Guides WA.NT Change! Girl Guides from Western Australia and Northern Territory visit their Together Greening twinning partners in the USA

19 August 2013

For the past 12 months, a group of 17 Girl Guides in Australia, spread over the two states of Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT), have been working with a six member team from Girl Scouts Eastern South Carolina (GSESC) on an environmentally focused twinning project.  It is a girl-lead environmental action project, one of 17 worldwide that has been funded by the Alcoa Foundation. 

The girls, aged between 12 and 17, have been working together to raise awareness of littering and to educate their respective communities on the importance of recycling.  Local activities have included information stands at community festivals, educational you tube videos, freeze action flash mobs, and a puppet show for young Girl Scouts in the USA.

With further assistance from the Alcoa Foundation in the form of a travel grant, six Girl Guides and two leaders from WA and NT travelled to the USA and Mexico from 5 July to 21 July 2013.  Although the two countries have used technology to get to know each other and work together, it was a fantastic opportunity for the two groups to meet in person and to carry out additional environmental activities together.

After some sight-seeing and learning about the history of Charleston, South Carolina, the group of 13 travelled to the GSESC campsite ‘Sandy Ridge’.  The group participated in camp activities, and ran an evening programme for the campers.  The evening programme included a quiz based on the environment and the importance of recycling, and a relay race.  The campers were also given reusable shopping bags that include a pledge to help the environment.

From Sandy Ridge the group had an early start to drive to Atlanta, Georgia, for their flight to Mexico and a stay at the World Centre Our Cabaña.  A special environmentally focused programme had been organized by the Our Cabaña team, and included a visit to a local government run greenhouse and plant nursery.  The group members filled nearly 300 pots with soil and then planted seedlings in the pots.  Once established, the plants will be distributed to local communities for revegetation projects and to support local handicrafts. 

Another special activity was travelling to ‘Meztitla’, a local Scout camp just outside of Tezoptlan to participate in a reforestation project within the camp grounds.  Each person planted up to five trees, with between 250 and 300 pine and citrus trees in total being planted.  Each person adopted one of their trees, giving it a name and receiving an official birth certificate.  Many of the Australian planted trees took on Australian names, such as ‘Skippy’, ‘Vegemite’ and ‘Blinky Bill’. 

Throughout the project, and further established through the travel opportunity, the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have learnt about team work, leadership, communication, environmental advocacy and above all else, how special it is to belong to a worldwide movement. 

 

Tammy Flett – Girl Guides WA (Project Manager) & Ally Hooper – Girl Guides NT