Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Girl Scout Bronze Award Garden

The members of Newport News Girl Scout Troop 1539 are on the mission to make the world a better place, one project at a time. Recently, the girls earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the third highest honor a girl can earn in Girl Scouts, for their sustainable gardening project at the Newport News Family YMCA. The YMCA had received a grant from askHRgreen.org to create gardens that the facility’s new spray park, and the girls partnered with a troop member’s older brother, David Wells, who was working on his Eagle Scout project, to make the garden plans a reality.

While Wells worked on designing, building and installing four raised garden beds, Girl Scout Troop 1539 got to work learning about native plants, drought tolerant landscapes and animal habitats with the help of Amy Henry, the health and wellness program director at the YMCA and a Virginia Master Naturalist. The girls studied a variety of plants and learned about their uses. They decided to create a theme for each of the garden beds—sensory, wildflower, edible and butterfly.

Next, some of the troop members visited a local nursery to pick out the plants. When planting day arrived, the girls arranged each bed and learned how to properly plant the greenery. After the beds were planted, the girls made diagrams of each, recording the plant names and types. The diagrams were used to make teaching cards that are now used to explain the characteristics and benefits of the plants to preschoolers and campers at the YMCA. Watering duties have been taken on by the preschoolers at the YMCA, who also pick and enjoy the fruits and vegetables from the garden bed with edible plants.

In addition to earning the Bronze Award for their project, the troop members also earned the Flowers, Gardening and Animal Habitats badges.

The Girl Scout Bronze Award requires girls to make a difference in the community through leadership work. It is the top achievement earned by Girl Scout Juniors—fourth and fifth graders.