During a weekend long event at the end of October eighty-three 2nd and 3rd graders (Brownie Girl Scouts) came out to the Girl Scout Willow Springs Program Center in Prescott, AZ to learn about the wonders of water, water conservation, water catchment and the preciousness of this limited resource. Simultaneously sixty-three 6th-8th grade girls (Cadette Girl Scouts) came to spend the weekend learning about leadership and then helped the younger girls earn a Girl Scout award.
For this weekend event, AmeriCorps member, Emma Gifford created and compiled resources for all the programming and activities that the girls participated in. On Saturday the Brownie Girl Scouts spent the morning: learning about watersheds using a life like model, hiking through our riparian areas, and making their own water filters from various resources. The Cadettes took a hike focusing on their breath, completed an inner leadership activity that helped them define their passions and beliefs, and learned some group games that they would be leading in the afternoon. After lunch they all came together for three hours of community service. Using the knowledge that they gained in the morning and with the help of Adrian Adams and permaculturalists from High Country Permaculture, the girls built passive rain water catchments (also known as rain gardens/swales), planted native seed, removed weeds and other debris, and learned about water run-off. The girls sweat equity has improved the water run off, will prevent future erosion, and has further beautified the camp property.
All in all, the event was a major success! While working girls were seen smiling, laughing, and asking critical questions. When asked what was her favorite part one girl said, “Knowing that I did something good today. I never knew it took so much to protect the planet, but I like knowing this now.” At the end of the day girls completed about 400 feet of swales and planted over 15 trees and native plants.
Finally, during our closing ceremony on Sunday girls learned through an audio activity that according to the BBC the average person living in Africa uses 5 gallons of water a day while the average person living in the USA uses 175 gallons of water per day. Afterwards, one adult volunteer said, “Thanks for sharing that activity. My girls really understand the importance of water now and even I have been reminded how important water really is. This was great!”