Saturday, March 31st was a day to remember for the girls in troop #4140. In order to earn the final award in the Get Moving Journey, the Innovate Award, the troop had planned an event that would allow them to showcase everything they learned about energy over the last seven months. The troop decided to combine the presentation of their work with an existing event promoted by Girl Scouts: Earth Hour.
Through the Forever Greencampaign, Girl Scouts hopes to bring communities together across a global effort to improve the environment and protect natural resources. As part of this broad mission, Girl Scouts designated March 31st as Earth Hour; an hour on this day in which everyone is asked to show their support of energy conservation by encouraging sustainable behavior change, reducing CO2 footprint, and saving energy by turning off every light in the building. The girls in troop #4140 felt that this existing event's mission fit in well with their conclusions of the energy journey. The scouts made Earth Hour open to the entire community and held it at their school, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary. They also invited participants to support energy awareness by attending this event, lit entirely by candlelight.
In order to get as many Girl Scouts involved at Earth Hour as possible, troop #4140 also invited every scout in Sitka to the event with the option to share how they have become more energy efficient this year. Several troops showcased their energy efficiency improvements, including a troop that turned old t shirts into reusable grocery bags. Junior troop #4140 gave those in attendance an in-depth look at exactly what they did to complete the journey. Some of the activities they did during the journey include learning about renewable energy and fossil fuels, doing informal energy audits at home, taking an energy tour of their school, and writing a letter of suggested weatherization improvements to the school board based on their findings. In fact, the girls were so inspired by energy conservation, they decided to record weatherization videos as an additional project outside of the journey. In these videos, the troop showed how to properly caulk windows and doors as well as how to make the lighting in your home energy efficient. The troop finished the presentation of the journey by informing community members that they want to see energy education for youth and energy efficiency in school and other public buildings. They even encouraged attendees to try their hand in a little home weatherization saying, "if we can do it, so can you!"
The support the Girl Scouts received at this event from both a community and statewide level was truly astounding. Over 75 community members and 27 Girl Scouts joined the event to show their support for Earth Hour and the troop's mission to promote energy awareness. Of the participants, two community members acted as guest speakers giving the audience a more broad perspective of energy conservation in Sitka. Utility Director, Chris Brewton, was present at the event to give a special thanks to the girls for their conservation efforts which decrease Sitka's dependence of diesel fuel. Sitka School District Board Member, Tim Fulton, also spoke at the event on energy use in the schools. In addition, he thanked the girls for the weatherization recommendations to the board and discussed the board's tentative energy audit of Keet Gooshi Heen as a response. Melissa Edwards, Girl Scout Southern Tongass Membership and Program Specialist who collaborated with SCS on the "Green Girls Grow" event, also congratulated the girls in troop #4140 for their achievement. Just last week, Senator Stedman himself sent a letter of recognition to the troop for their work and gave them each a forget-me-not pin, the Alaska state flower, to show his appreciation of their efforts to become more energy efficient. It is easy to see through the broad array of those who recognized the girls, that the impact of their work is of great importance to a sustainable future.