Girls make environment focus of Scouting award


Taylor Roth, 14, Alexis Roth, 14, Rachel Zak, 15; and Courtney Wojcik, 14, (l-r) helped to spread the word about using the three R’s to help the environment. Taylor Roth, 14, Alexis Roth, 14, Rachel Zak, 15; and Courtney Wojcik, 14, (l-r) helped to spread the word about using the three R’s to help the environment. JACKSON — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle may very well be the three R’s that are the best way to help protect the environment.

For four Jackson Girl Scouts, those three R’s are the elements contained in their Girl Scout Silver Award project called “Rescue Our Resources.”

Alexis Roth 14, Taylor Roth 14, Courtney Wojcik, 14, and Rachel Zak, 15, all of whom are freshmen at Jackson Liberty High School, began working on their Silver Award project in the seventh grade when they saw a great need to reduce the amount of waste being generated every day.

The young women decided on a project that would help keep the Earth clean.

The Silver Award is the highest award that can be earned by Girl Scouts who are between the ages of 11 and 14.

“When we first started our project, in school there was no recycling and it was frustrating to us to see so many plastic bottles [during] lunch and [at] sports [activities] being thrown out,” said Courtney. “We wanted to teach the public and younger kids that it is easy to practice the three R’s.”

Scout leader Sue Wojcik said the girls spread their message in the community with events and projects of their own.

Rachel worked with Jenkinson’s Aquarium of Point Pleasant and held an event there in January called “3 R’s to the Rescue!” Through displays, games and activities that were created by the girls, members of the public learned about the importance of this issue.

“When people don’t follow the three R’s, their trash eventually gets into [different] bodies of water, harming wildlife by entanglement and ingestion,” said Rachel. “It’s really important that everyone sees how these animals are suffering and the simple things we can do to help.”

Wojcik said that in February, Alexis, whose part was “reuse,” held a Girl Scout Thinking Day Art Fair. Troops that attended the event displayed information about a country they picked and made items for their displays by reusing what they would have otherwise thrown away or recycled.

The girls created artwork from reused materials, such as bottle cap jewelry, and listened to guest speakers.

JoAnne Callas, a local consigner, spoke about buying and selling used items, while Lia Thomas, an art teacher in the Jackson schools, and Flo Shearer, an artist and Jackson teacher, showed examples of how easy it is to make arts and crafts projects from things people would regularly throw out.

“It’s not only fun, but it’s a great way to help the environment,” Alexis said. “The younger girls saw how beautiful things can be made from garbage.”

In March, Taylor and Courtney held a “3-R Day” event for younger girls.

The event consisted of hands-on activities and crafts that they hope will teach the Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts the importance of the three R’s. They hope the younger girls will spread the word that everyone can reduce what they use day to day, like plastic garbage bags and water bottles, and that recycling is easy and something everyone should do more often.

Taylor said she hoped everyone learned that through recycling, fewer resources are used and new things can be made out of recyclables; even graduation caps and gowns can be made from plastic bottles.

In addition to the individual events, the girls also attended the Cattus Island Fall Festival in October, spoke to the McAuliffe School Eco-Action club and held a bottle cap drive there, visited Daisy Troops, held a poster contest, and displayed their information at the Jackson Library during March.

“It’s a great accomplishment to finally earn the Silver Award,” Courtney said. “I have wanted to achieve it since I first started Girl Scouts.”

Alexis, Taylor, Courtney and Rachel are looking forward to attending the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Silver Award reception in May where they will be recognized and receive their Silver Award pins.

“By teaching others the importance of the three R’s, the girls hope that everyone will do their part to keep the environment clean,” Wojcik said.