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Fun focuses on forest's future

Pine Lane Elementary students raise funds at carnival to help Amazon

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If Pine Lane Elementary student Finn Saunders, 11, had his way, no more lumberjacks would be allowed to cut trees in the Amazon rainforest. But, since Saunders lives more than 4,000 miles away from the Amazon, and is just a kid living in Parker, he has no say in the matter. That didn't stop him from doing his part to help the rainforest during the school's May 9 carnival, which raised money that will be donated to help stop the devastation of the Amazon.

Saunders created a game called Lumberjack Attack, which other students paid to play during the carnival. Like an old-fashioned carnival game, Saunders created cardboard silhouettes of lumberjacks, and players had five seconds to knock down as many as they could using ping-pong balls.

“I liked Lumberjack Attack,” said Saunders. “You can take lumberjacks out of the rainforest.”

Students in grades four through six in the school's Discovery program were tasked with creating games for the student-driven carnival. Fellow students purchased tickets to play the games, and all proceeds will go to nonprofits that focus on the Amazon.

“My favorite thing about this carnival is seeing the intense collaboration within the groups of kids,” said teacher Stephanie Kawamura. “It blows my mind.”

Devin Ewald, 11, and her friend Maddie Romero, 11, created a game called Prize Punch, which allowed players to “punch away the problems in the rainforest.” The duo covered cups with thin sheets of paper, and labeled various problems in the Amazon, including poaching, bio-piracy and acid rain. Players paid to punch each problem away.

“I think the rainforest is a pretty place, and I'm sad there are parts of it being destroyed,” said Ewald.

Romero said the devastation of the rainforest has her frightened.

“I think there's many beautiful species of plants, and they're all being demolished,” said Romero. “That frightens me because at this rate the rainforest will be gone in 36 years.”

Other games included a bean-bag toss, spin the wheel, golfing and knocking out problems using stacked cups. Players received small prizes for their efforts, as well as 30 minutes out of class to participate and support the Discovery team.

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