Girl Scout Troop 28843 is a group of strong individuals, but together we are stronger. We are Juniors and can do anything we put our minds to. Seven of our eight Troop members completed a Journey preparing for the Bronze Award: Madison Wiltse, Lily Maser, Avery Aglio, Vanessa Sweeney, Haley Bennett, Tori Lauer, and Bayliee Payne. We have two dedicated Leaders, Brandi Maser and Jen Aglio. We go on so many adventures and camping is the most fun activity we have done so far. We have learned a lot about community service and preserving nature. When we work together we achieve so much more!
Most of our Troop went to Journey-Palooza at Camp Redwing in September. We completed the Agent of Change journey, which taught us about our inner super hero. We learned about women from around the world and how the “Power of One” pulls from our individual strengths, such as bravery, creativity and selflessness. For our Take-Action project our Troop voted to clean up the beaches at Moraine State Park. By helping the community now and with past Take-Action projects we have a great understanding of how our actions impact the world around us. Building the butterfly garden with the focus of saving the Monarch is by far our biggest community service project yet.
Putting our Team together for this project was fun! We decided our parents should help us since they could dig up the ground for preparation. We also invited the other members of our Troop to help, too. We invited the Butler Butterfly Lady, Kimberly Vensel, who taught us about migration, how they survive and what annuals we could add to our garden in the springtime. She made sure our garden was in a sunny place and our milkweed seeds were placed in the center of our garden and not covered by too much dirt. She also informed us that our garden was big enough that it could qualify to be registered by the nonprofit organization: Monarch Watch, which we did!
Milkweed is the only plant that a Monarch Butterfly eats. The biggest threat throughout North America is habitat loss. The Monarchs numbers are declining because of the use of genetically modified, herbicide-resistant crops (GMO) that destroy milkweed and a nectar-rich habitat which helps them breed and thrive. These poor agricultural practices throughout North America largely contribute to milkweed habitat loss. Another reason is the deforestation in Mexico, especially with the recent bouts of severe weather. At least four generations of Monarch migrate from Mexico to North America and back. Groups, such as Monarch Watch, are placing a tiny sticker on their wings with a unique code that can be recorded and tracked. Recently a tagged Monarch traveled from Toronto to Mexico, it flew over 2,400 miles and took sixty-one days to get there!
Monarch Butterflies are special and need our help. If you want to help the Monarch you can plant milkweed, or better yet, a butterfly garden like we did! A butterfly garden with a variety of plants will support a variety of other butterflies as well as the also endangered Honeybee. A garden will also protect them from predators by giving them a diverse area to hide. You should not use pesticides to spray your gardens or your yard to prevent weeds. It is also very important not to touch their delicate wings because they won’t be able to fly. To harmlessly catch a butterfly you should use a butterfly net and set it free in a safe place away from roadways.
We utilized the Girl Scout Law as a guide for our project. We are friendly and helpful by planting milkweed in our garden for the Monarchs to eat. We respected authority by asking for permission to plant our butterfly garden at the Connoquenessing Park. We used resources wisely by putting border stones around the garden that were once used at someone’s house instead of buying new ones. Our Troop is courageous and strong, just like the monarch butterfly, which makes this project so perfect. We are doing our best to make the world a better place by trying to help save the Monarch Butterfly.