GIRL SCOUTS IN THE HEART OF PENNSYLVANIA
In 2021, Girl Scouts launched a bold tree-planting initiative in the Girl Scout Tree Promise effort to plant, protect or honor five million trees by 2025. With the support of the Elliot Wildlife Values Project and American Forests, as well as the partnership with Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) has eagerly embraced the challenge and gotten to work planting trees throughout the commonwealth.
In April 2021, GSHPA held its first tree-planting event at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County. The event was hosted by Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Braught whose Gold Award project in the fall of 2020 involved planting 50 trees at Camp Small Valley. One hundred trees were planted during the April event, and dozens more were planted at an open house at Camp Furnace Hills in Lancaster County in May 2021. As of November 2021, GSHPA has planted 606 trees for the GSUSA Tree Promise initiative.
GSHPA will be back in action planting trees again this spring to celebrate Earth Day 2022. The council has set a goal to support 50 tree-planting events and plant 2,022 trees on April 23 in the name of environmental protection and sustainability. Participating troops will research where they want to plant their trees and then reach out to potential locations for permission to plant. More than 30 varieties of Pennsylvania-native trees are available for troops to order as bare root, seedlings and/or containerized.
Photo Credit: BJ Small
Lauren Braught, left, helps Charlotte Frye plant a tree
The Girl Scout Tree Promise is a mutually beneficial initiative for both the trees and Girl Scouts. The Tree Promise connects all four pillars that comprise the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE): science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), life skills, outdoors and entrepreneurship. Participating in the Tree Promise will take Girl Scouts outdoors to explore the science of climate change and how technology and engineering can be harnessed to combat it, and through raising money to plant, protect and honor trees and working with local businesses, girls will also learn about entrepreneurship.
Research, coordination, collaboration, leadership, public speaking, writing, digital tasks, as well as actually planting and caring for the trees, are just a few of the takeaways for girls who participate in the initiative. After planting, protecting or honoring their tree(s) of choice, girls will earn their Girl Scout Tree Promise patch to commemorate their efforts in helping the environment.
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