HARRISBURG, Pa. — Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) student leader Lauren Braught guided fellow Girl Scouts of all ages through an historic tree-planting on a day full of celebrations, April 24.
The Cumberland Valley High School senior organized the project to replace trees at Camp Small Valley, near Halifax, Dauphin County. The camp had been her home away from home during summers growing up.
The planting of 100 trees was also the kick-off of the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) portion of a nationwide campaign to plant five million trees in the next five years. It was also the day a new tree-focused fun patch was unveiled and available for all Girl Scouts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The day also happened to be the third anniversary of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF. The partnership provided the trees and supplies for the planting.
“In 2018, a bunch of trees had to be cut down because they were in poor health and were a safety concern for campers,” Brought said. “One thing that makes this camp so beautiful is the nature that surrounds it, so the idea of having a tree planting came up.” Braught’s event success Saturday was rooted from tree-planting experience gained as a CBF student leader.
The Girl Scouts’ USA Tree Promise is a nationwide, five-year initiative for Girl Scouts to plant five million trees. “That roughly equates to two trees per Girl Scout,” said Lutricia Eberly, Director of Outdoor and Program Experiences for GSHPA. At another event on May 16 in Lancaster County, Girl Scouts will plant 50 more trees.
“That five million trees is going to have significant impact on our environment,” added Janet R. Donovan, President and CEO of GSHPA. “Girls are soaring in the outdoors. The outdoors is in, thanks to COVID. Outdoor programs increase outdoor interest, competence, confidence, and they increase environmental stewardship as Lauren is showing us today.”
Also attending Braught’s planting was Moriah Hathaway, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
The GSHPA and the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership are collaborating on Tree Promise efforts in Pennsylvania, as well as on the new “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patch for the Girl Scouts.
“Girl Scouts can get the patch after taking part in any numbers of activities, including tree planting, or ‘Learn Outside, Learn at Home” series,’ said Partnership Manager Brenda Sieglitz. “They can also take advantage of the 2021 Tree Challenge at the NASA Globe Observer application available on smartphones to measure tree height and diameter in the neighborhood.”
Girl Scouts in the GSHPA and in other Chesapeake Bay watershed chapters can get the free fun patches at the online store at www.cbf.org and paying shipping.
The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership is a collaboration of about 180 national, regional, state, and local agencies, conservation organizations, watershed groups, conservancies, outdoors enthusiasts, businesses, and individuals.
“We are incredibly proud of the supportive relationships we have with our partners and in three short years they have rallied around this ambitious goal and planted over 2.8 million trees,” Brenda Sieglitz said.
Next year, the partnership anticipates it will plant 500,000 trees and is currently looking for landowners who would like to add the value of trees to their properties.
For her years spent coordinating and then executing a successful tree planting on an historic day, Lauren Braught earned the Gold Award, awarded to fewer than six percent of Girl Scouts annually.
For more information about the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, visit www.tenmilliontrees.org.
For more on the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, go to www.gshpa.org.
–BJ Small, Chesapeake Bay Foundation