100 Years Old, Girl Scouts USA Expands Environmental Action

NEW YORK, New York, February 7, 2012 (ENS) – Girl Scouts of the USA has launched Girl Scouts Forever Green, its signature 100th year anniversary action project focused on environmentally positive goals such as conserving energy and growing rain gardens.

A key aspect of the program is participation in Earth Hour, a global energy conservation event organized by WWF and held each year since 2007. On the last Saturday of March hundreds of millions of people around the world turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness of the need to take action on climate change.

“Earth Hour and the Girl Scouts USA have a common purpose – to create a better environment for future generations,” said Andy Ridley, Earth Hour co-founder and executive director. “Girl Scouts USA’s participation in Earth Hour illustrates without question what can be achieved when people unite with a common purpose and rally to action.”

During the month of March, Girl Scouts will engage their families, friends, and community affiliates in making small changes that have big results such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs and turning off the lights for one hour – Earth Hour – starting at 8:30 pm on March 31.

Anna Maria Chavez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA, says the green uniforms the scouts wear match their enthusiasm for “going green and working to preserve our natural resources.”

Girl Scouts of Nassau County at the 100 Trees for 100 Years event at Camp Blue Bay to celebrate the 100th Anniversary. (Photo by GSNC)

The Girl Scouts Forever Green 100th Anniversary Take Action Project was created after research conducted by Girl Scouts USA found that an overwhelming number of girls said protecting the environment is a top priority for them.

Alumium giant Alcoa’s philanthropic foundation provided a two-year $1.5 million grant to expand the program globally to 20 countries. The grant will enable U.S. and international councils to work together and lead their families, schools and communities in improving the environment and protecting natural resources.

“This is a landmark sponsorship for Alcoa Foundation that incorporates our commitment to sustainability and inspiring the next generation of environmental ambassadors,” said Paula Davis, president, Alcoa Foundation.

“Girls are influential, ambitious and passionate about the environment and Girl Scouts Forever Green gives them tools and resources to engage their peers and neighbors to create their own positive change in their communities – from conservation to recycling to planting trees,” said Davis.

“Our employees, including Girl Scouts and Girl Guides alumnae and our global Women’s Network, are excited about this partnership and eager to get involved and help bring the ideas of young women to life.”

“As an organization committed to helping girls become leaders, who make a difference in the world, we couldn’t ignore their passion for the environment and the generous contribution from Alcoa Foundation provides an outlet for girls to funnel their ecological energies,” said Chavez.

Girl Scouts Forever Green will engage scouts in building rain gardens filled with native plants that capture and absorb stormwater and increase green spaces and wildlife habitats. Rain gardens improve water quality by reducing water-born pollutants running into lakes, streams and rivers.

Part of the 100th anniversary action is the Girl Scouts Forever Green Pledge developed in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program to encourage the adoption of resource conservation activities and to measure their impact.

“The Girl Scouts provide young women with leadership experience and opportunities to engage on critical national and international issues like environmental education,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“Working with our young people and programs like Energy Star to preserve energy and cut pollution are the first steps in building a cleaner, more sustainable future. The EPA is proud to be working with such an important organization and to be empowering these young women to shape their future and the future of our planet.”

Girl Scouts Forever Green coincides with the Girl Scouts’ new set of six books entitled, “Leadership Journeys, It’s Your Planet – Love It!” Developed for girls grades K-12, the books explore issues like conservation, pollution, renewable and reusable resources while challenging girls to take the lead in protecting the planet.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.