Etcetera - 12/09/11

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Friends of Pioneer Park Aviary will flock to Land Title Plaza at First Avenue and Main Street downtown Walla Walla, on Saturday and Dec. 17 to continue fundraising efforts for the park aviary, said its caretaker Joanna Lanning.

"In just a year this hardworking group of volunteers has raised over $87,000 for the educational facility that displays ornamental pheasants along with a large variety of waterfowl, including some endangered species," she said.

The Friends group is developing ideas to help the aviary become more self-sustaining and hatched the "Adopt-A-Bird" program as a gift idea.

Information on the program and facility will be available beginning at 10 a.m. both Saturdays at The Plaza.

Friends hopes to collect the remaining $23,000 to meet their goal in the near future, said Jim Dumont, Walla Walla Parks and Recreation director.

"Come and visit this dedicated group of individuals who are working hard to ensure this treasured facility, which is home to almost 200 birds, will remain in Walla Walla for the education and enjoyment of future generations," Joanna said.

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When Albertsons reopened its Eastgate store following a complete renovation, Blue Ridge Elementary's Principal Kim Doepker and Head Start/ECEAP Preschool Director Kerri Coffman were on hand to help with the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Kim and Kerri received a $1,000 donation from Albertsons. It's in the form of gift cards that can be used to purchase groceries, school supplies and other items to support students and families.

Blue Ridge and the preschool program each received five $100 gift cards. Kim and Kerri will develop an education program focused on proper nutrition and healthy living in conjunction with store purchases. Through classroom activities and a family night they will reinforce the educational component.

"Albertsons wants to be involved in the community and help our local children," said Larry Perez, Albertsons Eastgate store director. "Albertsons is also committed to supporting healthy living and nutrition education." The timing of the donation is ideal, since Kerri's students and staff are focused on educating the whole child and their family. "We are so appreciative of Albertsons designating Blue Ridge Elementary and the preschool programs as the recipient of this $1,000 gift card award," Kerri said. "Kim and I both have the philosophy that healthy eating leads to better learning. With Head Start's primary focus being on health and nutrition, this fits perfectly with our goal of healthy families."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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