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High Tech Home School R&S collects glass, cardboard, paper, plastic, etc. on a daily basis. Once a week, all materials are sorted by R&S members (under the supervision of a grown-up), and taken to a recycling center. This is an ongoing group activity, and will continue indefinitely.
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For Earth Day, we decided to clean up a local trail. Earlier, some of our members had noticed that the trash cans at Escondido Falls in Malibu had been overflowing for months. I guess the park service just doesn't have time to empty them. We carried backpacks up the trail. It was about an hour and a half hike each way. It was fun; we had lots of stream crossings because it had just rained. We were able to carry out every bit of trash.
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We again helped the Park Service restore a local trailhead. We're making lots of progress, even though the area we're planting is huge. The ranger took us on a fun and informative hike before we started working. Then, we planted native plants, mulched, weeded, and watered. We'll do it again next month. I think Chelsea suggested that this could be our R&S tree project. Our local habitat is chaparral so we're mostly planting bushes and native grasses, though, not trees.
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Roots & Shoots Home-Schoolers collected books to donate to the Family Crisis Center. The FCC provides shelter and assistance to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. Several boxes of books for children, teens and adults were collected and delivered to the FCC. When R&S members delivered the books, they toured the counseling center and shelter to learn about the mission and needs of the FCC.
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During Holliston Elementary School's Sciencefest, we erected a booth with an arctic food chain game. We also sold raffle tickets to win a stuffed animal to raise money for the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign. Purchase of the stuffed animal (a "Shining Star" stuffed animal), also donated funds to the Children's Miracle Network. We also displayed information about global warming, Roots & Shoots and the Tchimpounga Youth Campaign.
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For our kickoff party, our group created 28 beautiful pieces of artwork to accompany the CD, "Well Wishes and Blessing, Kids in America to Iraq", which will be distributed for free to the children of Iraq. The children created pictures of peace, love and beauty, sometimes incorporating the Arabic word for "peace" or the peace symbol in their creations. We listened to the CD for inspiration during our project.
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Our group met at the park for snacks and we made bird feeders out of bagels, peanut butter and wild bird food. We stuck them in the trees and around the ground. Birds came out of every direction. Geese, crows, sparrows, and other creatures. Later, we waited for low tide and we cleaned up the edge of a canal. We pulled out an old bicycle and an office chair among other stuff!
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For Earth Day, teens from around the city united at Humboldt Park to give back to our environment. It was a day to mulch, pick up trash and talk about our religions and what our religions have to do with our Earth. Many teens of different faiths; Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Atheism all came to clean-up our environment. We all learned a lot about what each religion says about the human relationship with our world and talked about what we can do to help out. It was great fun, full of food, an art project, discussion and cleaning. I am hoping to do it again sometime.
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Our chapter hiked a local trail, picking up trash and sprinkling native wildflower seeds.
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Our Roots & Shoots group joined forces with the high school woodworking department and local businesses to create a sensory garden for the children at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility (VPF). We designed a structure that allows the children, who are confined to wheelchairs, to experience the beauty and therapeutic healing of nature. The elevated structure enables them to wheel underneath the plants while side window boxes can be removed and brought over to the children, allowing them to care for seedlings. Plexiglas windows let them observe the plant's roots growing through the soil. Understanding the children's varied disabilities, we knew the garden needed to appeal to the five senses. We chose plants with varied traits including the rustling of tall Switchgrass, sweet scent of Oswego Tea and velvet texture of Cinnamon Fern. To teach the children the role of native plants in attracting wildlife, all the plants used were native to New Jersey. We created a field guide with pictures and descriptions discussing general traits, appeal to the five senses and benefits to native wildlife of each plant. Club members visit frequently to help the children interact with the plants, use the field guide and do arts and crafts activities that provide wildlife with resources while decorating and personalizing the garden. The club organized a dedication ceremony for the garden with several speakers and installation of a plaque. We also arranged for the high school's orchestra to play a short piece for the children. Refreshments were supplied for the guests including the school administrators, CEO and co-owners of the VPF, the resident children and their nurses, newspaper reporters and all the students and teachers involved in the making of the sensory garden. Articles appearing in two local newspapers as well as a video of the ceremony played on the high school's television station made this a true community event.

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