Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: The Mighty Monarch

Girl Scout Ambassador Merly from Virginia Beach has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Merly, who has a strong interest in environmental science, learned about the dramatic decrease of the monarch butterfly, a vital part of the local ecosystem. For her Gold Award project, Merly decided to increase awareness about the issue by educating local children about the monarch butterfly, its decline and ways to help encourage growth of the monarch butterfly population.

Merly developed a curriculum and taught nearly 250 children through workshops she hosted at Norfolk Botanical Garden. At each workshop, she led children in activities to learn more about butterflies, make a butterfly craft and learn how to plant milkweed, a plant that monarch butterflies need to survive. At the end of each workshop, each child received their own milkweed seeds to plant at home to encourage monarch butterfly population growth.

“I think that the most important aspect of my project was being able to help children realize that they could contribute to helping the monarch butterfly in their own way,” Merly said. “Giving them milkweed seeds emphasized that every little contribution can make a positive impact for the butterflies.”

Merly also created a blog, where she shared information she learned while doing research for her project, along with the educational materials from her workshops.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Merly to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.