Sunday, March 8, 2009

Save the Rain Forest!

I'm excited that our school is starting our Adopt-an-Acre campaign which is run by the Earth Foundation. I've worked with this project for almost 10 years, and it's so gratifying to be able to teach my students about the rain forest and offer them a chance to make a difference. The Earth Foundation heads up a huge project involving thousands of schools across the United States. They provide educational materials to teachers such as lesson plans and DVD's that explain why the rain forest is so important.

The Earth Foundation's main focus is raising money to save acres of rain forest through the sale of t-shirts and other items. The t-shirts are high quality and have wonderful designs, so they're very easy to sell. (See the sample design above.) One acre of rain forest is saved for every ten shirts sold. At the end of the year, they take the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are raised and use it to buy a tract of land in an endangered rain forest. This year the Earth Foundation is working with Conservation International to save the rain forests of Madagascar.

One exciting aspect of the project is the fact schools that save 100 acres or more can send one teacher to the rain forest for free! Last year our school met this goal, and one of our teachers was randomly selected to take the trip. It was a 10-day trip to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, and she said it was a fabulous trip! I know we can do as well this year, and I would love to be the one chosen to take the trip. However, there are 6 other teachers on my grade level who are also heavily involved in the project so we will just have to wait and see. :-)

This year I decided to set up a web page of resources on my site to help other teachers who might want to participate. On that page I explain how our school was able to sell 1175 shirts and save 117.5 acres last year. We were third in the nation in sales, and it was our first year participating! You will find all the letters and forms that we are using, along with some tips for success. Click on the link to visit my Rain Forest Resource page.

I hope other educators will decide to get involved with this project. Sales are down this year due to the economy, and the Earth Foundation needs to sell a certain number of shirts in order to purchase land in Madagascar AND get started with the project again next year. They have been involved in this campaign for almost 20 years, so it would be a shame if their good work came to an end this year. If you are interested, just call Kellie at the Earth Foundation (1-800-5MONKEY) and ask her to send you a kit to help you get started. It contains teaching materials, DVD's, and sample t-shirts. Tell her you heard about it from me!