Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Creating a Nest Success

Ashlyn, a Smithfield Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

After learning about the lack of suitable habitats for wood ducks in her community, Ashlyn decided to take action to support the wood duck population. After recruiting a team of volunteers to help, she built wood duck houses and installed them at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. Although there were birdhouses at the park, there were not designated habitats for wetlands wildlife.

“Wood ducks need very specific living conditions,” Ashlyn said. “I provided housing for the wood duck population in my area, and I encouraged others to follow in my footsteps to help maintain the wood duck population.”

Ashlyn educated members of her community about wood ducks and their habitat needs. She spoke at meetings of the Virginia Master Gardeners in Smithfield, the Smithfield Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, the Isle of Wight County Women’s Club, local Girl Scout troops and her civic league. She also created a Facebook page to share her project with others.

Ashlyn has arranged for members of the Historic Southside Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists to upkeep the wood duck houses. She set up a Wood Duck Specialty Group within the organization and trained members about how to care for the boxes.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Ashlyn to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.