Change the World at Dani’s Dreams!

1useDSC_0496Set up a recycling bin at your house…turn off lights that you are not using…find out about your world and share that with others – each action will Change the World!

Enter the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center’s annual T-shirt design and essay contest.
The theme for this year’s event is “Change The World” and all Hancock County classrooms, Scout and youth groups are invited to environmental educational activities and crafts at Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Dedication Event April 17, 3:30-5 p.m. located at Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine.

There are now TWO WAYS for you to show your talents.

1. DRAW A PICTURE using the theme for the front of T-shirts. Your drawing could bring Dani’s Dreams to life on T-shirts for the eighth annual memorial walk/run Aug. 1. If your picture is chosen, you will receive a free T-shirt and $50 and your name will be on every shirt. You will be introduced Aug. 1 at the beginning of the walk/run at New Palestine High School.

2. WRITE AN ESSAY based on the theme “Change the World!” Entries from all ages will be accepted. The winner will receive a free T-shirt and $25. Money raised at this event will go to fund the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center, open to all students in Hancock County.
Turn in your drawing or essay to your teacher by April 10 or bring it to Dani’s Dreams April 17, 3:30-5.
Entries will be picked up at each school April 10 or they can be dropped off at Zion Lutheran School. The best of the T-shirt designs and essays will be on display for voting during the Earth Day Dedication Event at Dani’s Dream Outdoor Education Center April 17 3:30-5 p.m. Keep up with all the Dani’s Dreams news at Email for more information.Here’s the entry form for the T-shirt design and essay contest:

Dani’s Dreams Scholarship open to 2015 seniors in Hancock County

The first recipient of the Dani's Dreams Scholarship, Anna Lewer, won the women's division in the 2013 Dani's Dreams Memorial Walk/Run. Lewer graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

The first recipient of the Dani’s Dreams Scholarship, Anna Lewer, won the women’s division in the 2013 Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run. Lewer graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

The Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Memorial Fund Committee of Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine announces its annual college scholarship.
For the eighth year, The Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Scholarship will award a $500 one-year scholarship to a high school senior with a 3.0 grade point average or above who attended Zion Lutheran School (in any grade, preschool through eighth) or is a confirmed Zion Lutheran Church member or is a Southern Hancock resident and plans to attend a university and major in education or the sciences.
Deadline is April 17, 2015. The winner will be announced in early May and will also be recognized at the Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 1.
Please contact Committee Chairperson Donna Griffin at 640-4430 or email for more information.
Applications are available in area high school guidance offices, at Zion Lutheran School or can be obtained by emailing or downloading this PDF file:
scholarship app

Dani’s Dreams takes students on ‘Flight Adventures’

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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…get ready to Change the World in 2015!

Dani’s Dreams is the only outdoor education center in Hancock County – if you would like to be involved through financial support or volunteering, email or call 317-640-4430.

Ready for Takeoff?

childrensmuseumflyer2015Flight Adventures

Fly away with us on a flight adventure! Discover the physics of flight, create your own model aircraft, test flight dynamics, and explore air using a wind tunnel.

These are a few of the activities for families at Children’s Museum Night at Zion Lutheran School, sponsored by Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center.

Join us Feb. 11, 6-8 p.m. – concessions will be available by the Zion PTL.

Empowering kids for the future…


In its eighth year, Dani’s Dreams will be providing students throughout Hancock County the chance to “Change the World.” The center’s mission is to empower kids to take responsibility for the environment and its creatures through innovative programs, projects and events. We can tailor your visit and/or your classroom, troop or group project to your educational needs. Support Dani’s Dreams through donations and sponsorships of events and projects. Our membership campaign will begin soon – look for ways you can join Dani’s Dreams Team!

Here are some more highlights from 2014:


useDSC_0247Girl Scouts ‘dig’ Dani’s Dreams adventure

Girl Scout Troop 1134 from St. Michael’s School in Greenfield took a whirlwind tour of Dani’s Dreams in Oct. 21, learning about local birds and their songs, checking out the fossils and then going on their own archaeological dig for authentic fossils of their own. Troop 1134 leaders are Maura Hutchinson and Stephanie Capen.






Dani’s Dreams Kids Share Tree Knowledge

useDSC_0173Trees top the list of wonderful parts of God’s creation and Oct. 14, nearly 30 Southern Hancock students explored the wide variety of trees at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center. Randy Caster, owner of Hillcrest Tree Farm explained that trees are really the first solar energy machine, taking in sun, water and carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen and sugar for the tree’s food.


photosynthesis_1PHOTOSYNTHESIS: Carbon Dioxide + Water + Light —- Sugar + Oxygen

Students divided into groups, and went on a tree exploration, compiling reports on how trees help humans and animals.

Thanks to Mr. Caster, each student took home their own Norway Spruce tree seedling for fall planting!

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.

Sam Adam, Audra Bloomer, Bailey Bonham, Danielle Taylor, Lucas Day, Alexandra Miano

Sam Adam, Audra Bloomer, Bailey Bonham, Danielle Taylor, Lucas Day, Alexandra Miano

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! Get a tree today! The best place to get any kind of tree is Hillcrest Tree Farm.


Dig It A Day of Discovery at Dani’s Dreams

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It was boys versus girls Sept. 23 when kids grabbed their tools and headed for an expedition in the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center’s archaeological dig to find authentic fossils that are hundreds of years old. The children also filed their reports, identified the fossils they uncovered, and created informational booklets on dinosaurs for future Dani’s Dreams visitors.


10425357_10205306225160421_9167101570285832916_n“Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana” benefits Dani’s Dreams

Dani’s Dreams Director, Donna Griffin reached a long-held dream in October when her children’s book, “The Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana” was published. Griffin shared and signed the book during a McDonald’s Fundraising Night in New Palestine with proceeds going to support Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education’s Center’s mission to support innovation and STEM education in and outside of the classroom.


Expanding Our Reach….


With innovative environmental education events and activities, more children than ever took advantage of the chance to make a difference in the world around them at Dani’s Dreams in 2014. Girl Scouts, daycare kids and elementary, middle and high school students and teachers created, learned and discovered during Dani’s Dreams events, sharing their knowledge with others on Dani’s Dreams website, Facebook page and in video reports, stories and posters.


How does Dani’s Dreams gardens grow?

useIMG_5510Quite well, thanks to Zion Lutheran Daycare children who provided the necessary TLC through planting, watering and weeding throughout the growing season. Dani’s Dreams provides children with hands-on learning experiences while developing responsibility and appreciation for the environment.







useDSCN7271VBS Weird Animals

Dani’s Dreams brought Weird Animals activities and a Family Educational Presentation to Zion Lutheran Vacation Bible School in June 2014. Students planted and took their seeds home to “Watch ‘Em Grow!” and made tree badges with their names or pictures and words that showed how they can take care of God’s world.


useDSC_0626Ooey, gooey Ooblick!

Zion Lutheran students took a moment to get in the goo at the Dani’s Dreams table during registration in August 2014. Donations to Dani’s Dreams makes learning moments like this possible. Dani’s Dreams will design a unique learning opportunity for your class, preschool, Scout Troop, daycare or other community group. Email or call 317-640-4430.


Our walk/run is all about growing dreams…

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Dani’s Dreams is all about the little things – seeds, children and moments that remind us all what’s really important. Our run walk is unique – we really do have the “coolest T-shirts on the planet”, designed for the eighth year by a Zion Lutheran student, Audrey Poole, but the walk/run day is a family celebration as well as an athletic event. We’re celebrating how one person’s life and dreams can continue to have a positive impact even after she leaves this earthly world. Children learn how truly powerful they are and what they can accomplish – whether it’s running around the track just one more time, and crossing the finish line with their great grandfather, seeing hundreds of people wearing your design, knowing your drawing is on the door of an educational facility, and above all, discovering and appreciating your small role in God’s awesome creation.

We so grateful for the opportunity to share Dani’s Dreams with the Zion Lutheran Church and School she loved so much and all of the support over these last eight years. We really believe we are just beginning to take root, and are so grateful for the New Palestine community who supported Dani’s Dreams through either signing up and attending the Run/Walk, or donating and volunteering. Thanks to all who signed up and came to walk, to run (even a few feet) to enjoy and to celebrate seeing children reach their dreams!


Remembering Our Roots in the moments of 2014

Celebrating our roots both in our family and nature, allowed Dani’s Dreams to strengthen its mission and expand its reach in 2014 throughout Hancock County, in both big and little moments.

useDSC_0807Hancock County families found the real treasure by shaking off the winter doldrums Feb. 26, 2014 at Children’s Museum Night, sponsored by Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School’s gymnasium. The evening included free, educational and entertaining activities designed for families to learn and interact together when the Children Museum’s, National Geographic’s “Treasures of the Earth” came to New Palestine. Zion’s PTL  provided concessions for sale.

Children and their families:

•Examined and identified authentic tools in an archeologist’s pack;

•Assembled a take-home science experiment to observe and learn about what happens to metal objects in saltwater environments;

•Created their own “Terra Cotta Warriors” in Emperor Qin’s tomb

•This entertaining and educational science program kicked off the year’s activities at Hancock County’s only outdoor education center.


Discovery, learning, growing and hands-on activities were the order of the day at the sixth annual Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Dedication Event April 10 at the outdoor education useDSC_0149center at Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine.

The warmest day of the year so far was prime time for children and their parents and grandparents to enjoy several outdoor activities and each other’s company, including a Nature Detective hunt, where children gathered information on butterflies, birds, dinosaurs, weather and photosynthesis. All winning names were placed in a random drawing for an I Spy birdhouse. The Day family won the birdhouse!

All kids took home Mini Greenhouses with dirt and seeds to “Watch ‘Em Grow!”


troop 924 members with endangered animal postersDani’s Dreams partnered with Hancock County Girl Scout Troop 924 for a special Badge Day event May 18. The Junior Troop of Megan Brinley, Lyssie Davenport, Alaina Davis, Lyndsay Diefenderfer, Cassie Moch and Sarah Warner earned their Animal Habitat badge and the Brownie Troop members Sarah Stonerock and Lilly Warner completed the requirements for Bird and Bug badges.

Cassie Moch reported about parrots in the rainforest:

“It is important so there is more animals around and to save them. Kids can help by doing research about the animals and what can help them.”

Lyssie Davenport reported on endangered animals in the Amazon, specifically the scarlet macaw:

“This is important because we need these animals in the eco-system or more animals will go extinct. Kids can help by spreading the word. Sometimes the only things that adults listen to are children.”

Sarah Stonerock found out that the ladybug is found all over the world. It can play dead when it is threatened. Its favorite thing to eat is aphids.


Audrey Poole of Zion Lutheran School won Dani’s Dreams county-wide T-shirt design contest with her drawing that became the design for the “coolest T-shirt on the planet.” Audrey’s design was the favorite of those attending the Earth Day Dedication Event April 10. Katie Taylor was the second place winner and Eli Boyd’s design took third place.

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Dani’s Dreams Scholarship Winner Sees Science at Work

Bryce Kleiman, New Palestine High School graduate, is the 2014 winner of the Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Scholarship.

The son of Marcy and Brian Kleiman, Bryce will attend Purdue University in the fall to major in Ag Systems Management with an eye to continue in the family business.

“We raise boer goats, but I also show pigs and sheep. You may not think that there is a lot of science that goes into raising livestock, but you would be wrong,” Kleiman said in his scholarship essay. “You have to know the workings of genetics. . . The animals are just like humans; they need their nutrition to keep them in good health. That is science at work and that is why I have chosen it for my future.”

Bryce is the seventh recipient of the Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Memorial Scholarship. He attended Zion Lutheran School for 10 years. Donations to Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center will help support Bryce and other ambitious, focused, intelligent young people to reach their dreams. Look for opportunities to be a part of Dani’s Dreams team in the coming weeks!

Cold Never Bothers Them Anyway…

RANA SYLVATICAFrom National Geographic:
It’s the ultimate deep freeze: Wood frogs in Alaska have set a record for cold endurance, staying as frozen as your microwave dinner for nearly seven months, a new study says.

Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks discovered that the amphibians survived all those months being chilled to an average temperature of 6°F (-14.6°C), including temperatures as low as 0°F (-18°C).
Find out more HERE!

Girl Scouts ‘dig’ Dani’s Dreams adventure

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Girl Scout Troop 1134 from St. Michael’s School in Greenfield took a whirlwind tour of Dani’s Dreams in Oct. 21, learning about local birds and their songs, checking out the fossils and then going on their own archaeological dig for authentic fossils of their own. Troop 1134 leaders are Maura Hutchinson and Stephanie Capen.

A one-of-a-kind Indiana Christmas gift!



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