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Each class at Forest Grove Community School has their own shiny silver compost bucket. This is where our lunch waste goes (we have no lunch room, so we eat in our classrooms). We put apple cores, orange peels, and numerous other compost-able items in our compost buckets. When they are full, the waste is taken to a farm (by Donna, our secretary) to be fed to farm animals. Earlier in the year, we had a waste audit at our school and we found out that we needed to do a better job with our recycling. We also found that we needed to use more paper before putting it in the recycling. We just recently got into vermicomposting. In two of our classrooms, we have worm bins that "eat" our garbage, and then produce some great fertilizer. What they won't eat, we send off to the farm. We also hold "reusing, recycling, and composting" of the highest priority. Each classroom has a recycling bin that is emptied twice per week. Some classrooms also have a "reuse" paper bin- which is usually filled to the top. The reuse paper bin is exactly what it sounds like- it is a bin for paper that we've used, but isn't ready for the recycling. Many classroom have personal student mugs for water, in order to reduce paper cup and water bottle waste. After the paper in the reuse paper bin has been used to its fullest, it is ready for the recycling. We have plastic, aluminum, and paper recycling. We know that we need to do our part to help the environment, human community and animals by reusing, recycling, and composting!
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The kids chose to study Asian animals. We broke the continent into 5 subunits, and had many meetings between January and May for lessons on each. The kids wrote several reports that included their habitat, adaptations, predators and prey, threats and how to protect them. The kids made a presentation to their class, and participated in a "Kids Who Care Fair" at school. During the fair, they showcased all the projects they've done for Roots & Shoots, gave out tips on how kids can help save the environment, sold bookmarks that they made, journals from SriLanka, note cards from India, homemade cookies, posters and books. To culminate the unit, we are going to the Denver Zoo to visit all the animals we learned about.
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At the annual Whale Festival at Sycamore Cove in Malibu, CA, the Zumers were there to help support the youth in their education of how to help the different species of the beach. While younger members scouted around to answer the eco-friendly beach behavior questions in their provided booklets, the Zumers were there to award stamps for each correct question and to paint faces and sell reusable Roots & Shoots totes. Through the effort, we sold all our totes and were able to help the environment one less plastic grocery bag at a time!
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We created a display in our school lobby of objects (disposable diaper, glass bottle, leather belt, aluminum can, cotton sock, cardboard box, banana peel) and labeled each with the number of years it takes for the object to disappear in a landfill. The display includes a handout for students to guess how long it will take for each object to disappear in a landfill as well as information encouraging people to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We watched the National Geographic DVD "Human Footprint" and will follow the educational curriculum that is designed for educators to use with the DVD. It is a remarkable film that awakens one to the footprint one person leaves on the earth and motivates you to lessen the impact by making changes in your lifestyle to be more earth friendly.
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The goals of this project were to plant trees in Granada Hills Park, a park located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. An eagle scout was completing his certification and hosted an eagle scout group and several volunteers, led by TreePeople. By the end of the day, 25 trees had been planted, surrounding the park's border. The work was difficult, but was definitely worth it in the end after all the teamwork pulled together to solve problems, and once the final product was visible!
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Trees were planted to restore the burnt areas of Griffith Park, in Los Angeles. Volunteers worked together to plant trees on the difficult slopes of the park, and worked together to beautify the park, as it once was before the tragic Southern California brush fires which claimed so much land. By the end of the day, the previously burnt area had returned to its natural green color!
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The Y.E.S. Kids realize the importance of keeping our environment clean and have particpated in the International Coastal Clean-up as well as the 18th anniversary of Bay Days this year. Whenever we visit a local park or shoreline, we feel responsible for keeping it clean and take the time to pick up visable trash and debris. Knowing that they have the power to help drives the kids to want to do more, and hopefully it is a feeling they will carry on through the rest of their lives.
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After learning about Southwest Florida's five native owl species, visiting some at our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and learning what we could do to help, the Y.E.S. Kids built and painted 4 barn owl boxes to be hung around campus. Hopefully they will provide an excellent nesting spot for some wild owls in the area!
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Our goal for this project was to set up recycling bins in order to reduce the amount of trash that piles up in our town baseball fields. Our town's DPW donated six trash barrels, 3 we labeled plastic, for plastic bottles like water bottles, and 3 were labled cans for things like Coke cans that are sold at the snack bar. We also have a schedule of when certain people need to pick up the recyclables. To inform people we made posters. Usually we get bags full when we pick them up. Hopefully the amount of recyclables will increase, decreasing the amount of waste in the trash barrels. As more people in our community are aware of this project, hopefully we will have to be emptying the barrels more often becuase they will be so full.
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The Y.E.S. Kids spent many hours transforming an empty concrete pool on the Conservancy's campus, into a beautiful sustainable habitat. They transplanted native plants and caught native fish to fill the pond, and painted and decorated rocks to line the exterior to create a new environment for visitors to enjoy and native inhabitants to call home.

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