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We volunteered at a local wildlife refuge. After an tour through the clinic we washed dishes, cages, laundry and made enrichment. Enrichment consisted of putting peanut butter, jam, monkey chow, cherrios or other desirable items in a box with a lid, and plastic eggs, which are a challenge to open. Afterwards we were taken on a tour of the facility. We learned what a bad idea it is to have wild animals for pets and what happens to them once they become too large or dangerous to care for. While learning about the monkeys we were able to make their lives a little more interesting with the enrichment we made for them.
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We provided a home-cooked meal to approximately 40 people staying at the Ronald McDonald House. These people have a child admitted to a local hospital. We made a Mexican style meal, brought the food, served it and cleaned up afterwards.
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We held New Braunfel's first Peace Day Gathering. We invited members of our community to give messages, songs and poems of peace. We also made 2 giant peace doves. The actual ceremony had messages from the following religious & cultural traditions: Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, Buddhist, Islamic, pagan & Native American. We also read a children's story about peace, and poems & songs in German, English and Spanish.
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We requested old linens, dog & cat food and litter donations from our community. We set up drop boxes at three local businesses and asked our local paper and radio station to help us get the word out. We collected over 20 trash bags full of linens and many bags of food & litter. We dropped off the donations, then helped socialize the cats and brought homemade treats for the dogs.
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We volunteered at a local nature center to help improve an environmentally sensitive area. Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive species in this area and we spent the morning removing it. The center came up with the community service idea. We coupled it with a glass bottom boat ride and tour through their aquarium. Our members were amazed to see how the honeysuckle was literally strangling the native trees. We removed a lot and the area we worked in looked so much better than when we'd begun. There were jobs for children of all ages and they worked together in teams to pull it up by the roots and carry large bins to a truck.
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We've had three tree planting projects. The first was at a children's shelter. We taught them about the value of trees, planted 3 they could care for and made pinecone bird feeders together. The second project was at an adult day care center here in town. Three trees were planted here by our members with the assistance of several senior friends that spend their days at the center. The third was a tree that was planted as a memorial at a local senior housing project. Several of our members helped the family and a local preschool plant the tree and taught them how to care for it.
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The Columbia R&S groups at Gibson Island Country School, and the group in the town of Columbia each planted 100 tree seeds. The 100 trees at the school will be divided among students and visitors who will attend our Roots & Shoots Fair in April. Students are excited to get sponsors for our school trees once they are big enough to plant so that we can support the Panda Miti Program. The children are palnning this part of the program now. The 100 trees in Columbia are planted in honor of peace. We learned about Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai and planted these 100 seeds in the hope that Professor Maathai's country will soon find a peaceful resolution to their current problems. The tree seeds were purchased from the Arbor Day Foundation for $13.00 per 100 seeds. We are growing thornless honey locust seeds. The cost of the seeds was donated. The students are keeping a journal of how the trees are growing and they are learning about the importance of trees for the world, and our local community. This is a long term project. We will continue to care for the trees for at least one year. All members are very excited as they watch the trees grow.
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The student leaders in the Gibson Island Country School group wanted to begin a project aimed at helping Senior Citizens this year. We found an announcement in the newspaper that Meals on Wheels, a group that delivers daily meals to seniors, would like someone to volunteer to help. The group thought of making cards to have delivered with the meals on holidays. The group discussed the important seniors in their lives and what kinds of good feelings and memories they had about them. The group read books about senior citizens and then made cards. Materials were donated by parents, and the group made about 150 cards for Valentine's Day. They will make cards again for Easter, St Patrick's Day and other holidays throughout the year.
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What were your main goals? Our main goal was to inspire other students within our school to make a difference by recylcing! What did you do to achieve those goals? We first read the book "Dinosaurs to the Rescue, A Guide to Protecting Our Planet " by Laurie and Marc Brown. What did you learn from doing this project? We learned that there are many ways that we can make a difference, even if it is one person at a time! How did you come up with this project idea? My students love dinosaurs. So, we read the book, "Dinosaurs to the Rescue, A Guide to Protecting Our Planet " by Laurie and Marc Brown. We decided as a class that it would be neat to make posters with dinosaurs telling others about the importance of protecting the planet. Why was this project inspiring? This project was inspiring because my students are between 6-8 years old and they are so passionate about making a difference. For them, this project enabled them to be able to communicate their platform to others. For me, it was amazing to see the teamwork and to have them come up with ideas of what they wanted to do independently. What were the results or outcomes of the project? The outcome was a giant 6 poster quilt that united all 6 platforms into one piece. It now hangs outside of our classroom for the student body to see.
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We have been marking storm drains for the town and also involving other groups in the town to encourage them to help with storm drain marking and to learn about storm drain water.

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