Tag Archives: nature

Gold Award Girl Scout: Amy Fishman, Boulder, “Connecting Teens With Nature”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

As a high school student in Boulder, I’ve had incredible access to the outdoors throughout my teen years, like many of my classmates. However, as I’ve progressed through school, I learned that many of my peers do not remain engaged in the environment or its issues: they do not spend time outside, choosing instead to focus on schoolwork, Netflix, or other indoor activities, rather than the area that surrounds us. For my project, my aim was to foster a connection between teens and the environment. To this end, I worked to acquire information focused on teens’ engagement with the outdoors and then facilitated an improved connection with the outdoors. Through this, I also increased their understanding of environmental issues, in Boulder and beyond.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

At the start of my project, I administered surveys to students at high schools in my area. The results of the surveys illustrated the lack of environmental connection experienced by my peers. After analyzing the surveys, I designed a program based on their results that subsequently improved participating teens’ levels of engagement with nature and understanding of issues impacting the environment by approximately 30%.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

Science Adventure Program has agreed to a written commitment to continue the project through an annual meeting focused on fostering environmental stewardship and awareness in high school aged teens before they begin adult life. I shared information with a number of environmental groups, both local and international.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

As part of my project’s sustainability, I contacted the environmental organizations Green 10, Sierra Club, and Forest Stewardship Council. Green 10 is a coalition of environmental organizations that are active on the European level, which helped me to have a global impact by sharing my information. Forest Stewardship Council is located in the United States and focuses on environmental stewardship in relation to United States forests. Both Green 10 and Forest Stewardship Council responded to my research, which helped to spread the information acquired in my project nationally and globally.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this project, I learned how to effectively communicate my ideas to a wide variety of audiences. I have also learned the importance of delegating work while in a leadership position. I realized that I was incapable of doing everything myself: for example, I could not administer a large quantity of surveys to multiple high schools. By delegating, I was able to reach my goals.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

I believe that earning my Gold Award will impact me primarily due to the fact that my communicative and leadership abilities have improved. Because I want to continue my education in regards to environmental studies, which has a focus on collaborative group work, having strong communication skills will be impactful to me in the future.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

At the beginning of high school, a large number of girls in my troop ended their involvement. This was deeply disappointing to me, because Girl Scouts has been deeply important to my personal community and friend group. Only one other girl remained part of my troop, and we both decided to complete our Gold Awards. Our work on our separate projects added to my experience as a Girl Scout, and I think that because we were supporting each other in our goals, I was able to build a strong community and truly learn from my experience as a Girl Scout in high school.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I think that my Gold Award project helped me to become an innovator because I was obligated to solve problems as they arose, which challenged me, but also forced me to grow in this respect. For example, one meeting with students was scheduled in late December, but it became difficult for classmates to meet up in person for the second meeting in January. To resolve this, I chose to lead a session through a group email conversation. This, to me, was an effective and innovative solution, and helped me to become a stronger problem solver.

To me, completing my Girl Scout Gold Award project represents the fulfillment of my commitment to Girl Scouts. Much of my younger years focused around being a Girl Scout, and to recognize that I have gotten to this point as one is deeply important to me. I connected with my community by sharing my passion and my idea with the people around me, which has been one of the most important aspects of my time as a Girl Scout.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Gold Award Girl Scout: Bailey Stokes, Buena Vista, “Teaching in the Outdoors”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In order to earn my Gold Award and make a difference in my community, I decided to make outdoor-based lesson plans for the use of teachers in schools across the state. I achieved this by making boxes that had lesson plans for eight to ten outdoor lessons, along with all the materials a teacher would need to complete them. The boxes also included a small tri-fold presentation board on the subject for student reference. I made two sets of three boxes covering three different subjects: investigations, habitat, and adaptations. The boxes are designed to meet the education standards for fourth grade science, but they can be adapted to be used with any age group. The goal of my project was to provide teachers with an easy and convenient way to bring outdoor education into their classrooms, because outdoor education provides students with many physical and mental benefits.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

The first step of my project was to go spend a day at my local elementary school teaching a couple of my lessons to a fourth grade class in order to determine what worked with students and what did not. In the day that I spent at the elementary school, I impacted 70 students. When the school year starts, I expect to impact around 500 students a year through the constant use of my project.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

My project will be sustained by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. There are two sets of my boxes and they are being kept at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices in Pueblo and Salida. The people at the offices will help ensure that my boxes are staying in good condition throughout their use. They will also help ensure that the boxes are going out into classrooms year after year.

Another way that my project will continue to impact the community after my involvement is through the help of the teachers that use my boxes. They will hopefully continue to use my boxes year after year, and they will also help spread the word about my project through the teaching community. I have also had teachers tell me that they want to recreate my boxes for their own communities.

What is your projects global and/or national connection?

Instead of finding a way to make it so that teachers across the country could use my boxes, I decided to focus on encouraging other people to take action like I did. I wrote an informational paper about the importance of outdoor education and why it should be incorporated into schools. I did this in hopes that I would inspire other people to take action. There are also two sets of my boxes that are being stored in two separate locations so that they can be accessible for more teachers across the state.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to, and I learned that I am capable of making a difference. I also learned that I have what it takes to be a teacher one day, and I grew an even bigger passion for education. During this project, I also gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

My Gold Award gave me hands-on experience in the field that I am wanting to enter. I am currently studying to be a teacher at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and this project gave me valuable classroom experience. What I learned through this project will help me as I continue to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout Experience?

I have been a Girl Scout since I was in the first grade. In that time, I have been actively involved in many different Girl Scout activities, however, earning my Gold Award was the most valuable part of my Girl Scout experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to make a difference in my community, I also gained a lot of confidence and career experience. Earning my Gold Award was a life changing experience that showed me that I am able to accomplish anything I put my mind to. It was a lot of work, but in the end it was definitely a valuable part of my Girl Scout experience and I am extremely glad that I did it.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

During this project, my leadership skills greatly improved. I stepped out of my comfort zone by leading people who weren’t my peers. My project may have impacted the community, but it also helped me become a stronger leader which is a trait I will need for the rest of my life. This project also helped me become a go-getter. I took action and I accomplished an amazing achievement that I am extremely proud of.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Wild in the Outdoors-Raptor Girl Scout Day Camp in Pueblo!

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Come join us at the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo (NRCP) for a Free Range Kids day camp this summer.  You will build shelters, learn new outdoor skills, cool off by wading in the Arkansas River and learn about Colorado’s raptors. This camp is takes place July 15-19 and is for girls in from second to fifth grade. If you can’t attend this Wild in the Outdoors camp, your Girl Scout troop can also fulfill nature badge requirements easily with the Nature Center activities.  There are free weekend raptor talks at 11:30am on Saturday and Sundays. On May 4th you can attend the Raptor Center Open House to see the new larger cages for recovering birds. To learn about all the various group and individual activities the Nature and Raptor center offers, you can visit their website or call 719-549-2414.  You can register for the Wild in the Outdoors camp here.