Thumbs up to members of the Kiwanis Builders Club at Washington Middle School in Jamestown for their "cupcakes for critters" fundraiser for the Chautauqua County Humane Society.
This wasn't one of those simple events where the students sell candy bars or some other ready-made product. The Washington Middle School students baked and decorated the cupcakes themselves - truly an outstanding commitment by the club members as well as Patty Lefford, the club adviser, to raise money for a worthy cause and, along the way, learn a lot of new things about helping your community.
We offer an equally enthusiastic thumbs up to members of the Falconer Central School Honor Society for planning the annual mystery event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It starts at 6:15 tomorrow evening at the high school. With Lee Ann Russell, the society's adviser, the students have put together a fun - and elaborate - evening for the community as well as a unique way to help the Cancer Society. Pre-sale tickets were $10 and tickets may be available at the door.
We are on a roll here, and so we offer thumbs up to another group of talented students - members of Chris O'Brien's career and technical education classes at the Hewes Center of Ashville. Both the morning and afternoon carpentry classes manufactured wall sections for the town of North Harmony's new highway building. They completed the exacting work ahead of schedule and have moved on to a more complicated task for the highway building: constructing the stairway.
Please note that none of these student efforts - and the learning that results from them - would be possible without extraordinarily dedicated teachers and advisers. Next time you see them, give them a thumbs up in person.
And, finally, the Great Backyard Bird Count is always interesting, but it may be more so this year, organizers say, because milder temperatures and scant snow may increase the numbers of American robins and Eastern phoebes. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, which coordinate the count, said in a joint statement that snowy owls may also make a showing and that Arctic birds have been thrilling birders all across the United States this winter.
In any case, thumbs up to those of you who take part in the bird count, which continues through Monday. All you need to do is count birds at any location you choose for at least 15 minutes on one or more days and enter your tallies at www.birdcount.org. It's free, everyone can participate, and no registration is required. The three organizations thank you for your participation and note that information gathered from all around North American provides a snapshot of how bird populations are changing year after year.