Exploring Our Water, Our World at Children’s Museum Night

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Southern Hancock families enjoyed going with the flow at Children’s Museum Night, Feb. 3 in the Zion Lutheran Gym, sponsored by Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Programs. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis traveled to New Palestine, bringing hands-on activities, conservation information and lots of fun facts, including the fact that we use 360 million gallons of water a day in the United States!
During the activities, families learned about the different properties of water, watersheds and how pollution affects the water supply; they made water cycle bracelets, participated in a low-flow shower demonstration, watched water filtration in action, and created oil-and-water drawings.
Children’s Museum Night kicked off the year’s activities at Hancock County’s only Outdoor Education Center! Support STEM and environmental education in Hancock County and receive a membership kit TODAY for your child to “Change the World!”
Don’t miss out on your chance to plant the seeds of innovative education opportunities for New Palestine area children – Join Dani’s Dreams Team and become a yearly member for as little as $25 per individual or $50 for everyone in your household! Each child who joins Dani’s Dreams team will receive a membership certificate, wristband, a seasonal e-newsmat and admission to all Dani’s Dreams events during the year.

Businesses can sponsor Dani’s Dreams environmental education lessons for a Southern Hancock or Zion Lutheran classroom for $100!

Call 317-640-4430 or email dgriffins96@gmail.com for marketing, promotional and sponsorship opportunities for your business with Dani’s Dreams community facilities and events!

Join Dani’s Dreams Team Today! Celebrate “Our Water, Our World” at Children’s Museum Night Feb. 3

Dani's Dream Museum Night Flyer

Southern Hancock Families – join Dani’s Dreams at Zion Lutheran School Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m. for the annual Children’s Museum Night with hands-on family activities focusing on “Our Water, Our World.”

Children’s Museum Night marks the beginning of a special year at Hancock County’s ONLY Outdoor Education Center, which is “Spreading Our Wings” to Sugar Creek Township Park and to Southern Hancock Schools with ECOFEST lessons and projects.

We are also kicking off our first annual MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN! Don’t miss out on your chance to plant the seeds of innovative education opportunities for New Palestine area children – Join Dani’s Dreams Team and become a yearly member for as little as $25 per individual or $50 for everyone in your household! Each child who joins Dani’s Dreams team will receive a membership certificate, wristband, a seasonal e-newsmat and admission to all Dani’s Dreams events during the year.

Businesses can sponsor Dani’s Dreams environmental education lessons for a Southern Hancock or Zion Lutheran classroom for $100!

Call 317-640-4430 or email dgriffins96@gmail.com for marketing, promotional and sponsorship opportunities for your business with Dani’s Dreams community facilities and events!

 

 

Stepping up to the challenge…

 

Click here to join the Dani’s Dreams Team and be a part of innovative education activities for our children. Your membership fees support area students and classroom teachers in their quest to think outside the classroom and “Change the World!”

Come to ECOFEST, “Spread Your Wings” and enjoy the fun family activities, crafts and snacks on April 15, 4-5:30 at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School.

 

 

Dani’s Dreams Changes the World in 2015…

The seeds of Dani’s Dreams, planted more than eight years ago, have been carefully and lovingly tended by family, friends, Zion Lutheran Church and School and the Southern Hancock community. With your support, Dani’s Dreams is “Spreading Our Wings” and empowering young people of all ages to create, explore and discover! Join Dani’s Dreams team by volunteering – come to the Jan. 22 “Sharing Meeting” to find out how.

Our membership campaign begins Feb. 3, 2016 with the Children’s Museum Night at the Zion Lutheran School gym. More information to come.

Take a look back at 2015 and how our kids change the world every day…

1. Spreading our wings – Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Trail at Sugar Creek Park

Dani’s DreamDSC_0226s Outdoor Education Center is joining forces with the Sugar Creek Township Park Board, New Palestine High School teacher Brittany Bennett and her AP Environmental Science class and Donna Rogler, Indiana DNR Project Learning Tree specialist, to develop a second education trail/activities for Southern Hancock students, teachers, families and community members, to be named, Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education
Trail at Sugar Creek Park.
NPHS AP environmental science (APES) students under the direction of Ms. Bennett will research, write and design signage as well as plan and lead activities for the trail. Ms. Rogler will provide curriculum, training and activities through Project Learning Tree.
Initial plans were announced Nov. 4 at the Dani’s Dreams Family Tree Day event at Sugar Creek Park.
“The trail would have an overall theme of sustainability and should be a place the whole community can enjoy at any time to learn about the nature around them,” said Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center director Donna Griffin.
Dani’s Dreams has been working with New Palestine High’s APES students on the plan for
the trail.DSC_0216

Four stations are under development, focusing on:

Sustainability
Native trees/plants
Wildlife
Water/Hoosier Riverwatch.

 

2. Family Tree Day at Sugar Creek Park – Celebrating Our Common Ground

DSC_0217New Palestine High School AP environmental science students shared the beauty of fall and innovative plans for outdoor education at Family Tree Day at Sugar Creek Park Wednesday, Nov. 4, 4-5:30 p.m. They led community members of all ages in fun, outdoor education activities unveiled plans for “Our Common Ground.” Contact Donna Griffin at dgriffins96@gmail.com for more information. Stay connected here and the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Facebook Page for more details.

 

3. Zion Lutheran School Second Graders take the lead with Butterflies UPCLOSE!

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They flitted, they flew, and they soared – Monarchs and kids alike – at the Butterflies UPCLOSE event at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School. More than 100 kids, parents and butterflies celebrated the joy of nature and God’s creation, led by teacher Brenda Kreutz and her second graders who were the tour guides for the butterfly house. The 14 students spent the last six weeks learning about the life cycle of a Monarch by growing close to 30-40 caterpillars, observing and recording the process in reports they shared with those in attendance. They worked with Betty Bemis of Backyard Butterflies who provided the caterpillars and her expert advice. The New Palestine community joined forces to support this innovative STEM educational event for area children. Willing Hands Entertainment provided face painting, New Palestine High School environmental education students and teacher Brittany Bennett helped with Monarch tagging and event organization. Dani’s Dreams thanks all those who attended for making the day so special and being active participants in creating, exploring and discovering!

 

4. We’re racing to Change the World in Southern Hancock County!

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The Southern Hancock Community showed up in force Aug. 1 to “Change the World!” at the eighth annual Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run at New Palestine High School. Nearly 150 walkers/runners of all ages took to the track/course, and more than $2,800 was raised to support Dani’s Dreams events.
Thanks to all those who attended and supported Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center, including our sponsors, Noll Landscape Group, Inc., Hillcrest Tree Farm – Randy Caster, Team Image Screenprint and Embroidery, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans – DeLane W. Sayler, Dr. Sharon Paluga – New Palestine Gentle Dentist, K&K Fence, McDonald’s of New Palestine, Greenfield Walmart, Mama Nita’s Pizza, Auto Air and Heating, Dr. Colleen Pool Family Dentistry, C.D.’s Music Factory, Rose Ivy, LLC; Hancock Family Physicians – New Palestine Family Medicine, Backyard Butterflies and Frady’s Lawn & Landscape; our race participant groups: NP Sole Sisters, the NPHS Girls Soccer Team, the NPHS Volleyball Team, members of Zion Lutheran Church and School and Dani Griffin’s family.
The 2015 winner of the Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run was Rick Sica with a time of 18:55. The women’s winner was Grace Voelz with a time of 22:00. T-shirt design contest winners were honored at a pre-race ceremony: Kate Taylor, first place; Katie McKinley, second place and Paige Taylor, third place. 

 

5. Benton Turner 2015 Scholarship Winner

The 2015 Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Memorial Scholarship winner is Benton Turner, 2015 graduate and valedictorian of Lutheran High School, but he was not chosen for his impressive academic accomplishments, but for the power and passion that drives him in his future career path.

Benton, the son of Tracy and James Turner, Greenfield received an Indiana Core 40 Academic Honors Diploma. At Lutheran High School, he was involved in the Academic Super Bowl, Spell Bowl, National Honor Society, Indiana State House Ambassador, varsity golf, Voice of Democracy State Finalist, United States Senate Youth Program State Finalist, Spanish Club and Student Council.

He worked in the community for Zion Lutheran Church and School, of which he is a member, and as special projects coordinator at The Sharing Place of Greater Indianapolis. He will attend DePauw University and major in biology.

 

6. Grandkids, grandparents step up to the Earth Day Challenge at Dani’s Dreams!

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We’re all looking to “Change the World”…the funny thing is we don’t realize that every day our actions, big and small make a difference in our families’ lives, our schools, our jobs and our communities.

Kids are often told they are too young, that they must wait to “change the world.” But at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center kids are changing the world every day – by learning, by growing and by caring about God’s great creation.

At Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Challenge April 17, children teamed up with their grandparents to make crafts, take a “How well do you know me?” quiz, plant bulbs and had old-fashioned fun with bubbles, made paper airplanes and shared a Frosty Boy ice cream treat. Every child who attended the challenge received a prize – a “Change the World” wristband!

In celebration of Earth Day, families also learned how their home can be a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and about the importance of sustainability in protecting the planet.

 

7. 2015 began with “Flight Adventures” at Children’s Museum Night

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For the fifth year, Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center sponsored family activities for Southern Hancock children by bringing the Children’s Museum to Zion Lutheran School Feb. 11, 6-8 p.m.
Special activities and exhibits allowed students to discover the physics of flight. Families worked together to create a model aircraft, test flight dynamics, and explore air using a wind tunnel.

This event kicked off the year’s activities for Dani’s Dreams…and Changed the World in 2015!

Taking care of ‘Our Common Ground’ – Dani’s Dreams coming to Sugar Creek Park

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Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center is joining forces with the Sugar Creek Township Park Board, New Palestine High School teacher Brittany Bennett and her AP Environmental Science class and Donna Rogler, Indiana DNR Project Learning Tree specialist, to develop a second education trail/activities for Southern Hancock students, teachers, families and community members, to be named, Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Trail at Sugar Creek Park.

NPHS AP environmental science (APES) students under the direction of Ms. Bennett will research, write and design signage as well as plan and lead activities for the trail. Ms. Rogler will provide curriculum, training and activities through Project Learning Tree.
Initial plans were announced Nov. 4 at the Dani’s Dreams Family Tree Day event at Sugar Creek Park (photo gallery above).

“The trail would have an overall theme of sustainability and should be a place the whole community can enjoy at any time to learn about the nature around them,” said Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center director Donna Griffin.

Dani’s Dreams has been working with New Palestine High’s APES students on the plan for the trail. Four stations are under development, focusing on:

Sustainability
Native trees/plants
Wildlife
Water/Hoosier Riverwatch.

Bennett and her students will be the leaders for the development and implementation of the trail, integrating their work into the APES curriculum and Dani’s Dreams mission to encourage and support teachers in use of creativity in the classroom, to foster an interest in science and discovery with projects designed to develop an appreciation, responsibility and concern for the natural world.

“Dani’s Dreams Nature Education Trail at Sugar Creek Township Park will build the next generation of committed invested citizens of New Palestine,” Griffin said. “This will empower the youth in this community to be leaders in their community and school and active participants in their education. The education value of this project is more than doubled with high school students teaching and mentoring elementary and middle school students and sharing their knowledge with the community.”

Community businesses, organizations, families and individuals who want to be involved in this innovative STEM education project, can contact Donna Griffin, dgriffins96@gmail.com or Brittany Bennett, brittanybennett@cscshc.org.

“Community-based environmental education can also support opportunities for intergenerational learning. With these kinds of approaches, community residents from young to old can learn from each other.” – National Environmental Education Foundation Environmental Literacy Report, 2015.

 

 

Join Dani’s Dreams for ‘Tree’-mendous fun today at Sugar Creek Park!

Take a nature walk, learn about trees and get creative – share the beauty of fall and the wonderful weather (while it lasts) today at Sugar Creek Park.

Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center invites all New Palestine families to Family Tree Day at Sugar Creek Park today, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 4-5:30 p.m. Join us for fun, outdoor education activities for all ages and be a part of the plans for “Our Common Ground.” Contact Donna Griffin at dgriffins96@gmail.com for more information. Stay tuned to http://www.danidreamsoutdooredcenter.com and the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Facebook Page for more details.

 

photosynthesis_1

PHOTOSYNTHESIS: Carbon Dioxide + Water + Light —-> Sugar + Oxygen

Dani’s Dreams reporter Anna Caster, Zion Lutheran student, gives you the fun facts about our towering tree friends:
By Anna Caster
Trees are very beautiful! There are many kinds of trees, such as Norway Spruce, White Pine, Juniper, Tulip Poplar, Maple and Cherry. Trees are useful for many different things in many different ways, such as shade, protection and shelter for animals, paper and wood products, and many other things.
Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Humans are the exact opposite, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Trees are helpful in making gum, picnic tables, cutting boards, doors, and trees help keep the soil on the ground from having erosion. Trees are wonderful plants that God made for the enjoyment of humans and animals.
Trees can do so many different things in so many different ways. I love trees and you should too!

See what Dani’s Dreams is growing at Sugar Creek Park!

family tree day at Sugar CreekAll New Palestine families are invited to Family Tree Day at Sugar Creek Park this Wednesday, 4-5:30 p.m. Join us for fun, outdoor education activities and be a part of the plans for “Our Common Ground.” Contact Donna Griffin at dgriffins96@gmail.com for more information. Stay tuned to http://www.danidreamsoutdooredcenter.com and the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Facebook Page for more details.

Come to NP McDonald’s Wed. Oct. 28, 5-8 p.m. for treats, not tricks!

mcdonaldsnightflyer

This Wednesday is Dani’s Dreams Night at the New Palestine McDonald’s, 5-8 p.m. Join us for T-shirt giveaways at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 and test your nature knowledge with our newsmat! There will also be a special reading of “The Adventures of Ralph Sean Green”. Enjoy a fun, family dinner and help Dani’s Dreams plant the seeds of science and STEM education in Southern Hancock County. We need your support to make it happen!

Monarch Migration Update

Listen to a first-hand account of the upcoming Monarch Migration from a local girl, Estela, who lives in Angangueo, Mexico. Keep track by checking back on Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center’s website in the coming weeks!

More about Monarchs and their amazing migration…

By Christina Harkleroad, coordinator,

Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center

Drawing by Victoria Miano, second grade, Zion Lutheran School

With Monarch Migration reaching a peak, and the success of our recent Butterflies UPCLOSE event, this week in our Dani’s Dream Outdoor Education column, we will be exploring butterflies. How do they live? What do they eat? How are they born? All these questions and more will be answered.

Monarch butterflies are found all across America. Monarchs spend their winter months in Mexico, but during the summer, they fly to America and even Canada. They can fly thousands of miles to make it to their summer homes. Not sure what monarch butterflies look like? They have black and orange wings and usually have a wing span of 3 ½- 4 inches. Their bodies are black and they have 2 black antennas on their heads. Males have a large black spot on their hind wings and females do not. Monarchs normally eat flower nectar for food. Milkweed flowers, clovers, thistles, goldenrods, ironweed, and sunflowers are all popular foods for monarchs.

SCAN0023

Drawing by Lillian Buist, second grade, Zion Lutheran School

Unfortunately, monarchs have a short life-span and live between 3-5 weeks on average. Because their lifespan is short, they must have multiple generations during the summer. By the end of the summer, the last generation must fly to Mexico for their over-wintering period. Monarchs flying north in the spring to the United States will find a mate. As they reach the U.S., the females will look for milkweed to lay their eggs. They eggs hatch after approximately 4 days and over a 2 week period, the caterpillars grow. Once they grow large enough, the caterpillars create a chrysalis or a cocoon and being the process of metamorphosis. The chrysalis is green with yellow spots and it provides protection for the caterpillar. After 2 more weeks, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. This process continues until it is time for the butterflies to fly back to Mexico.

Right now the Monarchs are just heading into Texas and a few are crossing the border into Mexico. Track this year’s migration on Monarch Watch.

For a fun story to read and learn more about the Monarch Life Cycle, click on “The Adventures of Ralph Sean Green” on our home page.

In the next column, we will be exploring ways other countries are becoming environmentally-friendly.

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