A visitor from Mystic Aquarium visited Kelly Lane to say “thank you”

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By Amy Lupoli

During the month of March the students, families and staff of Kelly Lane Primary School participated in the Pennies for Penguins fundraiser coordinated by Mystic Aquarium. The spare-change fundraiser was held in support of the South African penguin, a species at the highest risk of extinction in the animal kingdom. The wild population of the African penguin has declined by 70 percent over the past 10 years. 
Due to pollution and over-fishing, the penguins must travel farther and farther away from their beach nests to find fish to eat. They are often unable to make it back to shore and their young are orphaned. The donations will help to send penguin trainers and researchers to South Africa to rescue and rehabilitate African penguins.

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Kelly Lane Primary School Principal Kim Dessert with a representative from Mystic Aquarium holding Blue Blue who visited Kelly Lane to say “thank you” for the funds raised on behalf of the Aquarium. Photo by Amy Lupoli

As compassionate contributors and animal lovers, Pennies for Penguins provided a perfect, child-friendly fundraising opportunity for the primary school. On March 6, Roz Gihuly and a large stuffed penguin from Mystic Aquarium, visited Kelly Lane to explain why the African penguin is at risk of extinction. Gihuly distributed coin collection jars to each classroom. She promised that if $2,000 was raised, the compassionate contributors would be handsomely rewarded—and the fundraising began!
Throughout March, students collected change from home and deposited it into the jars in their classrooms. The jars filled quickly. Luckily the second graders were learning to count money at the time, so they volunteered to count the coins for other classrooms, creating a great hands-on learning experience.
At the end of the month the totals were calculated. The students and families of Kelly Lane raised $3,228.93, well exceeding the goal. Mrs. Bush’s class had the highest total, and they were able to Skype with a penguin trainer at Mystic Aquarium to ask questions and learn more about the penguins.
On May 24, the compassionate contributors from Kelly Lane were awarded with the best prize of all! Mystic Aquarium brought Blue Blue a real African penguin to Kelly Lane. Although he was a little overdressed in his “tuxedo,” Blue Blue stole the hearts of everyone who saw him.

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