MINT HILL, NC – On May 15, Junior Troop 548 received their Bronze Awards in a ceremony at Stevens Creek Nature Preserve.
The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can achieve. “The goal of the project is to discover, connect and take action,” said Group Leader Jill Henley. “They’re supposed to discover their interests, connect with people in the community, and then take action to make the world a better place.”
COVID restrictions made connecting with the community more difficult for Troop 548 than it might have been in a more traditional year. Much of their initial research and planning happened entirely online. “Part of the reason I’m so proud of them is because we’re in the middle of this whole COVID situation,” said Henley. “We couldn’t just volunteer in a hospital. They had to really think about how and where they could make a difference.”
From a multitude of ideas, Troop 548 settled on creating a Bird Garden for Stevens Creek Nature Preserve. The project required that the girls learn about birds, their natural habitat and their needs. They also had to think about how to make the garden self-sustaining and low maintenance, utilizing native plants that will thrive at the nature preserve and pressure treated wood for their construction projects.
Tuesday’s ceremony began with a welcome from Girl Scout Zoe McKinney, who encouraged the crowd to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance and observe a Flag Ceremony. The Girl Scouts then each had an opportunity to share how they contributed to the project and what they learned. Their contributions ranged from studying birds and plants to physical labor like spreading mulch and constructing benches and bird boxes.
The Girls Scouts recognized key adults who helped them in their journey, but ultimately, congratulations go to the girls alone for a job well done. “They really did everything from the very beginning,” said Henley. “Every step of the way, everybody had a part. Their parents helped them, but nobody did for the girls. They taught the girls to do it themselves.”
The Girl Scouts performed several songs, including John Denver’s “The Garden Song,” which they selected and learned especially for the occasion, and Girl Scout classics “On My Honor” and “Make New Friends.” The last song included a special tribute to Girl Scout Sami Wallace, who will be relocating with her family this summer.
The project turned out to be a remarkable collaboration between Troop 548 and Stevens Creek Nature Reserve. “They did something beyond our wildest dreams,” said Stevens Creek Environmental Educator Corinne Rizzo, noting that the project was so much more than the finished product we see. “We each got to play a role in helping them build this project. We did badges and bird hikes and creek water quality and water colors and animal adaptations. They spent a lot of time with us, so it’s a memorable experience for us to have this very first imprint on our nature center. Already people are using it,” she continues. “Runners in the morning. Even the birds are coming!”
For the Girl Scouts, it was satisfying to see that their hard work could make a tangible difference in the world. “What I liked about the project was that the Nature Center was so happy with what we did!” said Girl Scout Ella Gallagher.
Just like the girls sang in “On My Honor,” On my honor I will try; there’s a duty to be done and I say aye. Congratulations to Carmen Brown, Ella Gallagher, Zoe McKinney, Mikayla Rassel, Lila Corrigan, Molly Henley, Carson Price, Marilyn Sebok and Sami Wallace for stepping up and creating a beautiful space that will be enjoyed by our community for years to come!