Category Archives: Go Green Discovery Center

WATCH US GROW! – Sign up now for Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run

This is your chance to make a difference in your community and grow environmental education in Hancock County! Sign up for the fifth annual Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run Aug. 4, 8 a.m. at New Palestine High School. The event benefits the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion and the construction of our Go Green Discovery Center that will focus on environmental education for grades preschool through 8 in Hancock County – with a community garden, greenhouse, interactive exhibits and experiments in solar and wind energy.
To sign up, download a form from the link below and mail it to Zion Lutheran Church and School, 6513 W. 300S, New Palestine, IN 46163. Forms are also on the Dani’s Dreams Facebook Page.
5K/1 Mile Family Walk
Register for the 5K walk/run or 1-mile family walk that begins 8 a.m. Aug. 4 at NPHS and receive a cool commemorative T-shirt with this year’s theme, “Watch Us Grow.” The winning shirt is designed by Zion Lutheran student Katie Taylor.
Registration for the 5K Run/Fitness Walk is only $20 Individual and $30 family. Pre-registration includes a specially-designed commemorative T-shirt; No T-shirts guaranteed for race day registration. Family registration includes 2 T-shirts. Pre-registration ends July 31.
Registration after 7/31 and on race day is $25 individual; $35 family.

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NEW! Come to the Go Green Center’s Open House/Music Festival Aug. 4, 12-2 at Dani’s Dreams for a music festival from Zion youth, tours, crafts, snacks, demonstrations and a preview for teachers of the ways Dani’s Dreams can enhance hands-on science education.
If you would like to perform at the music festival or help in any way, contact Donna Griffin, 640-4430 or email

The Go Green Center is Growing – Check It Out!

Watch our Go Green Center Grow and enjoy exhibits, music, demonstrations, snacks and crafts from 12-2 at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center following the Memorial Walk/Run at 8 a.m. that morning at New Palestine High School. Find out about solar and wind energy, how to protect our planet and what you can do to make a difference in your world!
If you have a band or are a musician and would like to perform for the Dani’s Dreams Open House and Music Festival Aug. 4, 12-2, email
Thanks to Dave Griffin, Austin Pope, Mike Dirr, Randy and Mark Caster, the Go Green Center is taking shape and will soon be under roof (see more pictures on the “Watch Us Grow!” page) – anyone who would like to help or donate materials, email
Teachers, Scout leaders, preschools and community groups come to the Go Green Open House Aug. 4 and see how Dani’s Dreams can help you with hands-on science education for this fall!

Check it Out – What’s Growing in the Community Garden?

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Despite drought and hot sun, the plants in Dani’s Dreams Community Garden are thriving thanks to TLC from volunteers, including Don and Pat Adam, Kara and Katie Morris, David Griffin and Courtney Sloan who weeded and watered recently. Broccoli was ready for the picking, cucumbers and a small pepper are gaining in size and zuchini and cauliflower plants are budding. Green bean plants, grown from seeds by Noah Finchum, are shooting up.
More seeds were planted for a bountiful fall harvest, including a sunflower garden and a Dani’s Dreams pumpkin patch for mid-October.
Check out the Community Garden page for the progress and come to Dani’s Dreams new Discovery Center opening August 4!

Top 10 Tips to Save Energy and Money This Summer

By John Chu, a Senior Communications Specialist at the Department of Energy, from the Energy Savers Blog:

June 20 marked the first day of summer, and for many of us that means trips to the beach, outdoor concerts, and cool drinks. Summer is also a great season to save energy and money in your home. Here are some tips to get you started:

Lighting makes up about 10% of home electricity costs. You can save up to 80% of that energy by simply replacing your traditional incandescents with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). They will also last you for years after the summer is gone, saving money on replacements.

Another good reason to switch to energy efficient lighting choices is that it can lower your cooling costs. Only 10% of the energy from traditional bulbs is used for light—the rest is wasted as heat. By using CFLs and LEDs that give off less heat, you can reduce your need for air conditioning and save money.

If you plan to remodel your home, take advantage of the longer, sunnier days with daylighting. You can bring more sunlight in your home by upgrading to today’s highly energy-efficient windows and reduce the need for artificial lighting (and electricity!)

Another way to take advantage of the prolonged sunshine is to install outdoor solar lighting. They are easy to install, virtually maintenance free, and provide free electricity.

Switch to a high-efficiency air conditioner—you can reduce your energy use by 20% – 50% and save money.

Install a cool roof for your home. Cool roofs are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat—reducing your energy bills by decreasing cooling needs. For more on selecting cool roofs, read this guidance from our EERE Building Technologies program.

You can reduce your cooling costs with landscape shading. Planting trees, shrubs, and plants around your home strategically can reduce heat radiation and cool the air before it reaches your home’s walls and windows.

If you have a swimming pool, you can reduce your heating bills by installing a high efficiency or solar pool heater or using a pool cover. Read more about solar pool heating.

Enjoy the summer wind, get exercise, and save money by walking or biking to work instead of driving your car. If you have to drive, check out these tips to reduce the amount of gas you use.

By properly insulating and air sealing your home, you can reduce your air conditioning costs by keeping more of the cooling in your home. Read more about insulation and air sealing.

What other tips do you have for saving energy and money in the summer?

Please share them and watch for the opening of Dani’s Dreams Go Green Center Aug. 4!

Vote for Dani’s Dreams!

Dear Family, Friends and Friends of Friends – basically anyone within shouting distance – Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center needs your help! We are a finalist for a 2K Solar Renewable Energy System for our Go Green Discovery Center under construction. This would be a fantastic way to teach thousands of kids in Hancock County and surrounding areas about alternative energy and taking care of their world.
FIRST log on to WIBC’s Innovation in Action page
SEARCH for Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center
Only one vote per email but you can register and vote twice if you have more than one email.
VOTING ENDS JUNE 27 – PLEASE spread the word to your friends. We’re up against some big organizations but we’re the only ones in New Palestine:)
Thanks so much!!!

Watch ‘Em Grow Winners!

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Five Southern Hancock students’ creative talents will be on display this year in the fifth annual Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 4 at New Palestine High School.
Katie Taylor, a fourth grader at Zion Lutheran School is the winner of the T-shirt design contest. Taylor’s design will be featured on T-shirts for the event. Second place goes to LeeAnn James, a fifth grader at Sugar Creek Elementary and third place winner is Sarah Maynard, a third grader at Sugar Creek.
Their designs are featured online and will be used in walk/run brochures and on posters for the event.
Essay contest winners are Ireland Crabtree, a second grader at Zion Lutheran School and Drake Shadle, a first grader at New Palestine Elementary.
Check out their winning essays:
By Ireland Crabtree,Second rade,
Zion Lutheran School

We could plant some trees in a park or two. I would help grow gardens in my neighborhood. Instead of riding in a car, you could ride your bike or you could walk. We could grow a vegetable garden and give some food to a food pantry. You need to ride your bike because you don’t need to use gas. We should plant trees because it takes in carbon dioxide. I could have a neighborhood clean up. Reuse old shoes instead of buying new ones. Also you can reuse old backpacks too. We can recycle old cans, bottles and paper.

By Drake Shadle, First Grade,
New Palestine Elementary

I can can help my community grow by picking up trash. Trash can harm animals. Animals can also eat trash and get sick.
I can also help my community grow by recycling. Recycling is important because it saves trees. Let me explain how. We cut down trees for paper. If we throw away paper, that will waste trees.
Giving can also help my community grow. People can donate food to soup kitchens That way people with no food or money could have food.

Following the fifth annual Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run, the new Go Green Discovery Center will be opened. Donate $100 and your name will be listed on the dedication plaque at the center. Email for more information.
Send your donation to: Dani’s Dreams
Outdoor Education Center at
Zion Lutheran School
6513 W. 300 S.
New Palestine, IN 46163

Come Grow With Us!

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Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center hosted a special thank-you event for Zion Lutheran School students April 19. Hedgehog Hannah brought her educational exotic animal show to the school. Students got an up-close view of a tarantula, ferret, chinchilla and more and learned about their habitats and lifestyles. Dani’s Dreams can design an experience for your class or group in our seven learning centers. Email
Mrs. Deb Weiler’s class at Sugar Creek Elementary received a special delivery April 19: a worm farm for the composting station they will create. The class received a Go Green Grant from Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center and will establish the composting station at the center.
Come, Watch ‘Em Grow and participate in nature in action at Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Dedication Event May 5, 12-2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran School, 6513 W. 300 S, New Palestine.
Join the student-led demonstrations, Be a Dani’s Dreams Nature Detective and win a prize, create crafts, plant flowers and vegetables in the Community Garden and get a sneak preview of the plans and the site for the Go Green Discovery Center to be powered by solar and wind energy and that will feature interactive exhibits on environmental and conservation education.
The winner of the Watch ‘Em Grow Seed Starting contest will be revealed, and vote on drawings for the T-Shirt design contest for the Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run Aug. 4.
Be a part of Dani’s Dreams Team! Dani’s Dreams is open to all classes, Scout Troops and community groups for tours, special events and projects at no charge. Log onto to or email for more information.

Hancock County Students and Teachers: Think Outside the Classroom!

Construction of the Go Green Discovery Center at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center will begin in spring 2012. But before then, area students have a chance to make a difference in a variety of ways:
• Design The Facility: High School students can submit architectural/design plans to or mail to: 6513 W. 300S, New Palestine, IN 46163.
Here are the specifications:
Go Green Center Specifications
The entries will be judged by local professionals and Dani’s Dreams Committee members. Deadline is March 1. The winner will be announced in March and will have recognition in news releases and publicity for the Go Green Center and with a plaque in the facility to be unveiled at the dedication August 4, 2012.

•Be a Dani’s Dreams Ambassador: High school students/cadet teachers:
Volunteer as a tour guide or visit classrooms and create and conduct classroom presentations.

• Hancock County teachers can sign up their students as reporters and anchors for Dani’s Dreams TV, conducting research and compiling multimedia reports on environmental issues answering the questions “What Can I Do?” “How is It Made?” and “How Does It Work?”. The reports will be shown on a solar-powered TV in the Discovery Center and on this website.

•Be a designer/graphic artist: Every aspect of the Outdoor Education Center will be explained inside and outside with signs explaining the irrigation system, solar and wind power, identifying plants and trees.
Inside the Go Green Center will be interactive solar and wind energy experiments – powered by solar/wind energy and rotating exhibits on seed growth (germination), farming, ecology, water conservation, soil erosion and photosynthesis explanation and displays written and designed by Hancock County journalism/desktop publishing students.

EMAIL Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Director Donna Griffin at or call her at 317-640-4430 for more information or to schedule a presentation to your school district, Chamber of Commerce or organization.

The Go Green Discovery Center is a 2011 Recipient of a Community Development Grant from the Hancock County Community Foundation and is also sponsored by the Hancock County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Hancock County Community Foundation Grant gives Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center a ‘Go Green’ light

Alyse Vail, program director of the Hancock County Community Foundation presents Donna Griffin, director of Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education with the check that will start construction of a Go Green Discovery Center focusing on alternative energy and conservation education. Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Committee Members and Zion Lutheran Church and School officials were on hand for the presenation. Pictured are: (from left) Zion Lutheran School Principal Kristie Sombke, David R. Griffin, Dave Griffin, Courtney Sloan, Debi Adam, Darcy Finchum, Alyse Vail, Katie Morris, Don Adam, Dawn Morris, Donna Griffin, Pat Adam, Donnie Adam, Kelsey Pope, Pastor Jason Taylor, Diana Pope, Debbie Dirr.
Dani’s Dreams of a Go Green Discovery Center for environmental education in Hancock County will take root with a $4,500 grant from the Hancock County Community Foundation awarded Nov. 12 at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine. The grant will start construction of the Go Green Center that will focus on environmental education for grades preschool through 8 in Hancock County – with a community garden, interactive exhibits and experiments in solar and wind energy. The building will also be powered by alternative energy sources.
The mission of the Go Green Discovery Center will be to empower students and involve them in both teaching and learning to develop knowledge of and responsibility for the world surrounding them.
Teachers, students, Scouts and community groups are encouraged to become a part of the center’s planning and operation. Architectural/CAD students throughout Hancock County can submit designs for the facility to be constructed this spring. The winning design will have credit in the dedication plaque. Teachers can also sign up to be eligible for a $200 Go Green Grant. More information on both contests can be obtained on Dani’s Dreams website, or by emailing
You can also take a break from leftovers and turkey after Thanksgiving and have dinner at McDonald’s on U.S. 52 in New Palestine Nov. 28, 5-8 p.m. Dani’s Dreams committee members will be at the restaurant that night with free tree cookie nametags for children and information on the outdoor education center’s programs. Teachers and youth group leaders will be able to sign up for the Go Green Grant contest.
Community support will be needed for the center’s continued development. 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.