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Collecting pennies is for the birds

June 02, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- They collected nearly 200,000 pennies from piggy banks, parents and parking lots, and, on Tuesday, students at Hooverville Elementary School were rewarded with the National Audubon Society's first-ever "BioBash."

The elementary school's contribution of $1,915 to the "Pennies for the Planet" campaign earned it recognition as raising more than any other school involved. Donations support Atlantic puffins on the islands of Maine, preservation of the Four Holes Swamp in South Carolina and research of sagebrush in Wyoming.

"It showed that everyone working even a little bit can do something big," said Taryn Martinez, an Audubon spokeswoman.

The BioBash provided opportunities for children to participate in workshops about the environment. Included were ZooAmerica birds native to Pennsylvania.

"We saw birds," said Jackilyn Baer, 9.

"There were hawks and a couple owls," said Keirsten Rotz, 9.

"We mostly learned about the habitats and different owls. My favorite bird I saw today was the smallest one," said Mallory Augustine, 10, adding that she enjoyed making a bird feeder from one of more than 300 milk cartons saved by the school.


"The best part was when we were making bird holders," said Brianna Shriner, 9.

Jake Atkinson, 11, said his favorite bird is a peregrine falcon, while his friend Evan Hine, 10, prefers the great horned owl. The boys expressed surprise over how much good could be accomplished by collecting coins.

"All around the school, there are pennies people drop," Jake said.

One of the day's activities was a scavenger hunt. Observations from that activity were included in nature journals children made using recycled paper.

"We had to find things that are round and striped," said Lindsey Frey, 8.

Students also stepped into the roles of predators like disease, pollution and animals in a game resembling tag.

"This game is fun. It's outside and we're getting exercise," added John Horst, 10.

John was scheduled to read a nature poem in front of the entire school during an afternoon assembly.

"I'm nervous and excited at the same time," he said.

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