Tag Archives: Discovery Center

Local Scout makes dreams come true for Southern Hancock families

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Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp. is all about empowering young people to “Change the World”, and New Palestine High School sophomore Zachary Mitchell is making his commitment a reality.

Zachary grew up alongside Dani’s Dreams and now wants to give back by making a lasting impact for families in Hancock County.

“I grew up with Dani’s Dreams and I’ve heard the story of Dani all my life,” Zachary said. “I chose the outdoor lab as my Eagle Scout project because I saw the lab and wanted to help.”

A Hancock County Scout for nine years, Zachary Mitchell has an Eagle Scout project that will benefit Hancock County residents of all ages and bring families together to share the wonder of nature through his “Dreaming Tree Porch” project.

“I talked with Donna (Griffin, Dani’s Dreams president and CEO) and found out what she needed at Dani’s Dreams,” Zachary said. “I saw that the lab needed more work and outside displays, so I decided we could do benches, tables and a patio.”

Zachary has raised about $1,200 of the nearly $1,700 project, including a donation from the American Legion, and hopes to get about $500 from the community to be able to put in a paver porch, benches and display tables in front of the Go Green Center at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine.

Zachary has spent this year fundraising, including a Pancake Breakfast in June at Zion and hopes to begin construction of the “Dreaming Tree Porch” for Hancock County families later this fall.

“The project will includes a 12 x 25-foot paver patio, two benches and two plexiglass tables for displays of rocks, insects and other interesting information,” Zachary said.

To donate for Zachary’s Eagle Scout Project, email him at noblemit@msn.com or call 861-4915

“I’ve been a Scout ever since first grade,” Zachary said. “It’s been a long journey, but I wanted to stick with it and help the community.”

And his project will have a lasting impact on outdoor education and families throughout Hancock County.

“I’ve learned through this project how to be a strong leader, help others and to teach them how to use tools – tools for life,” Zachary said.

The Go Green Center, funded through a Hancock County Community Foundation Grant in 2012, serves K-8 students in Southern Hancock Schools with STEM and environmental education displays, activities and projects, including fully-functioning solar panels that power the building.

“The porch will be an area for student work/collections to be on display and for parents/grandparents and children to walk, rest and spend time together sharing and learning,” Griffin said.

Griffin added the new tables will allow Dani’s Dreams to bring out displays and hands-on items that would normally be locked inside the building.

“He’s inspired us already,” Griffin said. “We’ve repainted and are currently reorganizing our materials and activities as well as working with teachers to develop lessons to meet their curriculum needs.”

Join Dani’s Dreams Team and get a FREE ECOFEST T-shirt!

DanisDream3Southern Hancock kids, parents and community members can Change the World by supporting Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Programs and sponsoring ECOFEST lessons in our elementary schools.
SIGN UP TODAY to become a Dani’s Dreams Team member and get a specially designed T-shirt for your elementary school. Members can pick up your T-shirt at the ECOFEST Earth Day Festival April 15 at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School, New Palestine.
The school with the most memberships by the ECOFEST Earth Day Festival April 15  will win a $300 grant for your school! Proceeds from the memberships go to support the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Trail at Sugar Creek Township Park coming in 2016!








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.



Get UPCLOSE with butterflies Wed. Sept. 16 at Dani’s Dreams!

butterflies up close poster

Get UpClose with Monarch Butterflies Wed. Sept. 16, 3:30-5 p.m. at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center!

Teacher Brenda Kreutz and the Zion second graders have been working hard, feeding and recording the growth process of close to 50 Monarch caterpillars! The second graders will be conducting tours of the new butterfly pavilion, demonstrating how to feed and hold a butterfly and passing out specially designed stickers.

Willing Hands Designs will be facepainting. Enjoy free treats and check out the debut of Dani’s Dreams newsmat! The event is free and open to all area families.
Donations will be accepted.

Dani’s Dreams Kids Share Tree Knowledge

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Trees 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: 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.
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.
See you when you get there!

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.
Here are some of the fossils Dani’s Dreams Team members discovered on their expedition. Go on your own digital dig for information about these specimens. Send us a comment on what you found!
fossil chart
So, who won the Dig It! fossil finding competition? Check out Dani’s Dreams Facebook Page for the results and more pictures.

Dig It! Quiz for Today – X Marks the Spot!

imgres-2Scientists have discovered many fossils in Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. Two complete skulls of a new sauropod, the Abydosaurus, were recently discovered there. Other large plant eaters, such as Diplodocus, have been dug up there, as well as meat eaters that include Allosaurus.

Today’s Dinosaur Quiz Answer

Dinosaur Quiz, Day 1:
brachiosaurusNTBrachiosaurus was a gigantic dinosaur. Scientists have estimated its weight at more than 28 tons (25 metric tons). Its neck and head stood up more than 40 feet (12 meters) in the air. The most complete skeletons found belong to animals not yet fully grown. So Brachiosaurus probably grew even longer and taller than we know. Source National Geographic Kids

Don’t forget to bring your answers to Dig It Day, Sept 23, 3:30-5 p.m. at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center!