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REI sponsored this event as part of an ongoing revegetation project at Papago Park in Phoenix. It was a cold morning, but we warmed up quickly digging holes for bushes, trees, and cacti, and planting them in the ground with a mixture of soil and manure, then fetching buckets of water for them. The park rangers were awesome to work with, and REI fed us lunch and gave us volunteer shirts. Seven year old Mikal said before the event: "What I really like about revegetation projects is not only that we get to help the environment, but it's DANGEROUS. We get to use tools, like picks, and work with cactus."
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Although President Franklin Roosevelt declared Pearl Harbor Day a day "that will live in infamy," we celebrated the common wish for peace of children in the US and Japan with a tour of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Before the tour, we read some history of this day in history, as well as a heartwarming news story entitled, "Japanese attackers, U.S. survivors of Pearl Harbor attack reconcile in Hawaii." The Garden is the product and shared cultural vision of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. The children/s favorite part was looking at the Koi fish that gathered when we were on a bridge. We also shared the 1,000 origami cranes, photos and letters from the R&S group in Kanagawa, Japan, where we sent 1,000 cranes for R&S International Day of Peace in September (see 9/14/06).
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Our group employed ways to make our holiday gifting easier on the environment and helpful to people and animals. We created reuable shopping bags from fabric remnants to give as gifts. Each bag had a tag that encouraged the recipient to make a difference in lessening the problems associated with plastic bags. We created art and sold it at a holiday art show to raise money for the Tchimpounga youth campaign, Heifer International and a local food pantry. We kept our gift giving handmade and simple and wrapped things in recycled or reusable wraps.
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In honor of our departing colleague, Sara Montag, Roots & Shoots at JGI planned and implemented a week long celebration, with a different arts and crafts activity for each day. The arts and crafts activities were primarily made with recycled or recyclable materials, such as reused paper "Eco-Snowflakes" and macaroni necklaces. Sara Week strengthened our sense of community and truly honored Sara's legacy.
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The children created holiday cards using recycled cards from years past that families gave to us instead of throwing away. The children cut out pictures and text and glued them onto recyled paper to create new cards. One of our leaders showed the children how to incorporate cut outs that were very clever. The cards will be distributed at a local Senior Citizens home.
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We made pinecone bird feeders using pinecones, peanut butter and wild bird seed. We tied a pice of twine on top of the pinecone with a loop for hanging. Then we rolled the pinecones in peanut butter to coat them. We rolled the pinecones in bird seed to cover the peanut butter. We hung the feeders on trees at our church property and in our yards. We made cereal garland using oat cereal in the shape of an O. We simply strung the cereal on string to make garland for the birds and squirrels to eat. We hung the garland outdoors on trees.
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Students "catch" faculty engaging in "green" acts such as turning off classroom lights, recycling, composting, carpooling and more. "Caught" faculty have their names entered into a drawing. Every two weeks a name is drawn. That teacher receives a certificate and small gift during assembly. Near the end of the year there is a special lunch for teachers who were selected.
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Students sold beaded jewelry made by women in Uganda. The jewelry was made available to us by the group BeadforLife. The jewelry is made from torn strips of magazine paper.
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We set up a Christmas Tree and ask that people bring in donations of warm mittens, gloves, hats and scarves. The children decorate the mitten tree with these items through-out the month of December. At the end of the month the items are donated to Title I Schools in Hillsboro, Oregon. The schools distribute the warm mittens, hats and such to children in need throughout the winter months.
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Our group solicited donations of travel size toiletries from church members. We assembled care kits consisting of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes, etc. These kits are being donated to Yolanda House, the domestic violence shelter of the YWCA in Portland, OR.

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