Troop 20317 earns bronze award by studying the creatures
The number of bats in New Jersey and the Northeast has decreased significantly, while 52% of species in North America are at risk of severe population loss.
The jarring statistic led the 11 members of Girl Scout Troop 20317 to choose that issue for a Take Action Project that earned members their bronze awards. The project is based on the Scouts’ experience with a local issue, with troop members also developing an understanding of sustainability and of the wider world, according to GirlScouts.org.
“Earning the Girl Scout bronze award involves the time it takes to complete a … junior journey and a suggested minimum of 20 hours for each girl to build their team, explore their community, choose and plan their project, put their plan in motion, and spread the word to educate and inspire others,” the website notes.
The Scouts spent time learning about bats and how they are important to natural ecosystems in the area,” according to troop leader and former Scout, Leah Haas. With her help and that of fellow leader Kristin Phillippi, the Scouts built habitats for the creatures throughout Camp Inawindian in Tabernacle.
“The process starts with the drawing board,” Haas said of the Take Action Project process. “The girls had to do some research for different styles for the environment. From going to the store, to buying the materials, to then drawing the dimensions, and eventually building these bat houses took time.
“For most of us living in the Pine Barrens, learning about the bat population was important for this project,” she added. “These habitats are important for playing a critical role in ensuring that these bats are going to thrive.”
The Scouts earned their bronze awards surrounded by family and friends on July 15, during a pinning ceremony at Camp Inawendiwin. They include Ava Phillippi, Blayke Boucher, Brooke Haas, Claire Gillin, Elena Ditta, Ellie Druding, Hartlee Hall, Kaitlyn Steib, Maya Jedrzejewsk, Meadow Mitchel, and Norah Schlessinger.
“Our girls are getting ready to enter sixth grade, and the girls here have been together since kindergarten,” Philippi reminisced during the ceremony. “They have fostered their friendships and given back to the community.”