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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 405

'Pennies for Piedras' gains recognition, donations

A unique partnership between a group of dedicated school students at Grover Heights Elementary in Grover Beach and those who care for the Piedras Blancas Light Station has been recognized with two recent articles in Lighthouse Digest magazine. (text continues below)

Students in vintage dresses and trousers stand in front of a light keeper and woman in period costume
Students in vintage costumes celebrate National Lighthouse Day at Piedras.

The article in the June issue, “Rolling On, Pennies for Piedras,” describes how the students have raised more than $5,000 for the restoration effort. The July issue featured an article by volunteer Carole Adams, “The Light At Piedras Blancas,” on the history of the light station.

The articles can be viewed online at Lighthouse Digest.

"The Light At Piedras Blancas" - July, 2009 issue

"Rolling On, Pennies for Piedras" - June, 2009 issue

Pennies for Piedras wrapped up its fifth year with a record-breaking collection of sixteen hundred “Pennies for Piedras” ($1,600), to bring the total to $5,280.01. The money will be put toward the restoration of the 132-year-old lighthouse near San Simeon administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

During the 2005-06 school year, teacher Libby Anderson’s second and third grade combination class embarked on a study of lighthouses. A lighthouse fan herself, Anderson incorporated the topic in the studies of science, geography, math, history, and writing. Students picked a lighthouse and created a poster or scrapbook. They constructed a model, including a landform map, of their specific lighthouse.

“One student, Conner Sandman, was concerned that his topic, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, did not have a lantern room. Conner started a campaign he dubbed ‘Pennies for Piedras’ to raise funds for the restoration of the current truncated tower,” said BLM Piedras Manager Jim Boucher.

Students brought in pockets full of change. At school, they have held bake sales and juice sales. At Lighthouse Club meetings, they decorated shell and plaster magnets, rock paperweights, picture frames, and plaques with lighthouses and sold them. At home, the children had lemonade stands on sunny Saturdays and hot chocolate stands on cool weather Saturdays. Some children have also donated proceeds from family garage sales, from chores, from a portion of their allowance, and contributions from grandparents. 

A young student holds open a toy treasure chest and another holds a poster of a lighthouse, as they pose with an older man and woman
Will and Suzanne Dallons brought in the Light Station treasure chest for students.

More than a dozen girls and boys hold up Jacob's ladders, sticks and hoops and other replicas of old wooden toys
Students show a selection of vintage wooden toys.

- Dave Christy, BLM Central California District, 9/09

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 405

Last updated: 10-21-2009