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This year for Valentine's Day, we made pop-up cards for local elderly friends. Three members went to 2 local senior citizen homes. Here are some thoughts they share about their experience: "Almost everyday we made cards... when we told our Roots&Shoots group about it they wanted to get involved." Before we knew it, our box was full and it was Valentine's Day. We made arrangements with two local homes to deliver our cards during dinner time. We were excited and a little bit nervous until we gave out our first card to a nice little old lady. She was so excited! It was so much fun. It was obvious that these little cards were bringing much joy. We think we even saw a tear or two. Tears of joy. How proud we felt to know we all helped make this world a better place, even for a little while. We are inspired to make this an annual event. This was definitely a heartfelt Valentine's Day to remember.
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President's Day weekend 2007 Earthsavers Roots & Shoots participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count in conjunction with the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In our own backyards, members counted birds for 1-3 days at 15 min intervals and reported our findings to the GBBC website. This data was compiled throughout North America. The weekend before this event we attended an informational session at the Fanwood Nature Center and did some birdwatching and made biodegradable bird feeders.
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Our local homeschool, Mariposa County Independent Learning School, just started a journalism class last month. The children meet 2 hours a week and are having a great time writing. Their teacher was looking for other writing opportunities for the kids and happened upon a writing opportunity through the local S.P.C.A. The kids can go out to the shelter, take pictures of the animals and do a write up on each animal. The local newspaper will then print their reports free of charge (since it is an educational project) and hopefully save the dog or cat.
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We show videos about the fact that some African people cannot access clean and safe water.
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This is a great way for students of all ages to get to know Dr. Jane. Students conduct a lab research about Dr. Goodall (enhances technology skills) in order to learn about her and her work. They need to find at least three reputable web pages, read them, select information and write a reaction paper about what they learned. To complement the project, they participated in word searches and in the "Dr. Jane Game". After they create a big circle, each student needs to say a word related to Dr. Goodall's life and work (Ex. chimpanzees, Gombe, primatologist, etc.) but the third student in line or any other multiple of three needs to say "Beep" instead of saying a word. The winner received a prize and to conclude the project we had a movie day with pop corn and vegan cookies and watched the video "My Life with the Chimpanzees" produced by the National Geographic Society.
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Even though my students were already familiar with the R & S Program, we did this mini project in order to enhance the importance and relevancy of being members. Students conducted a computer research of the R & S web page and were asked to do the following activities: Interpret the R & S logo and create an alternative logo. (Enhances art skills) and Read the R & S poem created by Dr. Jane and create a new one considering the main goals of the program. The project ended with a presentation by Ms. Renee Gunther, Educational Regional Consultant, who came to visit our class.
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This project was created to raise awareness regarding recycling at school and home. Students conducted an Internet research to learn about the importance of favoring reusable items. They modified the "I Pledge to Pack" form and had the forms signed by family members and school classmates. Students also wrote personal letters to president Kikwete of Tanzania congratulating him for his environmentally responsible actions. They also had to create and present in class a biodegradable product. They could not use any product that already existed in the market. Their inventions were great: hair decorations made with plants, a Rose petals perfume and a lunch bag made with the comic section of a newspaper! We also conducted a "Campus Clean Up Day". Our campus looked clean and beautiful after the kids worked on it. To finalize the project, we welcomed Ms. Beki Quintero, Educational Specialist from Tucson Clean and Beautiful (City of Tucson) who taught us a lot about recycling practices and even taught us how to make our own paper!
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Students learned about the importance of saving water in Tucson and conservation policies. First, they conducted an Internet Research about the issue and made copies of practical handouts to later be distributed among their friends and family. We concluded this short but important project with a presentation by Mr. Joaquim Delgado, representative of Tucson Water (our local water company). The kids had a fantastic time working with the simulators brought to class by Mr. Delgado and learned a lot about water conservation. He also presented them with a kit that they can easily use at home to prevent leaks. Finally they worked on a "Home Water Saving Makeover" worksheet in which they look at an average household in Tucson and had to perform a Water Saving Makeover ( For example, identify watering times for desert trees, use of hoses, dishwashing practices, etc.)
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Students learned about the importance of trees in our community and to appreciate them as living entities. They conducted Internet research and learned about the Trees for Tucson program, a program of Tucson Clean and Beautiful. We had a class discussion about the program and they were asked to create an alternative logo for the Trees for Tucson program. Mr. Doug Kopponger, representative from Trees for Tucson, a local program to encourage people to plant trees, came for an interesting slide presentation. We learned a lot about trees that grow in the Arizona desert and the best way to conserve water while keeping they alive in our front and backyards. We watched Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" during movie day. After that, in groups of two, students had to select a native tree to the desert and create and present in class a power point Fact File Chart. We ended this project by planting a nice tree on our school grounds! The kids worked hard and have already created schedules to water it twice a week. It was very satisfying to plant a tree that we will see grow in the future!
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When Dry Creek Roots and Shoots was offered the opportunity to meet with Dr. Dharini, we decided to organize a Sea Turtle Day. 30 homeschoolers met to talk with Dr. Dharini, watch her inspiring presentation on her efforts with the Olive Ridleys, and make sea turtle crafts. Dr. Dharini took home some new craft ideas and we left with a desire to learn more about the Pacific leatherbacks which migrate nearby. We have since learned that on April 6, 2007 the Pacific Fisheries Management Council will vote on whether to recommend that the National Marine Fisheries Services rollback current protective measures and issue an exempted fishing permit (EFP) that would allow swordfish longline fishing along the U.S. west coast and put endangered leatherback sea turtles at risk. With the help of the CA Roots & Shoots office we have now started a campaign to create origami sea turtles and send them with letters to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service urging them to continue the ban on longline fishing along the U.S.West Coast.

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