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April 12, 2011 > Pennies for the Planet engages students in conservation

Pennies for the Planet engages students in conservation

Submitted By Elizabeth Sorrell

Pennies for the Planet, a National Audubon Society education program, empowers students of all ages to make a difference in the world, while also educating them on a variety of environmental topics. Students collect pennies and other change to be split even between three conservation projects. This year the funds collected from now through August 2011 will be divided equally to: protect river habitat in Nebraska, increase butterfly habitats in Arizona, and help birds in Mississippi affected by the oil spill.

The school that raises the most funds will be awarded a grand prize. Last year, the highest donation came from Columbia Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia, which raised nearly 77,000 pennies. For their contribution, the school was the recipient of an Audubon BioBash, an assembly of environmental fun and learning.

Pennies for the Planet is a powerful tool for motivating kids of all ages to learn about and become engaged in protecting biodiversity. Kids not only learn more about conservation, but also directly help protect it by raising funds and conducting environmental projects in their own communities. By teaching young people about threatened ecosystems and wildlife, Pennies for the Planet strives to connect young people and families with the environment and provide ideas about how they can help protect it.

"It is vital that we give children everywhere the chance to get involved in conservation-and to see how their actions can really make a difference to conserve our wild species and spaces," said Audubon President David Yarnold. "Pennies for the Planet links environmental education with environmental action, which we hope starts young people on a lifelong journey toward environmental stewardship."

Nearly $55,000 has been raised through Audubon's Pennies for the Planet in the past two years. Over the last decade, in conjunction with several other environmental organizations, Pennies for the Planet has helped tens of thousands of young people nationwide raise thousands of dollars to support species and habitat conservation.

Pennies for the Planet materials, including a full color poster and educators guide, a newsletter for kids, and a participation form with incentives and awards are available for download from www.penniesfortheplanet.org for classroom or at-home use.

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