... goes international!  After our cram session yesterday to get the poster and all our materials set up, our presentation day finally opened up!

We just got back from around four hours of presenting, and seriously, just walking through that room could be a great learning experience.  People have raised thousands of dollars for important causes, rebuilt parts of their neighborhoods, even altered the bus routes within their cities.  We just tallied our fundraising efforts up today, trying to count up all our merchandise and donations, and incredibly, we have raised $8308!  We never really expected to raise that much money, and this is simply over the top.  Thank you to all our generous sponsors and donors!  Every penny of your money is going to a good cause.

That said, we were also contacted by BirdLife International in the midst of our preparations, and never posted about it.  It seems that our method is starting to attract attention around the world!  I really hope that other communities will start a project like ours.  It's an amazing growing experience, even if people don't compete.  We really learned to organize, and I learned to really lead and plan as Project Manager.  I don't think any of us could have done it without community support, but operating solo like this,  just a bunch of high school students together trying to save a whole species, really jolts us back into the real world.  Things may seem to be running smoothly on the surface, but many of the internal workings are grinding slowly to a halt.

That's how I would describe the burrowing owl's influence in our ecosystems, though its slow disappearance has caused ecological cycles to slow so much that the environment is already seeing huge decreases in productivity, among other negative effects.  If others could start projects like ours, we could bring the burrowing owl back from the brink of extinction and save our ecosystems from the agony of this disruption.  We will continue expanding, and hopefully our early successes only foreshadow greater comebacks for the burrowing owl in the future!

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