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Ruby Raindrop and Sammy Soil
Fact Sheet

Ruby's Story
 

Howard Whitaker, District Conservationist, in Chattanooga, Tennessee created Sammy Soil in 1968. Sammy has been so successful in teaching conservation and his popularity continues to grow, particularly in the southeast. The Hamilton County SCD, working with Earth Team Volunteers, organized a Conservation Kid Club. Though less than a year old, more than 1,000 children have taken the conservation pledge and became a Conservation Kid Club member. Sammy has appeared on numerous television shows and made hundreds of personal appearances at schools with help from Earth Team Volunteers. The district also has a waiting list of junior high and high schools students who want to play the role of Sammy Soil. The district, thanks to private donations and grants from state and local government, has distributed more than 50,000 Sammy Soil coloring books. Many more have been distributed in other counties. Sammy also resides in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Four outdoor classrooms have been established in Hamilton County Schools as a result of visits from Sammy Soil and participation in the Conservation Kids Club. Sammy Soil is well known by hundreds of students- in Hamilton County, and he travels outside the county as well. He has met with the Governor of Tennessee and the Commissioner of Agriculture. Other districts 'rent' Sammy for events in their county. Sammy has been so successful in getting the conservation message out in Hamilton County, five surrounding counties have purchased Sammy Soil costumes and are carrying out similar conservation education activities. Chattanooga, Tennessee seemed like the ideal birthplace for Ruby Raindrop because of its commitment to the environment, especially clean water. Bruce Plante, cartoonist with the Chattanooga-Times volunteered to do the drawing. Bruce is an award-winning, nationally syndicated cartoonist whose work has appeared in major publications, such as Time Magazine, throughout the world. With Howard's vision and Bruce's skill, Ruby Raindrop was born in 1994. Howard has received a copyright for Ruby Raindrop.

Next, Phillip Rodgers, young, aspiring artist agreed to do the illustrations for the T-shirt and the planned activity guide. Earth Team volunteers, working with Howard Whitaker, will develop the activity guide. A team of teachers from the Hamilton County School system will review the draft of the activity guide. Arnold Stulce, who serves on the State Education Committee for the House of Representatives, and his wife, Doris, are two of the Earth Team Volunteers who are participating in this project. Ruby Raindrop made her public debut on Chattanooga's Channel 9 Morning Show on April 28, 1994 as part of the Clean Water Expo 94 activities. She also made an appearance at the conference and attended the Clean Water Expo Environmental Fair on Friday, April 29. Ruby is already in demand. She and Sammy have a busy summer planned. They will meet thousands of students and have a chance to talk about conservation and the environment.

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