[This post originally appeared on GirlScouts.org’s blog]
Girl Scouts is excited to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Earth Day! This year marks 107 years of Girl Scouts’ blazing the trail of girl leadership in the outdoors, providing countless opportunities to explore, learn about our planet, and access resources to learn how to protect it.
From learning to care for our planet to minimizing our ecological impact outdoors to advocating for nature, Girl Scouts of all ages become stewards of our precious environment.
For instance, in the It’s Your Planet—Love It! Leadership Journey, girls learn about environmental topics, such as clean water and air, noise pollution, global warming, soil contamination, and agricultural processes. Each Journey is packed with current environmental information and offers ways to improve life for everyone on the planet.
Environmental Stewardship badge offerings for girls in grades K–12 encourage girls to prepare for outdoor experiences and take action on environmental issues they care about. Although Girl Scouts have been advocating for the environment since the organization’s founding 107 years ago, these badges are the first to specifically mobilize girls to be environmental advocates who address problems, find solutions, and take the lead to protect the natural world.
At Girl Scouts, we believe that we all have a role and responsibility to take action to create a more sustainable future for our earth. In honor of Earth Day, we’re encouraging every member and supporter to protect and preserve our planet for generations to come. Together we can:
- Educate and raise awareness about the importance of Earth Day. Making it a national holiday is one way. Stand with us and our partner The North Face by signing the Earth Day Petition here to make it happen!
- Support policies that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
- Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
- Encourage individual actions, such as recycling, conserving water, or reducing the amount of plastic we use.
Read on for a healthy dose of Girl Scout inspiration from leaders who are already doing great things for our planet.
Silver Award Girl Scout Zoé quickly realized the problem that plastic bags pose to the environment. One day, during her trip to a grocery store, she watched how many plastic bags were being carried out to cars. She realized it was happening in her community and all over America. So, she started researching after she came back home and found that there are over 160,000 plastic bags used globally every second. She also learned that it takes 1,000 years for each bag to decompose. In true Girl Scout fashion, Zoé took action even though the state of Florida has made it against the law to ban single-use plastic bags or to tax their use. How? She created the Plastic Bag-Free Mount Dora campaign. Zoé decided that she could make a positive change despite the existing Florida law banning bag bans. Her goal was to make consumers more aware of positive choices with custom reusable shopping bags that highlight the businesses that voluntarily participate in a #PlasticBagFreeMountDora—way to go!
Learn more about Zoé’s project.
Gold Award Girl Scout Rachel took on environmental action in a big way! For her Gold Award project, she cultivated more than 100 mangrove seedlings for an entire school year. Every Saturday she worked with her mom to clean and rid the sprouts of bugs as well as collect data. Rachel then teamed up with Florida International University to rehabilitate mangroves in Biscayne Bay and gathered volunteers from a local middle school to help plant the propagules she’d so patiently raised. This go-getter also organized a coastal cleanup and hosted an invasive species removal effort to make sure the newly planted mangroves had a safe ecosystem. It’s no surprise Rachel will be majoring in environmental science at Florida Atlantic University—we look forward to seeing this green blood’s green thumb continue to impact our environment for years to come!
Learn more about Rachel’s project.
After volunteering at a local aquarium, Shelby was struck by the environmental issues facing our oceans—so she decided to take action. Jr Ocean Guardians was Shelby’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, allowing her to share her passion for saving our oceans and marine life. As part of her project, she and her Jr Ocean Guardian Ambassadors visit young schoolchildren and host beach cleanups to spread the word about alternatives to single-use plastics and the importance of recycling. Shelby also led a “No Straw November” push to increase awareness of the amount of disposable plastic straws discarded daily. Her efforts were so successful that the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved Shelby’s resolution by the same name.
Learn more about Shelby’s Jr Ocean Guardians.
There’s no age limit when it comes to making changes that positively impact the environment. If you or your girl is interested in taking civic action, G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts resources are available to help. Get started now!