‘Pennies for JANE’ Phase II a success

The Burpee Museum’s “Pennies for JANE” Campaign held last spring was a smashing success, raising nearly $15,000 from students attending public and private schools in the Rock River area. Building upon its success, on Nov. 24, the Burpee and students from more than 85 schools throughout Boone and Winnebago counties, celebrated Phase II of the “Pennies for JANE’ Campaign. They watched their pennies disappear into a monster coin counter provided by US Bank. Then they saw their coins being loaded onto a Brinks truck and whisked away to a local bank for deposit in the “Pennies for JANE” account. Students also went on an “Expedition HUNT,” enjoyed refreshments and met JANE.

Discovered in the Badlands of Montana in 2001 and brought to Rockford the summer of 2002, Lew Crampton, president/CEO of the Burpee, says, “JANE now belongs to all of us. The Pennies for JANE Campaign is not a contest—but rather an opportunity for students at all grade levels to take great pride in the discovery of our rare and historical treasure.” Pennies raised will help the Burpee to build a permanent display of JANE at the Burpee for all to enjoy.

“The Pennies for JANE Campaign demonstrates once again the power of engaging our imagination in learning,” said Ellen V. Bueschel, interim superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools. “I have seen bar and line graphs related to the penny campaign, read stories and articles that children have written about dinosaurs, seen papier mache sculptures and diorama displays, heard students discuss the pennies collected, and watched the enthusiasm generated when they turned the pennies in to the museum.”

The “Pennies for JANE” Campaign was the brainstorm of Dr. Susan Leahy, head of Lower Keith Country Day School. This fund-raising event was kicked off in April with students from nearly 70 schools throughout the Rock River area participating in the coin collection. More than 2,300 canisters have been filled with change during Phase II—an estimated 73,000 pounds of coins.

“This effort truly demonstrates that kids can really help make a difference in our society. They are learning that even the smallest individual effort can blossom into something that can benefit everyone and leave a legacy that will live on into perpetuity,” says Dr. Susan Leahy.

Following the official coin count by US Bank, an official Brinks truck was on hand to bag the coins and deliver them to the bank. All donated funds will go toward the preparing and mounting of “JANE’s” bones for display in 2005. Phase III will be conducted in spring 2004. Overall goal from all three phases is to set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records to top the $55,000 raised by students in Springfield for the Lincoln Library.

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