By Bailey McGuinn
Eleven Morristown 5th grade Girl Scouts are earning their Bronze Award with a project worth its weight in gold.
Junior Girl Scout Troop 5113, composed of Normandy Park School 5th graders, wanted their project to give something back to the community. They began planning last school year.
To improve their school, the young Scouts chose to renovate and improve its outdoor classroom. Their extensive research included the plants necessary to attract butterflies.
After receiving approvals from Principal Lora Clark and science teacher Robert Russell, they asked to add to the flagpole area as well.
“The girls worked so hard,” said Troop Leader Alison Gillen. “Hours of planning, research on plants to attract butterflies, digging around the flagpole in the pouring rain. They were really determined to make a difference for their school.”
They purchased plants and four benches using funds raised from cookie sales. The local Agway supported the project with a 25 percent discount on 15 plants for the butterfly garden.
Troop leaders and parents Mr. Mobus, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Gillen, the Quispes, Mr. Slaughter and Mrs. Gervasio assisted with the planting and cleanup.
The dirty work included assembling benches and moving tree stumps to create ambience for the outdoor learning space.
“We learned how to work together and compromise for our bronze award project,” said troop member Stephanie Morgan.
“The planting of the flowers for the butterfly garden made me feel like I was giving back to nature.”
The Scouts worked after school and even on weekends to weed, clean up the area, and plant. They also used stone markers to educate visitors on the plant species.
“It was fun to leave the outdoor classroom better than we found it,” reflected troop member Elizabeth Gillen.
Her twin and fellow Girl Scout Mary Gillen added: “It felt good to help NPS since this is our last year. Our work was a thank you for six wonderful years.”
“Earning our Bronze Award was fun and I hope our silver and gold ones will be, too,” said Scout Jessie Mobus. The entire troop intends to stick with the Girl Scout program, as members’ time in elementary school comes to an end.
As they moved up in Girl Scout ranking, from Junior to Cadet, the girls were honored in NPS’s “Moving Up Ceremony,” their form of a graduation.
And as they looked ahead to Frelinghuysen Middle School, troop members knew they really were leaving Normandy Park better than when they found it.
Bailey McGuinn is a junior at Morristown High school and a member of its theater program and student board.