In the book Hoot what were handed to Chuck Muckle and the other dignitaries to dig up scoopfuls of sand?

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In Chapter 20, at the groundbreaking ceremony of Mother Paula's Pancake House, Chuck Muckle and the other dignitaries were given gold painted shovels to scoop up the sand, "Gold-painted shovels were handed out, and on Mr. Muckle's signal all the dignitaries smiled, leaned over, and dug up a scoopful of sand" (Chapter 20, pg 262). This occurs right before Roy calls out to everyone about the owls, and the protest to protect the owls from the construction begins. 

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