This section explains how your project addressed the project elements found in the CyberFair Assignment to Schools.
1) How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?
* Interestingly, when we did our environmental awareness project last year we sent out a survey. One of the respondents indicated that responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering pets, was one of the biggest environmental concerns that we needed to confront in the 90's. Our school is very involved with environmental awareness, animals and computer literacy. Choosing an Animal Shelter fit well with the Cyberfair Category and the goals of our school. As the students were too young to volunteer to do actual work at the shelter, the staff was excited about the children building a web site to showcase the animals available for adoption and become involved in fundraising and public awareness projects. This is an ongoing project to help the animals, the city of Fort Scott, the Police Department, and the Friends of the Animal Shelter.
Additionally, students seem to become very motivated when they know their work will be published to the web. The combination of hands on learning with a digital display seems to reinforce the students' achievements and pride in their work. Also, retention of concept mastery seems to increase.
2) What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?
*To complete this project we used the following:
*The digital camera was invaluable to this project. The students visited the staff at the shelter and took photographs of the animals at the facility before noon on Saturdays. By the evening, the homeless animal's pictures were showcased on the internet. This corresponded perfectly with the city's newspaper release showcasing "The Pet of the Week." That article is published every Saturday with the address of our website included.
The school is equipped with all of the tools used to complete this project.
One unique way technology was used was the "Put the Pieces Together" game that allowed the students to conceptualize a happy ending for all of the homeless animals as a result of our project, and, the combined efforts of our community as a whole. Student drawings were used in combination with JAVA Programming language to create this interactive display.
3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
* For the most part, the students contacted city officials, merchants, members of the Friends of the Animal Shelter in person. They served as representatives of the school as well as the Animal Shelter. Students wrote letters to the Editor of the newspaper in an attempt to generate support for adopting homeless animals.
The local newspaper, The Fort Scott Tribune, began including the web address of our project with the Pet of the Week newspaper article. In addition, the city of Fort Scott linked to our Cyberfair website in an attempt to provide more media attention for the Friends of the Shelter and for the animals available for adoption.
Students met with the Chief of the Fort Scott Police Department and the Animal Control Officer, as the Animal Shelter is owned and operated by the City of Fort Scott.
The students were eager to present the collection cans they had made and were very happy with the positive response of the merchants. There were very few merchants that did not volunteer to help and of those, many were sponsoring other projects. Instead of saying no, most told us to come back after Valentine's Day.
Community members were very generous in placing monies in our donation cans. The total amount of money contributed to the Friends of the Animal Shelter as a result of our efforts was $300 with a possible match from Wal-Mart of $42.00. Storeowners commented that the cans were very attractive and looked like a lot of time and effort went into their construction.
We were surprised when we contacted Wal-Mart. Not only was the Manager, Keith Pearson, willing to display our cans, he also offered a possible matching amount of money from Wal-Mart. In addition, he invited the Friends to begin a Saturday morning project whereas homeless animals could be brought to the patio area and adopted at Wal-Mart, thus increasing the exposure of the animals and the Friends of the Animal Shelter.**
4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
* This project has made an incredible difference in our local community. Our school and students have linked with a local organization, city government, and local businesses. We have been able to reach out and provide an internet website to a worthy cause, staffed with hardworking individuals that are plagued with the common problem of minimal funding. In addition, we have completed successful fundraising activities for the organization that will be contributed to such projects as spay and neuter certificates to promote responsible pet ownership and paint to improve the look of the facility.
As internet access becomes more prevalent in our community, the establishment of this website will become even more significant to community members. As best as we can figure, almost 300 people interested in animal adoption locally have accessed this site in the short time it has been available. (As of March 3, 1999) We have received emails from people from other counties and a neighboring state inquiring about adoption rules.
We have spoken to the Animal Control Officer who has been extremely helpful and cooperative. He has agreed, within his working constraints, that interested individuals can virtually adopt a pet via the internet. The phone number of the Police Department is listed at the top of the page that showcases the pets. An individual can call regarding an animal they might be interested in adopting at times when the Friends are not available. Officer Porter has agreed to meet them at the Animal Shelter and complete the adoption process.**
5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
* It would have been impossible to have completed this project without the assistance and support of Richard Nienstedt, City Manager of the City of Fort Scott. We were aware that the logo on the main page (which also is the sign he had constructed to mark the location of the Animal Shelter) featured his adopted dog. We chose the logo not only because of it's importance to the City of Fort Scott, but also because the sign symbolized Mr. Nienstadt's hard work and commitment while honoring his pet.
Ann Gillmore, President of the Friends of the Fort Scott Animal Shelter, has eagerly welcomed us into the shelter and provided insight into the organization's long term goals for more runs and media attention. Her motto, "Put us out of business, have your pet spayed or neutered," is a reflection of her deep commitment to responsible pet ownership. We thank her for announcing our projects over the local radio station and through press releases.
Additionally, Chief of Police Dixon and Animal Control Officer Porter, deserve thanks for providing support and opening the doors of the Animal Shelter to us for unscheduled visits and picture sessions.
The following business owners displayed our donation cans. They were so helpful we dedicated a page to recognize their support.
Consumers Wal-Mart Boone and Dauben's Heidrick's True Value Hardware Dollar General Popingo Video Jumpstart Convenience Store Darling Appliance Opie's Deli Papa Don's Restaurant Vista Pharmacy Citizen's National Bank City of Fort Scott, Water Department Fort Scott Tribune **
6) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises
* This project provided a perfect opportunity to introduce the concepts of Social Work and Community Organization to the students. We studied the community as a living organism, and looked at the impact that we as a group could make on the community to bring about change. We were told that Fort Scott has had an animal shelter for 50 years. Still, people have asked Mrs. Gillmore, the President of the Friends of the Animal Shelter, when Fort Scott built a shelter. Our collection cans and web project increased community awareness and attention to the shelter as a short term effect. The long term effect of our project should be to increase adoptions.
Finally, we are hopeful that people will not like having their pets showcased on the internet. We hope neighbors and concerned citizens will advise the authorities if they know the owner of the pet pictured on the web.
In conclusion, we hope our project will encourage community members to be more responsible pet owners.
3/12/99 Update - Papa Don's Restaurant kept their donation can in the store despite the fact that our fundraiser was to be a one month event. Their management and staff believe in our cause and want to continue to raise funds.
3/15/99 Update - We won two awards for our site.
3/31/99 Update - The city and county are now working together to build a new shelter facility. The estimated cost is $70,000. We have built a screensaver using pictures from this internet project. We are donating the screensaver to the Friends of the Animal Shelter and the city of Fort Scott to help them raise funds for this cause.
Copyright 1998 - 1999 The Hendrix School