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Our Kindergarten class wanted to share the important message that we need to take care of our environment today so that we will have it tomorrow. This message was presented by bringing "The Great Kapok Tree" written by Lynn Cherry, to life in the form of a play. The children became the animals in the rain forest and they convinced the man who came to chop down the great Kapok to stop. About 110 people saw the play which was free.
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The Jr. BKS Explorers' Club (with Nancy Barron & Kathryn MacElroy) is an after school program for Kindergarten children. The students work in cooperative groups and participate in peer learning. The Kindergarten students plant bulbs outside their classroom windows in the fall and watch with anticipation for their appearance in the spring. The children use age appropriate gardening tools to rake up leaves and pick up trash in the school's yard. Kindergarten students realize that they can make a difference in the world as they learn about environmental issues in their neighborhood. The children visit the Trailside Museum to observe injured indigenous animals.
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The children in each Kindergarten class adopted a child and purchased age appropriate toys and books to be placed in a stocking. The stockings were given to ALTRUSA, an international organization, for distribution to the children. Filling Christmas stockings helped Quincy's neediest children.
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Fourth Grade Students in the BKS Explorers' Club Projects Goals: 1) Become environmental caretakers of sailors' Home Pond 2) Observe animal adaptation at the pond 3) Remove trash from the Pond 4) Rake the leaves around the pond and outside the fenced in area 5) Monitor the health of the pond by maintaining a web site showing the pH levels of the pond since 2003 and 6) Visit the Trailside Museum for a presentation about animal adaptations
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We made flyers and put them in neighborhood mail boxes to warn people that if they use rat or mouse poison, they may be accidentally harming pets and wildlife because when poisoned rodents are eaten, the poison can also harm or kill the animals or bird that eats them. One of our dogs almost died because of this.
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We helped the Park Service restore a local trail head. This is an ongoing project. We removed nonnative mustard and planted and mulched native plants. We're very proud of the progress we've made, and we hope a fire doesn't destroy our efforts. We will water the plants through the summer because of the drought, and resume planting in the fall.
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Ph.D. candidate chemistry students from the Center for Green Chemistry at UMass/Lowell visited Mrs Toscano's class and did a green chemistry project with one of the classes. The topic was "Why dilution is not the solution to pollution," and it demonstrated why diluting salty water does not remove the salt. Even when you can't detect the salt, it is still there. They emphasized that even minute quantities of toxins are bad, so diluting them does not remove them from the environment but in fact can spread then to impact more areas. Some of the children were impressed to learn that our graduate students are in 20th grade!
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Environmental habitat study is our ongoing project. The teachers have incorporated environmental lessons into class and our Roots & Shoots lessons have included: discussing elements of habitats (food, shelter, and water plus a place to raise young) then drawing elements and creating murals; exploring a composting worm bin, including digging around to see what was happening and learning about decomposition; exploring the school yard to determine what elements of habitat we have there for food, shelter, and water and assessing our schoolyard habitat to register it with the National Wildlife Federation. Our lessons about native endangered turtles focused on their habitat needs.
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Earth Savers met at the park to discuss the pros and cons of using paper vs plastic bags to bring home shopping items. We then discussed how much better it is for the Earth to reusable cloth bags. Each participant brought their own canvas bag(s) and we colored them with regular crayons. Participants were given instructions on how to make their designs permanent by ironing them with parchment paper when they returned home. We also signed "pledge to pack" forms, agreeing to bring our own bags with us to the store.
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During the week of May 13, Earth Savers invited our members to once again try to go without electricity and/or other forms of energy for one day. We met on May 22 and discussed our experiences. This was our second energy-free week and many members found it more difficult to participate this time around because of our busy schedules this spring. Some people were able to commit to parts of the day instead of the whole day and others made the project an energy awareness week, discussing differences that can be made on a daily basis to decrease energy dependence. Those that were not able to participate in any capacity discussed their difficulties and got suggestions from other members on how to make it happen next time. Again, it was an eye-opening experience to really take stock of our dependence on energy in our daily lives.

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