to kids in Iraq through the program Operation Iraqi Children. We collected enough for six school supply packets and for 4 blankets.
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For the past three school years we have collected empty computer printer ink cartridges at our school to recycle with the Staples Recycle for Education program. We have recycled almost 500 ink cartridges over the few years and have received funds that we used for other projects throughout the year.
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Members sell Smencils, smelly pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper, to raise funds for our projects throughout the year. They collect orders from friends and family members and then sell pencils to students at lunchtime in the school's atrium.
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Our Roots & Shoots club is very young (ages 5-10years, the average age is about 7), so they often team up with our older youth club to work with them on community service and fundraising projects. This also gives our older kids (Junior Eoclogists) a chance to mentor our younger kids. Our 3 goals for this project were: to provide the homeless children with some new items during the holidays, to give the kids a better understanding of what it means to be homeless, and for the kids to gain an appreciation for what they have. Beginning in November, the kids were given a goal to bring in 3 items per child to donate to our local PADS organization - an organization designed to help the homless in our area. We talked about what it means to be homeless and the things that the kids in our Roots & Shoots club have that they may take for granted. They were given a list of acceptable items to bring in (coloring books, puzzels, etc). By the middle of December we had $200 worth of donated items. The best part of the whole project was that we made some fliers to post around our nature center to encourage the public to help the Roots & Shoots kids with thier project - and it worked!

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