\ All Things Girl Scouts: 2016-04-10

April 12, 2016

Earth Day Fun Patch

One of the MANY great things that girl scouts do, is to complete 'fun' patches.  Fun patches are just that - fun.  They technically have no requirements, and you can purchase them through the council, or through a variety of websites - www.snappylogos.com is a go to for us.

When my girls do a fun patch, our troop implements some rules.  This isn't for everyone, but we really like this process.  We choose a patch, and then we choose 3 requirements to go with it.  One requirement must be a hands on activity, one must be education based, and the third can be whatever they wish.

The patch I will talk about today is the Earth Day fun patch.  Since Earth Day is coming up (April 22nd, 2016) I thought that was most appropriate, though there are other patches that this would work for as well, such as the Earth Smart fun patch, or the Love Our Earth fun patch.  

The three requirements chosen for this patch are:

1.  Read The EARTH Day
2.  Have a solar cook out
3.  Plant a tree

1.  With this patch, we started by reading The EARTH Day, by Todd Parr.  This is a great book for kids - it is well written, and investigates environment protection and conservation.  Daisy's are at a great age to introduce this to our girls - they are learning more about their surroundings, and have more self awareness.  However, this fun patch is a great one for girls of any age.  After we finished reading the book, we talked about it.  The girls each pointed out one thing they remembered and we went over the poster that came with.

This book is filled with knowledge, and simple, easy tips to how to take care of the earth, and make it a better place.  It offers a lot of ideas on how to work together to improve and care for the earth.  The book itself is also eco friendly, made with recycled materials, and non toxic ink.  There is also an insert for this book that folds out into a poster for kids with lots of ideas on how people can go green every day!

2.  The next thing we did was have a solar cook out.  This *can* take a little bit longer, so plan accordingly.  I did try this out with my kids at home so that I would be prepared for the time it took to complete.  It also *HAS* to be done on a sunny day.

A solar cook out is a lesson on environmental lesson, that empowers girls to cook a fun meal in a unique manner.  Each girl (or team - sometimes a team is easier with the smaller ladies) prepares and cooks a simple meal, out in the sun, using solar ovens they created themselves.

  • Carboard boxes - pizza or otherwise (a variety is fun)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap 
  • Black construction paper/black painted paper
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Dowel
  • Sunscreen
  • Food and snack ingredients to make whatever you want to cook
  • An adult to help with cutting
See a great step by step tutorial here on how to make a simple solar oven.  I enjoyed this tutorial, and it was right on the money.  Simple to follow, and easy to use.  

3.  The last step for this patch was to plant a tree.  This is something we really enjoyed, and something families really participated in.  We spent a bit of time talking about the pure importance of trees in this world.  We have one planet, and we need to care for it.  For our planet Earth, trees are essential - they give life.  They take in carbon dioxide, and they emit oxygen.  They provide material for tools, and shelter.  They store carbon.Trees absorb pollutants and clean the air. Trees conserve energy and water, by providing shade.  They can provide food and prevent soil erosion.  They are the worlds natural playground.

Tree seedlings are fairly simple to get, and there are a few ways to obtain them.  You can buy them in bulk from the Arbor Day Foundation - starting at 50 for $39, or just run to your local nursery.  Locally, I have seen seedlings anywhere from $1 to $18 bucks.  I picked up some $2 seedlings that the local experts told me were hardy trees, needed little tending too, and were very hard to kill, since my little ladies were taking these home to their own yards.

**None of my girls live in an apartment complex, but it is a consideration to be aware of - there are many other places to plant trees - businesses, parks, etc.

Make sure you give your parents instructions on how to healthily plant a tree.  They will need to shovel out a round hole that is about 3 times wider than the root ball.  The root ball should just peek out of the hole.  Absolutely use a measure tape or ruler if you are unsure.  **REMIND your parents that anything over a foot deep, they need to call the city about first.  It is VERY simple - you call, and within 48 hours, the various companies send people out to mark their lines**    Pat down the soil in the bottom of the hole firmly - this will support your tree when it is planted.  Remove any twine or string on the root ball, and fold down the burlap, if there is some.  You should just see the root ball peeking out of the hole.  Fill the hold, and pat down the soil.  Then form a ring around the base of the tree - this will catch water, and let it gather there to keep the roots drenched.  At this point, you can add mulch if you prefer, but be careful to leave a mulch free ring to a few inches around the tree so the trunk doesn't get covered.  If the trunk is weak, you can tie it to a stake to support it. Wrap the base of the tree to protect it - from an inch or two off the ground, to right below the lowest branch.  That's all there is too it - dont forget to water your tree so it will thrive!

Make sure you pledge to plant your tree here!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you do this badge, please tell me about it! How did it go - did you do it the same, or tweak it a little? I love hearing about other's experiences.