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Over 70 people turned out for a Back to School Roots & Shoots Family Potluck on September 15. Food was varied and abundant including salads, main dishes and desserts. In the interests of helping to reduce waste, participants were asked to bring their own eating utensils. Other items were provided such as plates, napkins, and drinking cups and all were fully compostable. Table decorations included arrangements made from flowers and herbs picked from the school garden and placemats colored by the guests while seated at the tables. Families spent over 2 hours socializing and reconnecting and many remarked that we should do this every year because it was so much fun!
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Los Cerritos Elementary hosted its 3rd annual Peace Day Celebration. Students sang songs about peace, were visited by a giant Peace Dove adorned with Cambodian peace bells, and attended an assembly featuring Jane Goodall's hero, Washo Shadowhawk, and animals from Animal Planet. Also attending the festivities were school district dignitaries and parents. The event was sponsored in part by our local cable company, Charter Communications, and the Discovery Channel.
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The children gathered donations for the animal shelter and made cat nip toys out of old socks. Delivering the sock was the most fun!
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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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