In 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” Girl Scouts of the USA adopted International Day of the Girl (IDG) as a global action day and for the past four years, we at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) have proudly hosted programming for our area Girl Scouts to honor this day by working together to envision a better world for girls.
Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors joined INVENTORCLOUD for a program about fast fashion and low waste lifestyles. We had two experts in these fields share with Girl Scouts how they, too, can affect climate change—with the clothing they wear and the items they buy.
The older Girl Scouts then used INVENTORCLOUD’s online platform to work through the creative design process to come up digital ideas for sharing climate action with their peers. Girl Scout Grace shared her idea to create a website for people to check if the clothing brands they wear participate in fast fashion, and Ellie thought up an app to address air pollution, where users can see if their activities have any pollutant output.
Every year many people celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by taking impactful action to help to stop climate change. But for us Girl Scouts, we took it to the next level and celebrated all of April! All Girl Scouts are stewards of the environment: it’s in the Girl Scout promise! That’s why Earth Day is so important to us at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI): we make a commitment to making the world a better place, one tree at a time.
Keep reading to find out how staff and Girl Scouts from GCNWI made the most of Earth Month!
Planet Protectors in Action
Girl Scouts got together virtually and in-person to celebrate the completion of the It’s Your Planet, Love It Journeys over the weekend. Daisies made seed bombs with native plants, Brownies enjoyed a Cadette troop’s water presentation and worked on the challenge of removing oil from water, Juniors channeled solar energy, and Cadettes constructed windmills (pictured above)!
Thanks to our Save Our Energy patch volunteer, Ivy, who met with each group to talk about how they can save energy at home. And thanks to Exelon, who provided the funding to fuel these Journeys for the planet earth!
Troop 45420 decided to dedicate their Take Action project to a community cleanup!
Girl Scouts from Troop 46004 spent the whole month learning about Earth Day in multiple ways: virtual meetings about how to protect the planet from home, planting their own seeds to help air purification in their homes, and then, they decided to use some of the money from their cookie sales to plant a tree in their local park!
Planting flowers, pulling weeds, making space to welcome new plants in the fresh air and sun: that’s how Girl Scout Troop 55532 celebrated Earth Day!
Troop 75111 celebrated Earth Day with a guided hike along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The weather held up perfectly for them to learn the history of Earth Day while being out in nature!
Girl Scout Troop 55355 completed their Bronze Award by installing bee hotels around their neighborhood! These bee hotels will serve as a home for different species of bees, bugs, and butterflies while helping to build the pollinator population.
Staff Day at Englewood Heritage Station
Girl Scouts weren’t the only ones celebrating Earth Day— our staff joined in on the action for a community service day at Englewood Heritage Station. They spent the day beautifying and rejuvenating this space together, and we have Laureen, Jakki, and Latoya, our planning committee, to thank for this awesome day out!
Take Earth Day to the Next Level
Today, millions of people around the world celebrate Earth Day by taking action, advocating, and learning how to help the Earth! We invite you to join in with the millions of other people and join in on the celebration–– and we have plenty for you to do.
With support from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests, and SciStarter, GSUSA is launching the Girl Scout Tree Promise, a national protection initiative to plant 5 million trees across the United States by 2026. Fueled by their passion for protecting and preserving our planet, Girl Scouts throughout the country will lead these efforts as well as educate the public about why trees are such an imperative piece of the climate change solution.
Girl Scouts power the future—and eight Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are doing just that! Our Becker Eco-Advocacy Grant honorees are Girl Scouts currently working on a service or highest award project exclusively dedicated to serving and preserving the environment and are great examples of what it means to really go green for good.
The Philip J. Becker Eco-Advocacy Endowment Fund honors the memory of Philip J. Becker, a life-long educator who was devoted to inspiring young people to embrace careers in the sciences, especially physics, energy, and astronomy. He felt a deep calling to help his children, grandchildren, and all young people understand the urgency of transitioning to innovative, renewable, and sustainable energy sources. His family, with strong Girl Scout ties, honors his memory and his passion for the environment by funding these grants to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.
Meet these girls and read about their efforts toward making the world a better, healthier, and safer place to thrive for us and all creatures!
Sarah, Girl Scout Ambassador, has a long history of community service, completing both her Bronze and Silver Awards during her time as a Girl Scout. Now completing her Gold Award, Sarah was awarded a grant for her continued work in supporting local pollinator populations, and her plans include installing a pollinator garden at her high school.
Her garden bed will include native Illinois plants and flowers to help pollinators increase in number by providing them food and proper resources for continued survival. “There are so many ways that the environment is being degraded,” Sarah shared, “and I feel that by taking this step, I can inspire change in my community, nationally, and globally.”
“I hope to help the community understand why pollinators are so important and inspire others to create their own pollinator gardens. I want to make people aware of exactly how important it is to have an environment that is healthy and sustainable, both now and for future generations.”
Spreading Your Wings
“If we do not take care of the earth, we will all lose,” Girl Scout Cadette Katherine shared. “We need to do all we can to preserve and repair the earth so we can leave it better than when we came. That is the Girl Scout Way.”
To accomplish this, Katherine, together with her troop, is designing, building, and planting a butterfly garden for St. John’s Church and School. This will help increase the butterfly population, improve air quality in the area, and beautify a public space. “Our impact on the environment will be strong by providing a space in the urban landscape for nature to thrive and grow.”
“We all must do a better job of caring for the earth,” Katherine asserted. “If everyone just does a little to make the earth a better place, then perhaps we can slow or reverse global warming,”
Girl Scout Ambassador Priyanka has always loved the outdoors since camping as a young Girl Scout. She believes “knowing more about animals and nature, the things that surround us all, is the only way for the world to thrive.”
In partnership with the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Priyanka is earning her Gold Award by installing bee houses at the Center, and the construction has already begun. She’s responsible for designing and creating these bee houses, as well as creating an educational component for visitors.
“I think that allowing more and more people to learn about the environment, like the pollinators that help grow our food and the plans around us, will ultimately benefit both people and nature,” Priyanka stated. “People may start to make wiser, healthier decisions when it comes to taking care of the environment once they understand the importance of things normally overlooked.”
Our Nocturnal Allies
“I feel strongly that we should do everything we can to help the environment, including protecting animals and preserving their habitats in a way that allows people and animals to live in harmony.” Girl Scout Cadette Meredith is taking on her challenge, and to earn her Silver Award, is constructing bat houses for GCNWI campsites.
“I am making these bat houses so bats don’t try to make their homes in the cabins,” Meredith explained. “With the houses, the bats can make their homes safely away from predators and can play their important role in the ecosystem.”
“I hope to help people enjoy and appreciate being able to share an environment with bats, and I hope to help the bats to be safe and respected by the community.”
Trees for the People
Girl Scout Cadettes Summer, Lindsay, and Celia each have a passion for environmental advocacy, and this passion lead the three to earn their Bronze Award planting trees in parks in and around their area. “Through our research,” Summer explained, “we learned that our area lost two hundred thousand trees a few years ago due to an invasive bug.”
To combat this issue, the girls found a program in their community that will match every tree they plant, and they hope to create more oxygen in the environment, provide more habitats for insects and animals, and reduce home cooling and heating costs.
Lindsay is driven to help the environment “because I feel like I need to do something. I want to do whatever I can to help!” Celia says “it is our duty to help save our planet and reduce our carbon footprint. I believe that if enough people focus on this issue, we can obliterate global warming,”
Take it Outside
Congratulations to these trailblazing Girl Scouts for earning this fantastic grant! We wish you all luck in completing your goals and making the world a greener place.
From worms to bees to saving energy, learn how you can help the environment from home!
Although we cannot celebrate Green for Good in person just yet, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate virtually and go Green for Good at home! In honor of Green for Good week, check out these patches and challenges:
During this week, a few of our partners will help us learn about pollinators and vermiculture, and discover ways we can create habitats in our own homes to support plants and the environment. We will also make sustainable changes in our homes, communities, and the world as we gear up for next year’s event!
Monday, May 11 at 4 p.m. | For Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (Grades 6-12) | Webinar
Join us for our weekly Career Conversations for girls in grades 6-12! Each week we will host some career-expert panelists to discuss a multitude of career opportunities with our council members! Not only will they share about their experiences, but they will also be able to answer any questions you may have. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to hear about all sorts of careers–– this week we’re talking about careers in Fine Arts!
Wednesday, May 13 at 4 p.m. | For Girl Scouts of All Ages (Grades K-12) | Webinar
All ages of Girl Scouts are invited to join us for a panel discussion about adventures in the outdoors! Our panelists have all sorts of different careers and backgrounds, but they all share a love for the outdoors. There will also be an opportunity at the end for you to ask your own questions!
Thursday, May 14 at 3 p.m. | For Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes (Grades K-8) | Webinar
Learn about Illinois pollinators: who they are, how they help us, and how we can help them! Join the University of Illinois Extension as we will build pollinator habitats so your local pollinators can find a home with you.We will also get the inside scoop on the life of bees from Leonard at the Montrose Metra Community Garden!
Every Thursday at 4 p.m. | For Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (Grades 9-12) | Webinar
Older girls, join one or all of our weekly hangouts to interact with other older Girl Scouts to talk about anything and everything. Each week we’ll have a different topic, then you’ll get to guide the discussion and activities.
Friday, May 15 at 4 p.m. | For Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (Grades 4-12) | Webinar
Join GSGCNWI for Be Well and Do Good: The Silver Lining to COVID-19, as we explore how our lives and habits have changed for the better – and how we’re helping planet Earth – in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Even though our daily lives are different than normal, there has been a positive impact on the environment! Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 are welcome to join us the discussion!