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We decorated tin cans and informed families at the center to give when they could spare change that could help an animal at the shelter survive a little longer by adopting animals during different months when we can raise money. A parent at the center suggested the idea and we went with it! Families do dig down deep and we have adopted three animals and look to do more! There are sometimes low periods and that is to be expected.
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On this day we met at the Phoenix Zoo (www.phoenixzoo.org) to enjoy the animals and the outdoor play spaces. Colette Eckard from Breaking Up Walls (www.breakingupwalls.org) met us there to talk about the "Under the Bridge" project. Under the Bridge will be an ongoing project for our R&S group through December. We'll be gathering items for care packages for a community of homeless youth who live under a bridge in downtown Phoenix. The care packages will be assembled in December inside pillowcases that we will decorate as well.
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We met for some summer fun and met at a splash park surrounded by mesquite trees. It was already a little late in the season, but we gathered some mesquite beans from the trees for the annual mesquite bean milling hosted by the Phoenix Permaculture Guild in November at the Ahwatukee Farmers' Market. It also was a perfect day for us to solar bake some nachos for a snack.
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Since September of 2006 through the present and to be continued through this year, our group has been volunteering once a month at Tara Rescue Farm in Coventry, CT. Tara Rescue Farm is a home for farm animals looking for a home, who have been abandoned, or are no longer able to be adopted. Such as pigs who have been abandoned, a horse that had lead paint painted onto it and cats with feline leukemia. There are also healthy animals: from horses to llamas to chickens and donkeys. Our group of kids ages four to 10 arrive once a month to help clean the manure out of the stalls, haul it to the manure pile away from the barns, set down fresh straw/sawdust and brush the horses and donkeys. The kids have learned that hard work is sometimes very dirty. Watching a six year old and an eight year old work together to maneuver a wheel barrow piled high with manure was a perfect example of the teamwork they have been learning. They have learned empathy for the animals unable to have any other home, how important it is to take good care of and to have gentleness for those under our responsibility.
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At two separate events celebrating both Earth Day and Global Youth Service Days, http://www.gysd.net/ we hosted "Pollution Solution" tables to give away reusable cotton shopping bags that kids could decorate. Whenever someone approached our table, we asked them to take an easy quiz that goes like this: When the cashier at the store asks you "paper or plastic?" what is the most environmentally friendly answer? Few people select the choice not offered: "Neither! Use a reusable bag." Our displays include a comparison of plastic versus paper disposable bags, photos of what happens to plastic bags after use and a map of the world identifying the many countries around the world that have taken action to reduce plastic bag consumption through bans, taxes and other public program. Our project was made possible by a State Farm Good Neighbor Service Learning Grant through Youth Service America. www.ysa.org
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On this day, we got a first look at the plot that will become our R&S garden, located within the larger Desert Open Space project at Superstition Farm (http://www.superstitionfarmtours.com/page/page/4298002.htm). Amid festivities including a farmers' market, garden workshops, hay rides, petting zoo and a children's theater performance, we hosted a booth to tell people about our project and to raise money for the garden by selling Jamba Juice. Some of our kids volunteered to help plant other parts of the Desert Open Space project. We look forward to more planting in the fall!
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This tour of the Herp Society (www.phoenixherp.com) was a repeat of our 2/8/07 event for folks who weren't able to make it the first time. We saw alligators, crocodiles, monitor lizards, bearded dragons, tortoises, turtles, gila monsters and snakes, all of which had been rescued from Arizona residents who were not caring for them properly. We fed the tortoises and learned why it is important not to take exotic animals as pets and not to touch any reptiles in the wild. It was great fun and very interesting to see so many different kinds of reptiles in one place!
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After taking the practice states tests, my teacher was going to throw away a whole huge pile of our practice tests. A classmate of mine decided that we should do something about it since we were in student council. We talked to our teachers and principal about starting a recycling program and got their support. I was so glad the day I made the announcement that kick started the program. This program will be continued for years to come!
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We had someone form Arizona Game and Fish do a wonderful presentation on bats and how they are important. We then built bat roosting boxes. The children really enjoyed the presentation which was really well done and loved building the boxes.
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The Pine Mountain Roots and Shoots Club children covered resuable bags from Albertson's with nature-themed fabric. We then had booths at the NatureFest in Frazier Park and the Lilac Festival (booth fee donated) in Pine Mountain, CA, selling the bags for $3.00 each. The children took turns at the booth telling people about recycling. The mothers of the children who participated obtained products donated by local merchants, and we filled 3 of the nicer bags and raffled them off at $2 a ticket. I have quite nice photos of the children doing this project if you would be interested. After the festivals, we printed thank-yous and printed certificates honoring the merchants. We raised $231.00 by this activity.

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