Submitted by Cindy Adams
Troop 10239 in New Castle, Colorado has three girls, Abby, Gracie, and Sylvia, who earned their Bronze Award in 2021. The Bronze Award is the highest award the girls can earn as a Junior. Girl Scout Juniors need to complete a Junior Journey, build a Bronze Award team, explore their community, choose a theme, and design and complete a community Take Action project. The first step to earning a Bronze Award is completing a Girl Scout JuniorJourney and Take Action project.
Last summer and fall, the Girl Scouts earned their Outdoor Journey and started their Take Action project. On the Journey, the girls held a clean-up activity at Alder Park, created animal habitats, hiked New Castle local trails, planned a camping trip, and created maps of Alder Park and waterways. The girls decided their Journey Take Action project will be a fishing line recycling program at Alder Park Pond. This project was born from picking up trash at Alder Park and the girls picked up a lot of old fishing line. Fishing line is a frequent source of litter in ponds and rivers, and can cause injury and death to birds, fish, turtles, and many mammals. Monofilament fishing line takes 600 years to decompose (that’s 150 years longer than a disposable diaper!), but IT IS RECYCLABLE! Berkley Fishing provides free shipping boxes to mail in used fishing line to be recycled.
The girls built two fishing line recycling bins and will install them at Alder Park. They also received three additional bins from the Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club, which will be donated to other community groups to install and manage as part of the program.
The girls were set to install their Take Action Project in November 2020, unfortunately COVID-19 regulations stopped them in their tracks, as girls from no more than two households could meet. The girls did not lose faith in their project, they just postponed the installation of their Take Action Project until April 11, 2021 now that COVID-19 regulations have allowed for groups to meet. The troop also has a COVID-19 plan in place with the Garfield County Health to meet in person.
Abby, Gracie, and Sylvia’s Take Action Project involved researching, talking with community members including Trout Unlimited and Roaring Fork Fly Fishing Club, presenting to the New Castle town council, building monofilament recycling bins, and installing them. The girls started their project in October 2020. The girls received a donation from the Town of New Castle to help offset the cost of the fishing line recycling bins, as well as a donation from Trout Unlimited.
Since finishing the planning and construction of their Take Action project, the girls started to brainstorm ideas for their Bronze Award project. They had come to know Alder Park Pond, a neighborhood hangout, and decided that they wanted to build permanent educational signs for the community about the importance of the animal species, the wetlands, and the human impact on Alder Pond. The girls said if people know and love a place, they will care for it! Sylvia, Gracie, and Abby presented to the Town Council their idea for both their Take Action project and Bronze Award project in October 2020 and both were approved.
Over the winter, the girls designed and produced three educational signs about Alder Park Pond by the end of February 2021. The girls plan to install both the signs and fishing line recycling bins on April 11. These girls have learned so much about community involvement, planning, how a project that people get excited about can expand rapidly, and about perseverance.
Cooperating Agencies for the project included: Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club, Trout Unlimited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Town of New Castle, Berkley Fishing and BoatUS.org.
We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.