Keep Dani’s Dreams as the center for environmental education in Hancock County

TEACHERS – as you plan your science curriculum this fall, keep Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center in New Palestine as an important part of your focus. Check out our blogroll – the DNR kids page, and National Gardening Association feature classroom lesson plans, complete with national and state standards for environmental and science education. Use the Teacher Resources page to find grant, webinar and other professional development opportunities and ways to enhance your day-to-day science and interdisciplinary lesson plans. Remember to utilize the resources available at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center to make the science come alive. Schedule tours, speakers, special lessons/activities for this fall – it’s all FREE! If you have a topic you are planning for fall, let us know and we’ll tailor a trip to Dani’s Dreams for your specific lesson plans.
Dani’s Dreams is open to ALL area schools, preschool through eighth grade at no charge. Watch for news about exciting plans for phase II of Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center plans for a Go Green Discovery Center! Be a part of Dani’s Dreams and make a difference in YOUR students’ environmental education.

Following are this month’s other featured links:
National Weather Service lesson plans

National Science Foundation Classroom Resources

You Know You Want To Try It. . . at the Dani’s Dreams Fitness Festival

After the Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 6 at 8 a.m., Check Out A FREE Fitness Festival to be held in the Zion Lutheran School (6513 W. 300S New Palestine) gym after the walk/run from 10 a.m. to noon – try your hand at zumba, yoga and personal training along with information on nutrition and wellness and blood pressure checks. If you have a skill or talent you would like to share, contact Donna Griffin, 640-4430 or email

Sign Up For Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 6 – Make A Difference in Environmental Education

This is your chance to make a difference in your health and fitness and grow environmental education in Hancock County! Sign up for the fourth annual Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run Aug. 6, 8 a.m. at New Palestine High School.
Download this form
dani walkrun brochure side 1
dani walkrun brochure side 2
The event benefits the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School. We are starting on Phase II and need your help with donations for an irrigation system and a 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.

5K/1 Mile Family Walk
Register for the 5K walk/run or 1-mile family walk that begins 8 a.m. at NPHS and receive a cool commemorative T-shirt with this year’s theme, “Make A Difference.” The winning shirt is designed by Zion 2011 graduate Emily Kleiman.
Registration for the 5K Run/Fitness Walk is only $15 Individual and $25 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 29.
Registration after 7/29 and on race day is $20 individual; $30 family.

Our Garden’s Growing








Check out the newest page and the latest addition to Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center – The Community Garden. Scouts who planted a variety of vegetables will be giving reports and updates on their efforts. Above: Sugar Creek Elementary Daisy Troop members planted green beans in May. See more photos and information on The Community Garden page.

T-shirt Design Winners Make A Difference

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Emily Kleiman, an eighth grader at Zion Lutheran School is the winner of the 2011 Dani’s Dreams T-shirt design contest. Kleiman’s entry was chosen by those attending the Earth Day Dedication Event April 9 as the design for participant T-shirts for the Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 6 at New Palestine High School.

This year’s theme for the Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run is “Make A Difference.” Registration brochures for the event will be available online at and at area businesses and Zion Lutheran School.

Sam Spears and Anna Caster were chosen as essay contest winners; both are students at Zion Lutheran School.

Runners-up in the T-shirt design contest are Katie Gunn, fourth grader at Zion Lutheran and Kara Teipen, seventh grader at Doe Creek Elementary. Their designs will be on the Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run brochures and posters that will be on display at area businesses.

Winners of the T-shirt design and essay contest receive a free T-shirt and monetary prizes at the start of the Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run Aug. 6

Proceeds from the event will go toward continued development of the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center, open to the Southern Hancock community, featuring seven learning centers, including an archaeological dig, vegetable garden, butterfly garden, bird watching and Discovery Center learning centers designed for environmental and conservation education.

To become a sponsor, to donate or for more information, contact Donna and Dave Griffin at, call Zion Lutheran School at 861-4210 or send to Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran Church and School, 6513 W. 300S, New Palestine, IN 46163.


I Can Make A Difference in My Community

By Sam Spears

I can make a difference in my community by picking up trash in the park and recycling all that I can.

I can pick up trash on the side of the road. I can use less water and electricity. I can plant a new tree and ride my bike to school.

I have not littered since I was 2 and a half.

By Anna M. Caster

I can make a difference in my community when I pick up trash anywhere lying on the ground. If nobody did that what would happen? I can save energy by turning off lights when I don’t need the lights. I also can ride my bike anywhere I need. I can also plant some trees in the ground. I can help animals not be endangered. I can also plant flowers. I also can use both sides of the paper when I’m drawing! And I can help Dani’s Dreams. I can also help the school. I could reuse a milk jug to make a birdhouse. I can bring my un-needed papers and magazines to the school to recycle.

Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Comes in From the Rain

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Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center moved indoors April 9 for the third Earth Day Dedication Event. With the spring thunderstorm, Zion Lutheran students and teachers made some quick adjustments and set up their demonstrations in the school’s hallways near where volunteers packed meals for Kids Against Hunger.

Girl Scout Troop 1170 presented the flag and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Zion Lutheran School Principal Kristie Sombke opened the event with prayer.

At the learning centers, students uncovered artifacts, created chalk and butterfly pictures, magnets and sun catchers, planted seeds, checked the weather (it was a bit wet) and recorded the temperature. Students who also completed the Dani’s Dreams quiz received a handcrafted cross made from trees. Randy Caster from Hillcrest Tree Farms distributed Norway Spruce tree seedlings. All those attending cast their votes for the 2011 T-shirt design and essay contest for the fourth annual Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 6 at New Palestine High School.

This year’s Earth Day event focused on the newly established Dani’s Dreams Community Garden. Area Scout troops and Zion students are adopting the four raised beds in the garden, planting vegetables for a harvest with a portion donated to local food banks. If you want to be a part of the Community Garden team and have knowledge and a green thumb to share, email Donna Griffin,

Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center is open to all community and school groups for tours, field trips and other special events. Adopt one of the seven learning centers by making a donation of $100 or more and your name will be on that center’s sign. Donors who give $100 or more will also be placed on T-shirts for the Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 6.

Come to Dani’s Dreams, take a walk, listen to the birds, breathe in the scent of flowers, delight in a butterfly. Bring your family or community groups of all ages to Dani’s Dreams to enjoy and celebrate God’s natural beauty that surrounds us.

To find out more, email or call 894-0006 to schedule your visit.

Show off your artistic, writing talents!


Dani's Dreams 2010 T-shirt Design and Essay Contest Winners


Now’s your chance to Make a Difference and join Dani’s Dreams Community Garden Team! Enter the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center’s annual T-shirt design and essay contest. The theme for the event is “Make A Difference” and will feature a Community Vegetable Garden Planting Day and Harvest for the Hungry.

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 fourth annual memorial walk/run Aug. 6. 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. 6 at the beginning of the walk/run at New Palestine High School.

2. WRITE AN ESSAY based on the theme “I Can Make A Difference in My Community.”Entries from all ages will be accepted. Winners will be chosen in the following age groups: K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Winners in each age category will receive a free T-shirt, free copy of the book, “Dani and the Beans” and $25.

Money raised at this event will go to fund the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center open to all students in Southern Hancock County. Turn in your drawing or essay to your teacher by MARCH 24. Entries will be picked up at each school March 25 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 EducationCenter April 9. Come and see the students’ demonstrations, create crafts, plant vegetables in our Community Garden and pack meals for the hungry.

EMAIL for more information.


Dani’s Dreams T-shirt design essay contest

Hey Kids — It’s Your Time to Make A Difference

It will soon be spring and Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center needs you! The annual Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Dedication Event will be earlier this year ON APRIL 9 to promote the community’s Kids Against Hunger campaign. Packing days for meals to be sent to hungry children will be April 8 and 9 at Zion Lutheran Church and School.

In addition April 9 demonstrations, crafts and a Community Planting Day will highlight Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Dedication Events. Scouts, community and congregation groups and individuals can sign up to be a part of caring for the Dani’s Dreams Community Garden. The harvests from the garden will be donated to local food banks or shelters. Come join the fun, crafts, demonstrations and learning and volunteer time to pack meals to feed hungry children – every little bit makes a big difference!

Any business who would like to sponsor an outdoor craft or demonstration April 9 contact Donna Griffin at or Principal Kristie Sombke at Zion Lutheran School (317) 861-4210.

Don’t forget to join Dani’s Dreams Team — donate $25 or more and receive a free T-shirt!

Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center Mission:

The mission of Dani’s Dreams is to encourage and support teachers in the use of creativity in and outside the classroom and to foster an interest and awareness in science, the environment and discovery with projects designed to develop children’s appreciation, responsibility and concern for the natural world and God’s creatures.

Ready-Set-Go! Dani’s Dreams Walk/Run Year 3

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The third time was definitely a charm for Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run July 31 at New Palestine High School. Nearly 70 community residents of all ages participated in the annual race that benefits the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School, 6513 W. 300 S, New Palestine.

Runners/walkers took to the NPHS track for the one-mile fun run/walk or the cross country trail for the 5K.

Michael Morris became a three-time winner of the 5K men’s run and Kinzie Alter took the women’s title.

T-shirt design, scholarship and Get Fit for Life winners were recognized before the event.

Rachel Rudicel’s first place design graced the race T-shirts and Audrey Kleiman and Ellie Roudebush received their awards for second and third place, respectively. Zoe Marcus won the essay contest and NPHS graduate Leslee Johnson received a scholarship to study at Indiana University.

Get Fit for Life program winners included Cheryl Singer, Leslie Grotelueschen, Kristen Brutcher and Helen Hefflemier.

The theme for this year’s event was “Go Green – Join Dani’s Dreams Team!” Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center is open for school and community groups to visit and take advantage of the seven learning centers and activities.

For more information, contact Zion Lutheran School, 861-4210 or email

Go Green – Dani’s Dream Team Celebrates Earth Day

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Southern Hancock children and adults joined Dani’s Dreams Team in the effort to “Go Green” during the center’s Earth Day Dedication Event 12-2 p.m. April 24,2010 at Zion Lutheran School, New Palestine.

Local Junior Girl Scouts opened the event with a flag ceremony, pledge and “ The Star Spangled Banner.”

Children then took off on an information scavenger hunt throughout the center, gathering answers to questions about butterflies, bird, trees, archeology and native plants. Those who completed the hunt received a free T-shirt.

All those attending signed a “Go Green” contract pledging to do their part to help save energy and the environment. Community members, Jane Pollock from Hancock County Master Gardeners and Randy Caster of Hillcrest Tree Farm were on hand to answer questions and distribute information. Caster also provided free tree seedlings.

Zion Youth Groups provided nourishment with a free will fundraising dinner.

Zion PTL is sponsoring a sale of memorial bricks for the Dani’s Dreams walking path entrance. Costs are $35 and $60 to leave a lasting impression in this growing educational center. Proceeds will go toward installing a water source for the center. For more information, contact Zion Lutheran School, 861-4210 or email

Change the World – Join Dani's Dreams Team!

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