Your Green Life: Girl Scouts achieve Bronze Award through gardening

It’s the highest honor a Girl Scouts troop can receive.  One Northland troop turned to community and environment to earn their Girl Scouts Bronze Award.

It’s an honor that junior scouts receive by working as a team to create a project and plan that benefits the local community.  In this week’s Your Green Life, how Girl Scouts Troop 4251 of Two Harbors used their love of gardening and conservation to help an area organization

Girl Scouts Troop Leader, Laura Platcek says, "A couple of girls that love gardening and we have a larger group with us that are interested in keeping our lake clean and doing some water and soil conservation to keep our earth healthy."

So when it came time to fulfill their journey to the award, a local non-profit in Two Harbors seemed like a perfect fit. 

"We ended up stumbling across North Shore Horizons problem with their iceberg so to speak and their marshland," says Platcek.   

The organization, which serves individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, faces two major issues. 

The first, where the drain spouts empty causing ice building up on sidewalks.

"Potentially there could be sewage being pumped out on the sidewalk," says Derrick Passe with Lake County Soil and Water Conservation. 

The second, where the sump pump empties leaving several inches of standing water that could potentially drain contaminants into Lake Superior. 

Passe says, "it is really important for me to treat any potential sources of  E. coli that I can." 

After hearing about the problem, the Girl Scouts with the help of workers at Lake County Soil and Water Conservation devised a plan. 

The troop leader says, "our garden for feeding people turned into a rainwater planter, which it does feed people in a different way. It keeps their soul, you know, healthy."

The team built four rainwater planters, two on each side of the North Shore Horizon’s building. "Plants combined with the water will use up the water. So they started out with rock on the bottom, then they have a combination of sand and compost and some soil," says Platcek. "After the plants use what they can the rest of the water that isn’t used will just filter through that like it would the earth." 

The girls planted several different types of herbs, grasses, and flowers.  Girl Scout Troop Member, Vickie Platcek says, "we went to the library and did research on which ones we might want to plant."

The troops started their journey over a year ago, and with the help of fundraising, grants, and donations, they reached their goal.

Passe says, "we are happy to work with property owners to help them solve problems and they help us solve problems."

The planters will remain in place over the winter and will help catch the water to prevent ice build up.

The plants will come back each season and will grow throughout the years. 

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