girl scouts

Restoring Natural Beauty

 Madeleine, a high school student who has been involved with the Girl Scouts since the first grade, wanted to make a difference.  It’s what the Girl Scouts had taught her –make a difference, be passionate about what you believe in, and use your voice to make it happen.

And she did.

She thought about how humans impact the environment and was looking to earn the Girl Scouts’ top honor, the Gold Award. She looked into recycling and prairie restoration, but found wetlands to be the most compelling because she learned they were in dire need of help to recover from erosion in her county. Over the last 70 years, they had experienced an unparalleled rate of loss.  If something wasn’t done, the wetlands would be lost forever.  They needed a voice to help them, so Madeleine became their voice.

With her mother’s assistance, she settled on a wetland in Holliday Park because restoration could be planned in a short amount of time, it was in her home county and it wouldn’t require a backhoe to rent.  Madeleine became the coordinator, organizer, and leader in the effort to restore several locally extinct wetland species at the park.  On a rainy September afternoon, her project group planted golden alexanders, white turtleheads, and marsh marigolds –just to name a few –while getting muddy because of the rain.  Madeleine chose these high quality wetland plants because they were self-sustaining and had been driven to extinction due to habitat loss and urbanization. They were native to the park and would thrive.  After about 2 hours of being knee deep in mud, the planting was completed. 

Now Madeleine is developing an outreach plan to educate the public about the importance of wetlands to their community by creating a species brochure, organizing workshops for local Brownie troops, and educating volunteer naturalists on the critical nature of wetlands. So far, her efforts are a success!  Trail guides often mention their excitement over Madeleine’s project when leading tour groups.

For Madeliene, the project brought the importance of caring about native wetlands and environmental issues home. She is thinking about studying environmental law in the future.  

How are your actions saving your environment and the planet?  Let us know!

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5.  She recently received her dual graduate degree from DePaul University

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Girls Scouts Strike Again

Girl Scouts

The Girl Scout Cadette Troop# 10717 from Florida is at it again.  They are not only talking the green talk, but walking the green walk.

After educating themselves on the possibilities of energy from waste during their ‘Breathe Journey’ stage–a step that they took to connect and take action to earn three leadership awards and to engage in improving the world’s air quality, they are connecting to the outdoors through tree planting.

Recently, the troop organized a planting event to give back to their community in Coral Springs.  Girl Scouts of all ages participated in activities to become Junior Forest Rangers and to earn their legacy naturalist badges.  Over 130 participants took part in a tour of the Coral Springs Community Garden, learned to identify at least 5 different types of trees, and planted a tree –which will be tended to by the girl that planted it for a month.

Why tree planting?

The troop recently uncovered that most kids these days spend close to 7 hours a day connected to electronics and are no longer in tune with nature.  They are wired and tuned into portable electronic devices instead of nature and the environment around them.  The Girl Scouts don’t want to forget everything nature has to offer, and so with a little sweat, planted over 130 trees!

Great job for the next generation of young environmental stewards!

What about you?  Have you unplugged from the electronic highway lately and taken part in some kind of act of environmental stewardship?  Tell us about it!

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5. She is currently pursuing a dual graduate degree at DePaul University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Going Green with the Girl Scouts

By Brittney Gordon

I am lucky enough to have great memories from childhood, and some of the most memorable moments come from my days as a Girl Scout. Every week my mom would dress me up in my brownie uniform and take me to our troop meeting to have fun with some of my best friends. From selling cookies to telling stories around the camp fire, Girl Scouts allowed me to have the kind of wholesome American fun that all young girls should get to experience.

With these memories still fresh in my mind I became a Girl Scout leader a few years ago, and had the chance to experience the fun of scouting from the other side. Needless to say, I am a strong believer in the Girl Scouts and I am always excited to read about the latest ways that they are reaching young women. Imagine my surprise when I found out that EPA’s ENERGY STAR program is partnering with the Girl Scouts this year, and helping to make protecting the climate as common to scouting as selling those delicious cookies.

GS-Forever-GreenIn celebration of their 100th anniversary, the Girl Scouts are kicking off Girl Scouts Forever Green in 2012. This global action effort is focused on waste reduction, energy conservation and rain gardens. This March the Girl Scouts will begin engaging their friends and families in making small changes to lower their carbon footprint. The girls will be replacing incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs throughout their communities. On March 31st they will participate in the worldwide Earth Hour movement by turning off their lights for one hour.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR program is excited to work as the environmental education partner for the Girl Scouts during this anniversary year. Girl Scouts from across the country will be able to take a customized version of the ENERGY STAR Pledge on their own website, learning how to save energy and protect the environment with EPA’s help. For EPA this is a great way to spread the word about energy efficiency with the future leaders of America.

If you have a Girl Scout at home, make sure that she takes the ENERGY STAR Pledge on the Girl Scout’s website. If you have yet to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge, take it here.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the communication’s team at EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.