On Monday evening NYA City Council members heard a report from local Girl Scouts and leader Gerri Scott about one final event this year that helped celebrate the Girl Scout Centennial in 2012.
That event was the Centennial Day of Service, which took place Oct. 13 and focused on improving water quality in the local area by cleaning streets, distributing educational door hangers and marking storm drains. The activity took place in all 49 counties of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.
Scott said the effort, which aimed to remove 20,000 pounds of phosphorus, prevent 10 million pounds of algae growth and save $6 million in clean-up costs, was the largest environmental service project in river valley history. The Girl Scouts intended to accomplish that goal by raking leaves and grass from storm drain surfaces and public areas, leaving door hangers to raise awareness about how to maintain water quality, and marking drains with a “Only Rain Down the Storm Drain” message.
In Norwood Young America, a group of about 100 Girl Scouts and adult leaders far exceeded their goals for the two-hour effort. The goal was to collect about 260 bags of leaves, but the group amassed 459 bags of leaves, distributed over 200 door hangers and marked 13 storm drains. In fact, the group quickly ran out of bags supplied by the Girl Scouts, but kept working after a donation of bags by Foley Hardware.
“The girls did an awesome job,” said Scott. “They really had a nice time out there doing it. I had other coordinators who were jealous.”
According to a press release from the Girl Scouts, thousands of Minnesota and Wisconsin waterways are polluted with runoff and other contaminants. In partnership with the Freshwater Society and with support from 3M, River Valleys’ Centennial Day of Service honors Girl Scouts’ longstanding tradition of service and gives back to communities that have embraced Girl Scout troops for decades.
Scott said the local Girl Scouts enjoyed themselves and may make the cleanup effort an annual event. She also thanked city staff and councilor Jim Keller for their support of the project.
“It was a very successful morning,” she told the council.