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Our group participated in the Great PA Clean-up Day. We cleaned five local parks and schools, collecting trash and litter along the way. We rewarded the kids afterwards for a job well done by getting them ice cream.
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We are supporting the international Roots & Shoots campaign for the creation of five new nurseries in Tanzania by planting trees locally. The goal is to raise $10,000 for Tanzania and plant 3,000 trees nationally. We have already started planting trees with the Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco. This summer we will work with Urban Releaf to plant in Oakland. Eventually, we hope to bring new trees to the urban areas of Fruitvale and Southwest Berkeley. Panda miti!
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September 21, 2006 was the first time this holiday was celebrated officially on campus. Together with the Peace and Conflicts Studies Department, we created a peace dove display and put on a program with guest speakers, music and a minute of silence to increase student awareness, promote a global ceasefire and celebrate international peace and nonviolence.
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This is a special week on campus where all the environmental organizations as well as local community groups and green businesses gather together to promote sustainability. In addition to student outreach, we had a public showing of "Ambassadors of the Ocean," a documentary on protecting sea turtles.
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Our main project for this semester has been running hands-on environmental classes for children. Previous topics covered include energy and water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, global climate change mitigation, endangered species and wildlife protection and environmental justice. We believe learning about these issues is not only interesting, but an essential part of early education because our children will be the leaders and decision-makers of the future. We hope to teach them sustainable habits and ideas at a young age and encourage innovation, thus empowering them to change the world by correcting the mistakes of the past. While we focus on the environment, we also cover topics concerning human communities and animals because the world is interconnected. Additionally, our after-school workshops provide the children in the underserved communities of Oakland Chinatown and southwest Berkeley with a safe after-school environment to play and learn. This is a long-term project that we will be continuing throughout summer and into next year, hopefully for many more years to come. 2 units of course credit is offered to our volunteers through the Education Department.
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Once a year, our campus hosts an open house for prospective students and the general public. Thousands of people visit and hundreds of organizations put on displays, lectures and performances. We participated by conducting public outreach with other environmental groups to showcase best practices in sustainability on campus. We also taught visitors to fold origami animals out of one-side clean paper and write empowering, positive messages on them. We later distributed the paper animals to patients at the Children's Hospital of Oakland.
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The second grade class at Friends Academy formed a Roots & Shoots group this year. After studying about Jane Goodall and then the rainforests, they decided that the endangered habitat of the chimpanzees needed to be saved. As a group, these children decided to raise money within their school by collecting otherwise unused items such as recyclable cans and bottles and pennies. They set a goal of $100 (USD) in one month of collecting. The children made many awareness posters and a poster to chart their progress. They created four levels of goals, one for each layer of the rainforest, ($10 = the forest floor, $25=the understory $50=canopy $100= emergent layer.) They gathered plastic bins and decorated them with rainforest pictures to collect cans and bottles in around the school. They also decorated a 5 gallon water bottle to gather pennies in. The children took turns collecting and cashing in the recyclables and counting the pennies. One child brought the poster to the Roots & Shoots event at Western Connecticut State University and presented the project o Jane Goodall. The children were very excited that Jane Goodall actually saw and touched their poster. The group has decided to repeat this successful project again.
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We had a Baluku Bash, a celebration of our guardianship of Baluku, the orphan chimpanzee in Ngamba Sanctuary, Uganda. No party would be complete without Baluku cupcakes, each decorated with a B. We talked about the sanctuary, and why chimpanzees need sanctuary care when they are orphaned. What a great accomplishment for the children, who saved their change in jars ("Change for Chimps" jars) for months to reach the $100 needed for the sponsorship.
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We made animal collages to enclose in our next package to our pen pal group in Tanzania, the Nyankanga School Roots & Shoots. We just recently received letters from them and our members are eager to do more correspondence. In keeping with the Tanzanian theme, we read "We All Went on Safari" (Barefoot Books) which teaches us to count to ten in Swahili. We learned a few extra words as well: "Vizuri sana!" or "Excellent" (lit. "Great rhino!") and "Habari rafiki" ("How are you, partner?").
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We organized a group fundraiser. It was called "Swim for Malaria". The children got sponsors and swam laps in the local pool to raise funds for malaria nets/planting of neem trees in the area of Tanzania where our partnership group lives (Musoma). My daughter, 7 years old, swam 32 laps in an Olympic length pool! We raised $62.00 for the cause.

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